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Is Chanel making feminism fashionable?

Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld stage a mock demonstration at Paris Fashion Week, supposedly in the name of feminism.

Photos of Chanel's 2015 SS ready-to-wear collection show in Paris flooded social media overnight with the show's mock feminist protest cultivating both praise and criticism for the brand by online users.
Tuesday's elaborate French show ended with a faux march of models that saw the likes of Cara Delevingne and Gisele Bündchen yelling through quilted Chanel megaphones and others carrying picket signs with female empowering slogans like "Boys should get pregnant too" and "He for She" – a nod the UN Women's campaign fronted by actress Emma Watson which went viral last week.
The controversial catwalk display saw fashionistas everywhere depart from their usual superficial comments on clothing and praise the label for drawing attention the social issues that affect women.
Former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld used an Instagram post to write "Bravo Karl!" while Marie Claire's editor, Jackie Frank captioned "female empowerment" alongside an image from the show.
However, some have suggested that the show was tokenistic display – a chic spectacle paying homage to a trendy topic without any real depth or understanding of the subject.
The designer was accused by some of almost appropriating the movement for the brand's own progression.
Taking it to the street @CHANEL @marieclaireau join the cause. pic.twitter.com/JxO6RBZI4t
The Guardian's Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett wrote an opinion piece suggesting that the phrases held up by models – including "Make Fashion Not War" – could be the "inner script" of a "talking feminist Barbie doll".
"It is the fate of any counter-cultural movement to become co-opted and repackaged. The market dictates, and the market has decided feminism is cool," Cosslett wrote.
And her opinions were echoed by many on social media who found it hard to believe that Lagerfeld, the man orchestrating the feminist display, was the same German designer who has been so public with his criticisms of the fairer sex in the past – anyone remember when Karl called singer Adele "a little bit fat"?
Karl Lagerfeld was seen on the frontline of the march.
Or when he proclaimed that "no one wants to see curvy women" on the catwalk and appealed to the masses for an end skinny-bashing by blaming "fat mothers" saying: "You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly."
On another occasion he was kind about the Duchess of Cambridge when he said her adored her beauty but then ruined the compliment by saying her sister, Pippa Middleton "struggled".
"I don't like the sister's face. She should only show her back," Lagerfeld told the UK paper The Sun in 2012.
One online punter offered up some advice to the famed designer on website Jezebel.com: "If you want to do something truly incendiary, you don't even have to lower your prices - just start designing clothing for women of all shapes and sizes and colours and CAST them consistently in your shows and campaigns, season after season."
Not bad advice but there could be a ray of feminist hope found in the feminist fashion statement.
Cosslett hinted at this when she ended her Chanel critique by suggesting that if girls out there open their minds to identifying as feminists because of the mock march then Uncle Karl could be on his way to redemption.
"Lagerfeld's show may not have shaken my feminist foundations, but if it makes one young girl feel comfortable using the term, then surely that’s something – at least, it is if she understands its real meaning," wrote Cosslett.
Chanel's Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear collection.
As for Chanel's crystal ball prediction on what we will be wearing next it will be a throwback to the psychedelic '60s revisiting knee-high boots, colourful capes, tweed tailoring, pastel safari suits and a hint of metallic.

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