What’s the point of fashion? It depends on who you ask. If you were to ask Marie Benoliel, who recently crashed the Chanel catwalk during Paris Fashion Week, she would say fashion is to make people happy, according to her interview with the New York Times. I completely disagree; the clothes you wear should make you happy, but fashion should make you think.
Photo Credit: New York Times
By not distinguishing between the clothes in department stores and malls and the clothes on haute couture runways, Benoliel is completely missing the point of fashion week, while also being incredibly disrespectful to the designer, seamstresses, models, PR team, and everyone else who has worked so hard to organize the show.
High fashion is art, which Benoliel admits, but she doesn’t seem to know how to behave in an art museum. While some might think artwork is too serious or too pretentious, that is not an invitation to add your own “little touch” and create the art that you would personally enjoy.
Marie, if you personally think fashion “doesn’t make people happy,” and instead makes them “ridiculous and pretentious,” why don’t you stage your own runway show, rather than hijacking someone else’s work?
Photo Credit: Bustle
Or, if you are intent on making a statement on the runway at Chanel, why didn’t you do so in a non-disruptive manner, like model Ayesha Tan Jones, who protested Gucci’s use of straitjackets by writing “mental health is not fashion” on their palms while walking the runway?
Fashion is frequently criticized for being inaccessible to the public and pretentious, inspiring films such as The Devil Wears Prada that capitalize on the conflict between those who want to be in fashion, those who are in fashion, and those who find fashion silly.
But is there anything inherently wrong with this that needs to be changed?
Like any art form, fashion is not for everyone, and it is not something that everyone understands or appreciates. People are not crashing film sets with their iPhone cameras claiming that the film industry has become too pretentious and films are not focused enough on making people happy, so why is it that fashion needs to be for the masses and a “fun” thing?
Inherently, many find fashion to be frivolous and excessive; Afterall, they’re “just clothes.” Call it wearable art that can send a message, and one becomes “pretentious,” but that’s genuinely what haute couture is about. Balance, composition, color – these are design principles that are also applicable to fashion.
Looking from the outside in, it’s understandable that fashion can appear to be cold and too serious, but as an outsider, it was not Benoliel’s judgment call to make. There are plenty of other ways to “have fun” that do not involve hijacking other people’s hard work.