Why we’re not buying Chanel’s eco-inspired runway

Karl, please.

At the beginning of Chanel’s Haute Couture show, Karl Lagerfeld could be heard stating that: “Sustainable fashion shouldn’t look like some sloppy, demonstration stuff. ”

We’re seeing ample coverage of Chanel’s eco-friendly Spring/Summer runway. In a step back from the usual glamour, Lagerfeld sent models down the runway in dresses adorned with wood shavings and embroidered bees, not to mention cork platform shoes.

There’s been much talk about the ‘sustainable show,’ which included a two-storey Japanese-inspired house that took eight days to build, surrounded by a tranquil garden of real grass. Gwyneth Paltrow, who is the self-proclaimed eco champion, even made an appearance.

And although Lagerfeld promised the set would be recycled, we can’t seem to see any proof Chanel is in fact jumping aboard the sustainable train.

There was ample talk by Lagerfeld about “ecology” but we’ve seen no hard evidence that Chanel has in any way updated its production or retail practices. And while the nature of Haute Couture is much less impactful on the environment than fast-fashion retailers, we’re questioning how legit their new-found love of Mother Nature actually is.

When asked about the bees on his outfits, Lagerfeld explained: “Bees are an endangered species, so I took a load of them and stuck them on the dresses.” It seems he really knows how to fight for a cause.

Perhaps Chanel is bringing the idea of sustainability in high fashion to the surface. But there is a definite disconnect with the idea that making clothes look nature-inspired, actually counts as one for the environment.

“We’re in fashion and at the moment ecology is part of the expression of our time, what fashion is supposed to be,” quipped Lagerfeld. 

And it seems pretty clear, with Chanel’s spring 2013 line also being eco-inspired (there were wind turbines and solar panels), that Chanel isn’t making a move to sustainability at all. Rather, Lagerfeld will use current trends to tap into the modern day market. 

Eco-inspired? Sure. Sustainable? Not so much. 

[Images via @chanelofficial]

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