PFW: Chanel rousts fashion week with 'protests'

Tuesday, 30 September 2014
"Make Fashion Not War!" "Feminism not masochism!" Paris street protests with sexy slogans made their way onto a luxury catwalk Tuesday in a striking Chanel show drawing inspiration from the challenges faced by women in the world today.

For his spring/summer 2015 show set inside the vast, domed Grand Palais, designer Karl Lagerfeld sent a cast of models waving placards and loudspeakers onto a Parisian street -- complete with puddles, cracked tarmac and apartment facades with window boxes.

On the catwalk Lagerfeld brought in big names, with Kendall Jenner, Gisele Bundchen and Cara Delevingne all appearing in a collection dominated by bright, almost psychedelic, colours. The slogans they carried blurred classic feminist and fashionista lines, urging viewers to "Be Your Own Stylist" and "Free Freedom".

Speaking afterwards, Lagerfeld said his mother had been a feminist but that he believed the cause of equality was currently moving backward not forward. "I thought it was the moment to insist a little bit again. Especially in France, you feel it. The atmosphere is not good," he told AFP.

Lagerfeld described the clothes in his latest ready-to-wear collection as about mixing and matching, and urged women to be creative. "It is not a line where you have to wear the total line, (it is about) playing with elements. It is less 'mode' (fashion) than 'mode de vie' (way of life)," he said.

"It is not like someone tells you that you have to wear (this or) that, you don't have to... Do it yourself. Dress yourself," he added. Nine days of ready-to-wear shows for spring/summer 2015 are due to wrap in Paris on Wednesday.

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