Chanel’s Fashion Show Sparks Controversy and Criticism

The latest fashion show by the French luxury brand Chanel has drawn mixed reactions from celebrities and protesters, who accused the company of being insensitive and out of touch with the current social and environmental issues.

The Chanel Spring/Summer 2023 show, which took place at the Grand Palais in Paris on Tuesday, ended with a staged feminist protest led by models Cara Delevingne and Gisele Bündchen. The models marched down the runway holding placards with slogans such as “Ladies First”, “Women’s Rights Are More Than Alright” and “History Is Her Story”. They also chanted “What do we want? Tweed!” over a megaphone.

The protest was meant to be a tribute to the founder of the brand, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who was a pioneer of women’s emancipation and empowerment in the fashion industry. Chanel’s creative director, Virginie Viard, told Elle UK that she was “very much into [feminism]” and that her mother was “a great admirer of a certain feminist of the 19th century”.

Chanel’s Fashion Show Sparks Controversy and Criticism
Chanel’s Fashion Show Sparks Controversy and Criticism

However, not everyone was impressed by the spectacle, which some saw as a shallow and cynical attempt to capitalize on the feminist movement. Some critics pointed out the irony of using models who conform to unrealistic beauty standards to promote women’s rights, while others questioned the sincerity and relevance of the slogans, which seemed to ignore the pressing issues faced by women around the world, such as violence, discrimination and poverty.

A Backlash from Environmental Activists

The Chanel show also faced backlash from environmental activists, who staged a real protest outside the venue. The protesters, who belonged to the group Extinction Rebellion, denounced the fashion industry as one of the major contributors to the climate crisis and ecological destruction. They held banners that read “Fashion = Ecocide” and “Chanel: Stop Destroying Our Planet”.

The activists argued that the fashion industry is responsible for producing huge amounts of waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as exploiting workers and animals in the supply chain. They called for a boycott of fast fashion and a shift to more sustainable and ethical practices.

The protesters also criticized Chanel for its use of exotic animal skins, such as crocodile, lizard and snake, in its products. They claimed that the company is complicit in the illegal wildlife trade, which threatens the survival of many endangered species. They demanded that Chanel stop using animal skins and fur, and adopt a cruelty-free policy.

A Mixed Response from Celebrities and Fans

The Chanel show also attracted a number of celebrities and fans, who attended the event or watched it online. Some of them praised the show for its creativity and innovation, while others expressed their disappointment and frustration.

Among the celebrities who attended the show were actress Penelope Cruz, singer Billie Eilish, rapper Cardi B and model Kaia Gerber. Cruz, who is a brand ambassador for Chanel, said that she loved the show and that she felt “very proud” to be part of the Chanel family. Eilish, who is known for her outspoken views on social and environmental issues, said that she was “honored” to be invited to the show and that she admired Chanel’s “artistry and vision”. Cardi B, who wore a head-to-toe Chanel outfit, said that she was “obsessed” with the brand and that she felt “like a boss” in her outfit. Gerber, who walked the runway alongside Delevingne and Bündchen, said that she had “so much fun” at the show and that she was “grateful” for the opportunity.

However, some celebrities and fans were less enthusiastic about the show and expressed their criticism on social media. Actress and activist Jameela Jamil tweeted that the show was “a tone deaf mockery of the fight for gender equality”. Singer and animal rights advocate Miley Cyrus posted a video of the Extinction Rebellion protest on her Instagram story and wrote “Chanel: Stop Killing Animals”. Model and environmentalist Lily Cole shared a photo of herself wearing a recycled dress and wrote “Fashion can be a force for good, but not when it comes at the expense of our planet and its people”.

The show also divided the opinions of the fans, who commented on the official Chanel Instagram account. Some of them praised the show for its beauty and elegance, while others slammed it for its hypocrisy and insensitivity. Some of the positive comments were:

  • “Chanel always delivers the most amazing shows. I love the feminist message and the tribute to Coco. Bravo!”
  • “This show was everything. So chic, so classy, so Chanel. I want everything!”
  • “This show made me cry. It was so powerful and inspiring. Thank you Chanel for standing up for women’s rights.”

Some of the negative comments were:

  • “This show was a joke. How can you pretend to be feminist when you exploit women and animals in your production? Shame on you Chanel!”
  • “This show was a disaster. How can you be so out of touch with the reality of the world? People are suffering and dying because of the climate crisis and you are making fun of it. Shame on you Chanel!”
  • “This show made me sick. It was so fake and offensive. Thank you Chanel for ruining my day.”

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