Last week Chanel’s supermarché inspired show at Paris Fashion Week grabbed all the headlines. Images of supermodels, including Cara Delevingne and Joan Smalls, clad in neon and tweed as they walked down a runway resembling a retro supermarket carrying baskets or plastic wrapped handbags (tagged 100% agneau) made their wildfire way across front pages and social media. It was an unanimous bravo for Karl Lagerfeld and the most fun to be had after a month of fashion weeks. With products such as Coco Flakes and Eau De Chanel lining the shelves it was a show that winked at the industry and even inspired a response from George at ASDA that was a little bit too real.
However, it isn’t as if these nods at ordinary life sprung forth entirely new from the Chanel’s Rue Cambon headquarters. We’ve been noticing high fashion’s embrace of kitsch for quite some time. A few months ago L.K. Bennett’s spring campaign landed in our inboxes – we lauded all the pretty here – and our attention was piqued. The luxury brand’s campaign depicts Sam Rollinson and her divine bob in London’s Regency Café, surrounded by thin gingham curtains and a lino floor the colour of liver. A poster proclaims ‘fried and wet fish satisfaction guaranteed’ while Rollinson leans against the off-white tiled wall looking impeccably kempt, the opposite of a greasy spoon customer. Markus Lupfer continued this trend at last month’s London Fashion Week. He saw his chippers meets café collection set as “something quintessentially British” and placed a series of models in MODish pinafores between signs for cake and condiments. Alexander Wang’s print and internet advertisements have models wearing pumps peeping out from beneath Soho bathroom stalls.
All this interspersing of expensive fashion with ordinary settings feels like more than a retro photo op. There is something afoot. Perhaps in this era of constant media consumption where us plebs can get our eyes on the haute couture catwalks while wearing Primark pyjamas and keep a Net-A-Porter wishlist for that day the windfall comes in, big brands realise that creating an impression of accessibility is key. They’ve finally started to talk the type of shop we can understand.
Balenciaga in Burdocks anyone?
Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun