Cinematic Fashion Week: Chanel and Valentino in Box Office Battle

As if fashion week wasn’t eventful enough in itself, two of the biggest fashion houses, Chanel and Valentino, out-staged each other with their cinematic AW15 shows during Paris Fashion Week.

Some people argue that the catwalk has moved to the outdoors ever since street style has been getting at least the same amount of coverage (if not more) at fashion week. Are fashion labels fighting for airtime? When Karl Lagerfeld ditched the catwalk at Chanel’s AW14 show and wandered with models through the Chanel Shopping Center, even non-fashion media outlets thought this event to be newsworthy. Quite the genius PR stunt. The mass market theme matched the fast food aesthetic that Moschino had used in their designs that season. A bit of mass appeal always goes a long way.

At the AW15 show, Chanel created Brasserie Gabrielle, a Parisian ‘café’ where guests and models sat at tables rather than follow the traditional linear form of catwalk and stalls. Within the arcade metal structure of the Grand Palais, the brasserie looked like a film set. Every single spectator was an extra within the unfolding scene.

Valentino surprised the fashion world when Zoolander actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson closed the show in character as ‘Derek’ and ‘Hansel’, announcing the parody’s sequel during their staged ‘walk-off’. During this self-referential coup, the comedy that mocks the fashion industry also celebrated it when the real and the staged intersected at Paris Fashion Week.

Published online at Pigeons & Peacocks on 19th March 2015.

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