Chanel and Givenchy Get Catty
July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Feline pheromones are in the air! Just one day after writing about the emerging jaguar-print trend, Chanel released the first image from its F/W 11 campaign featuring my favorite lesbian model Freja Beha Erichsen working a high fashion catsuit. It’s not the sexy, shiny look that one would expect. Instead, Chanel designed a more modest, perhaps homely, version that resembles a really comfortable interpretation of the cat costumes my elementary school teachers perennially wore at Halloween. I love how the beanie-turned-cat head makes Freja look like she robbed a bank as a budget-version of Catwoman.
This ad is surprising in the context of recent Chanel campaigns, which usually present mundane images of Blake Lively climbing stairs or models having a picnic. With this ad, Chanel took a more abstract approach that leaves viewers with a list of questions: Why is she dressed like a cat? Why is she in a photobooth? Is Chanel really selling that outfit? My biggest question is why its stylist Carine Roitfeld, the ex-French Vogue Editor and queen of “porn chic,” styled the sexy, rock-n-roll loving Freja so conservatively. Roitfeld is known for vice-filled photo shoots involving lots of bare breasts, cigarettes, and grease. The conservatism of this ad makes me think that there is a deeper, Freudian meaning – maybe Freja is a Furry?
Givenchy has another take on the model-as-cat look from its F/W 11 campaign featuring supermodel Naomi Campbell, sitting on what looks like a really fancy cat bed. Campbell is definitely channeling a much angrier, sexier cat than Freja, but she’s also channeling Dracula as well (Doesn’t the design over her crotch looks like a pair of fangs?). This could possibly double as an ad for True Blood.
So as predicted in yesterday’s post on jaguar prints, cats are definitely having a moment. But unexpectedly, fashion doesn’t want you to just wear cat prints, they want you to act like cats. But please don’t take this trend too seriously. We don’t want to see people looking like anything besides human.