An event based around hundreds of fashionistas flying in from all over the world was never going to be a convincing platform for environmental campaigning, but designers in Paris haven’t let that stop them.
While British designer Vivienne Westwood regularly rails against global warming, fashion king Karl Lagerfeld trumped her with a rival theory at the Chanel show this week: the globe is in fact cooling, and he has an iceberg to prove it.
“Have you felt any warming this winter?” Lagerfeld, with trademark black sunglasses and white ponytail, told reporters after showing his autumn collection, referring to freezing cold weather outside. “Maybe that’s all nonsense, who knows.”
Lagerfeld had erected a huge iceberg in the middle of the glass-domed Grand Palais to mark his chilly theme, dressing models in fake fur trousers and yeti boots to prepare them for the coming ice age.
“In any case, nature has its surprises,” he added wisely.
Chanel’s classic tweed suit was reinforced with fur-trimmed sleeves and hems. The tweed itself was lightened up as Lagerfeld used wool-embroidered organza instead of classic heavy tweed.
Animal fur has been making a comeback on catwalks in recent years, despite fierce protests from animal rights activists, but Lagerfeld said he had opted for a compromise.
“There wasn’t any real fur, it’s all fake. The word ‘synthetic’ is horrible, fake fur used to be hideous but there’s been enormous progress,” he said.
In a celebration of Lagerfeld’s northern German roots, a deep male voice sang “Ich moechte ein Eisbaer sein” (“I want to be a polar bear”) over techno beats as models trotted around the iceberg in swinging long coats and snug white dresses.
It was not the first time Lagerfeld has dabbled in green politics. At the spring collection last year, he staged a country fete around a barn and declared that environmental activists had a point but should learn to dress better.