Chanel Cruise 2015: The Catwalk of Clichés and Stereotypes
For weeks, the social media feeds of fashion enthusiasts around the world have been flooded with images related to Chanel’s latest, and much-anticipated, Cruise 2015 collection. The guest list remained relatively hush-hush, while the hype leading up to the event was focused on two evident facts- it was to be set in the chic oasis of Dubai, and of course, that it was to be orchestrated by the ever-so-colorful Karl Lagerfeld. Alas, the day arrived where fashion history was predicted to have once again been made by the iconic fashion house. You haven’t forgotten about the Grand Palais being transformed into the Chanel Shopping Center, have you? Well, fashion history was certainly made, but tragically, not in the way that I had hoped. Get ready for a cultural lesson, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s time for a #realtalk session.
For those of you who are unaware of my love for Chanel (both the fashion house and the madame herself), let me tell you, it is a perpetual love like no other. It was actually Madame ‘Coco’ herself, who said, “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud”. With that, it only seems natural that I tell you how I find a particular aspect of the latest cruise collection to be ignoble, crude, and quite frankly, a disgrace. Yes, I said it. Now, before those of you who are on the Karl-Lagerfeld-for-Chanel bandwagon decide to throw pesticide ridden tomatoes at me, hear me out.
BEHOLD, THE QUILTED PETROL HANDBAG...
Some of you may be asking yourselves what could possibly be so crude (no pun intended) about a petrol can handbag? Quite a bit, actually- this handbag is as stereotypical, and tasteless, as it gets. It serves as an abstract, yet literal, metaphor- many women ‘invest’ in their designer handbags, and it just so happens that Karl (apparently) feels that our ‘oil tycoons’ of the middle east will be using their ‘oil money’ to purchase their ‘oil can’ handbags- because that’s our sole source of income, right? Wrong. Even as a firm believer in the philosophies that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that art is subjective, I also believe that lines must be drawn, and realistic boundaries must be set.
While some may argue that the ‘filthy rich oil tycoon from the middle east’ stereotype is better than the ‘nomadic camel herder from the desolate desert’ stereotype, they’re both equally as cliché and misguided. Speaking of camel herders.. A few fellow Saudi bloggers and I were wondering why Karl didn’t include ‘CC’ embellished medical masks? After all, the GCC is currently experiencing an outbreak of the MERS virus (similar to SARS, but linked to camels)- we’re in dire need of fashionably flashy medical wear to match our stellar petrol can handbags.
All stereotypes aside, I must say that the event itself was quite beautiful- from the initial guest invites, to the traditional mashrabiya windows (with a Chanel logo flare). While the pants paired with tunics and skirts closely resembled the Paris-Bombay collection (pre-fall 2012), I felt that they were a respectful attempt at modesty. The gold lamé certainly added a modern vibrancy to the collection, while the traditional necklaces of the region resonated with local attendees. Lastly, as with any Chanel collection, there were plenty of tweed pieces, but many of them embodied a twist- the Lagerfeld version of the regional headdress of men, the shemakh. Another topic of debate? I'll leave it up to you.