Saturday, March 13, 2010

Making Polar Bears Sexy

Luxury brands making a huge show of Global Warming. Hypocritical? I think so.

Last season Chanel launched an eco collection in a farm setting, and this season transported 240 tonnes of ice from northern Sweden to central Paris to create a melting iceberg runway. Drawing attention to global warming? Yes. Making a change for the better? I don't think so.

I'd like to think that this also means a large portion of sales from Chanel perfumes next year are going towards saving the polar bears. But somehow I'm doubtful. If I'm wrong, please someone correct me.

At a first glance the excessive amount of fur is astonishing. In fact, the fur is what Karl calls 'fantasy fur' - the highest quality of faux fur developed for the collection. And that' s nice - not killing more endangered animals. But, will the little girls and ladies-who-lunch know they're fake when they see the fashion shoots in magazines? Will it be publicly advertised to death so that the masses trying to recreate the Chanel look next fall will also use fake or vintage fur?

I love the fantasy of fashion, and I'm okay with some extravagance in the name of art and self-expression. But with all the resources, talented designers and artists in the palm of Chanel's hand, they could make a real splash with global warming issues if they wanted to. It would be challenging to create fewer collections with higher production standards and still make money in the cut-throat industry. And hard to attract the same clientele with less extravagance and more long-lasting considered design. Or to send the message that being fashionable isn't about frivolous over-consumption. But I think they could, if they wanted to.

I liked Alexander McQueen's post-apocalyptic underwater collection last year. It was exciting, creative and more art than fashion. Also being streamed live made is accessible rather than elitist. But this season's Chanel show, with models getting their heels wet in melting icebergs, is what I hate about fashion. Top photos via Cafe Mode, bottom

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