In the 1990s, we had a different fashion image of women, one much healthier. I worked with three of these models in the Victoria's Secret fashion shows. All have busts and butts, in varying degrees. None of them look like concentration camp survivors and all agree that they wouldn't be hired as models today . . . except that they are.
When I wrote this piece on Karl Lagerfeld last April 2009, the Fall 2009 Ralph Lauren Photoshop commentary and Karl's comments about fat, potato-chip eating mommys weren't the big brouhaha they became.
We must also remember that luxury fashion is moving East to China and also India, where women are significantly thinner. Luxury fashion imagery will probably become more challenging for American women in the coming years.
My commentary in this original article is how Karl inserts himself into the dressing room action, telling the actress how to behave and what to do. The video symbolized for me the negative relationship between fashion designers and women -- as well as couples.
Karl cultivates conflict between the woman and guy, so that he and his Chanel products are her love. This is EXACTLY what fashion has become for women in the 21st century.
Karl replaces the lover as her man. Fashion is the new sex. Lara Stone does exactly as she is told.
In reality, fashion is a poor replacement for healthy love, but this is exactly what "Sex and the City" gave us. Stilettos are better than sex, as long as a man is in charge -- in this case a man who has absolutely no interest in women's sexuality. He exists to suppress it -- which is why fashion models have been desexualized in the world of some fashion designers.
It's so great when we have these moments of total clarity about the real relationship we women have with fashion. Call it fashion monotheism at its best.
Original post written April 2009
Is it just me, or does the fabulously talented genius of Karl Lagerfeld seem a bit off kilter in this Chanel.com intimate look at life in the retail dressing room?
I find the scene (also in need of editing) not sensual at all, but a Modern tribute to she who has the most baubles is the happiest girl . . .or not. I'm struck by the self-absorption of the scene, and I believe in the positive powers of narcissism.
There is no erotic energy in this young Lara Stone woman. Her sexality is suppresed under the things that consume her attention.
You are viewing Modern consumption and vanity at its best. I do think that Karl Lagerfeld is a genius but not here. He's hitting the wrong note for this moment. The brand should support the erotic moment, rather than being the focus.
Lara Stone in Chanel Fitting Room Follies by Karl Lagerfeld
Compare the Chanel footage to the Cartier movies, which are also selling expensive, luxury products. the Cartier films successfully break out of the Modern and Traditional mold into real-life emotion and often unhappy and unfulfilled love affairs.
The Cartier films become bona fide Smart Sensuality marketing, appealing to Cultural Creatives women of style.
I love playing with sophisticated fire in advertising, but this vision plays right into the stereotype of the beautiful Modern girl, totally out of touch with her sexual self.
As a woman who has enjoyed an erotic romp in a Parisian dressing room, I assure you that in the real movie moment, the clothes are forgotten . . . a mere heap on the floor.
As for the mirror, well it wasn't used for admiring myself. It was so steamy, I don't think we could see much of anything. Anne