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All money and no substance, I just don’t get Chanel

And yet again, the world has gone wild for it.

Another month, another Chanel runway. 

Last time, it was a giant rocket in the middle of the runway and a ‘space’ theme that was incredibly, literally interpreted. There were stars, sparkles and a silver wrap blanket (GET IT??? SPACE BLANKET).

This week, it’s another ridiculous Chanel theme in the form of ‘ancient Greece’. The theme brings with it another collection that takes cues from a tired regurgitation of ‘goddess’ dressing, via draped togas and knee-high Roman sandals. 

Yet again, the world has gone wild for it. And yet again, I just don’t get why.

Chanel is well known for its tone-deaf interpretations of trends. Let’s not forget the attempt to pre-Pepsi Pepsi, with a ‘feminist’ theme for Spring 2015. A feminist theme that featured mostly white, thin, young pictures of feminine perfection, walking down a runway in ridiculously expensive clothing with placards declaring inane things like ‘history is HER-story’ and ‘free freedom’

It’d be lovely to think that Karl actually cared about women’s rights, until you remember all the chauvinist things he’s said about women. You know, like “nobody wants to see curvy women on the runway” and “Adele is a bit fat” and “I don’t like her face. [Pippa Middleton] should only show her back” and… well, I could go on for hours.

I mean, that’s the DEFINITION of tone-deaf. That, or sending a golden ode to Greece down a runway in Paris, dripping with expense, while the Greeks still wallow in their financial woes.

And that’s the thing about Chanel, it’s all for the show. All money and no substance. 

But what about the fashion, I hear you declare! OK. Let’s dissect Chanel’s most photographed piece by far in the last few years: the Chanel Boy Bag. It’s basically just a carbon copy update of the 2.55, a bag that was designed originally in 1929 by Coco herself. 

Tweed has been kicking around since 1924. But has the suit been updated? Modernised? Just a smidgen, by way of silhouette, I guess. 

In fact, for a fashion house that was known for Coco’s groundbreaking designs for the ‘modern woman’, it’s done very little to break any forward-thinking ground of late. 

The biggest revolution I’ve seen recently from Chanel is convincing people this week that knee high gladiator sandals weren’t already done two years ago on the runway for Chloe, Rodarte and Stella McCartney. I mean, Grecian dresses do not an innovative runway make. 

Perhaps telling of Chanel’s awareness of what’s actually going on in the world is the fact that Karl, of the historical and creative references in his own collection, stated that “reality is of no interest to me.” 

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe if he paid a little more attention to reality, he’d know that Gucci had already tried to hold a show at the Acropolis in Athens earlier this year.

And ain’t nothing less fashionable than being second.

Follow Bianca’s photographic journey through fashion (that will never feature a Chanel bag) over at @_thesecondrow.

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