As a Hong Kong citizen, it’s hard for me to ignore the Umbrella Revolution, the ongoing protest here in Hong Kong that advocates for universal suffrage in voting for the territory’s next leader. Demonstrations are not uncommon in the rest of the world but this one is outstandingly peaceful and creative.
Chanel went for a lively feminist protest for the brand’s SS15 RTW Show (Image: Tumblr)
Elsewhere in Paris, another peaceful protest has taken place on the runway but for a different cause. In support of actress Emma Watson’s feminist HeForShe Campaign (and coincidentally Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai’s winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize), Chanel staged a fun and glorious protest at the Grand Palais to showcase its Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear collection.
The show transformed the Grand Palais into a typical Parisian boulevard (Images: AP photo; Chanel Tumblr)
(From left) Supermodels Cara Delevingne, Charlotte Free, Georgia May Jagger and Gisele Bündchen taking high fashion to the streets (Images: Marie Claire; dailymail.co.uk)
Just like its daring supermarket catwalk show for its FW14/15 collection, the luxury brand erected “Boulevard Chanel” for models to stroll down while donning the collection’s myriad looks. The show ended with Karl Lagerfeld leading the gang of models down the street as they held up feminist placards such as “History is Her Story,” “Women’s Rights Are More Than Alright!,” “Boys Should Get Pregnant Too,” and “Ladies First,” among others.
Model Lexi Boling and Chanel’s mastermind Karl Lagerfeld proving Coco Chanel’s famous quote, “A fashion that does not reach the streets is not a fashion.” (Images: Dazed Digital; Marie Claire)
K-pop singer G-Dragon and alleged girlfriend, Japanese model Kiko Mizuhara at the front row (Images: Sina.com)
Painterly boots, golden derby shoes and loafers in black and white alongside slogan-ridden bangles and a classic chained bag were spotted in Chanel’s SS15 collection (Images: Chanel)
The collection itself is a mixture of tweed pantsuits, colorful blouses, boxy jackets, wide-leg pants as well as boots and loafers in black, white, gold and navy blue – all in tribute to Coco Chanel’s feminist aesthetics.
Here’s how to stage your own feminist protest this winter by mirroring the brand’s androgynous style:
(Catwalk images: Vogue UK)
Look 1: Tweed Suit
There’s nothing quite as iconic as a Chanel tweed piece. A tweed pantsuit combined with a vibrant silk blouse creates that perfect balance between masculinity and femininity.
Look 2: Open-Front Fringed Coat + Wide-Leg Pants
Voluminous capes and ponchos are all in for winter alongside fringed garments. How about a mix of both? Bottom-wise, it’s about time for skinnies to step back a little – wide leg pants are taking the lead in shaping the professional image of independent women.
Look 3: Loose Shirt + Cropped Pants
The boyish loose shirt takes on a more polished edge under luxurious fabrics and military accents. Slightly flared cropped pants in slouchy fabric can team with an equally slouchy messenger bag for a bohemian feel.
Look 4: Striped Cardigan + Wellies
Wrap a slim belt around the waist to convert your long striped cardigan into a one-piece dress. Pair with wellies (a.k.a rain boots) and you’re ready to rock the streets!
Look 5: Cropped Suit Jacket + Pleated Skirt
This look from Chanel epitomizes winter layering: a cropped suit jacket and a drop-waist skirt are no doubt a chic combination. It’s even more fun with a pearl necklace and cigarette pants that add to the modernist mood.
Look 6: Biker Jacket + Slit Dress
Similar to Look 5, this ensemble is a marriage between a boyish top and a feminine bottom. The lengthy slit dress provides just the right amount of elongation to balance the boxy biker jacket.
My last thought is that the true essence of feminism lies in women’s freedom to choose whatever style they prefer, be it masculine or feminine. If androgynous happens to be your cup of tea, go for it but feel free to stay feminine too!