Even though the 2013 Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2013 shows concluded last week in Paris, one designer is still causing a stir amongst the media world and in parliament. As usual, Karl Lagerfeld impressed and stunned the crowds with his beautifully crafted designs, and whilst his heavily decorated shoulder creations, which were both futuristic and bold were highly praised, it was his finale look that grabbed the attention of the media and which left a lasting impression on the shows audience.
Whilst other French and Italian designers like Stephane Rolland and Giorgio Armani Prive used the catwalk for its traditional purposes, the German fashion designer innovatively used it as a platform to showcase his support for gay marriage, which remains illegal in France. The finale models, Vogue cover girl Kati Nescher and Ashleigh Good held hands as they walked down the catwalk dressed in long white laced and feathered wedding gowns. If this was not already an obvious statement, Lagerfeld’s Godson, Hudson Kroenig walked alongside the two brides representing the pageboy of the ceremony.
However, in keeping with Lagerfeld’s controversial nature, he stated that whilst he was in support for gay marriage, he was “less supportive” of what he deemed to be gay men “ordering babies”. However, with the French government determined to have a law passed by June which would make gay marriage legal in France, will this statement of Lagerfeld’s be enough to change the opinion of those who remain undecided or against the passing of this law? If not, surely this public and brass statement could be detrimental to both him and the fashion house, especially since half a million French people marched through Paris demanding President Francois Hollande to withdraw the reform bill.
Although, as the challenge for Lagerfeld and the other designers of haute couture has always been to make their clothes feel pertinent to a wider audience, not just the super rich and famous, through the coverage of the media, this act of his has put the Couture world in the public eye. Therefore, whilst this act of Lagerfeld’s will not make money grow on trees so that we can all afford a Couture item, the media surrounding his support for gay marriage during the unveiling of the SS13 Couture collections will increase public awareness of these designs and should evoke more interest.
Over the past few years, the catwalk has been subject to more than just fashion. With the media firmly fixated on it, the catwalk has become an easy platform for designers to showcase their opinions on topical issues and highlight important political disputes, as well as their latest designs. At MSL, we strongly believe in designers taking advantage of their position to educate their audiences, which is why we are keen to see if any designers use the catwalk to promote more than just fashion at London Fashion week this month. One thing is for certain; the two worlds of fashion and parliament are definitely no longer separate entities.
By Hattie Lee