Paris Fashion Geek: Chanel Channels Social Media and Tech Neuroses

Posted October 5, 2016 by Shirley Brady

In a week in which Toyota’s mini robot stole the Paris Motor Show andGoogle’s personalized, talking devices took the stage in San Francisco, it was fitting that Chanel opened its always-a-highlight Paris Fashion Week show with models dressed as robots in boots straight out of Star Wars.

The “regular” runway models who followed wore tech touches, particularly accessories including robot-shaped clutches and blinking handbags, industrial-looking earrings, chic laptop cases and lanyard-like jewelry such as workers would wear as security passes in such a facility.

With the hashtag #DataCenterChanel, the Daft Punk-like #SpringSummer2017 #PFW show not only proved that “tech is the new black,” as Fortune put it, but also reflected hot topics within fashion circles: the “see now/buy now” trend.

It was seemingly spurred by social media and instant digital gratification; the role of bloggers, with leading a backlash against “amateurs” like Susie Bubble and Bryan Boy in the front row at shows; and the November model-free “Real” issue of British Vogue featuring actress Emily Blunt on the cover and non-professional talent such as charity workers, CEOs and academics in its fashion spreads.

While making a statement on technology’s impact on fashion, with a lookbook (bel0w) for the collection that was pixelated and deliberately tech-glitchy, Chanel CEO Bruno Pavlovsky made his own statement toBritish Vogue about the digital-led changes challenging and empowering brands:

“Every brand has to decide what they want for their future. If a brand wants see-now, buy-now, then good for them, but I don’t think it’s the thing to do with Chanel because of our creative business model,” he said, adding that it’s still very early days for the new format.

“This collection, for example, was made from amazing, very light tweed fabrics – you have to see it to believe it – and that takes time. It’s months and months of work to be able to deliver that. At the moment we prefer to continue to focus on our product and give our customers not only the best design, but the best quality and the best finishes.”

“We all depend on it,” Lagerfeld, who also blamed Kim Kardashian’s robbery on her social media addiction, told Reuters TV after the show, referring to technology. “Imagine your life without the telephone and the next step will be artificial intelligence and robots.”