In the latest Chanel Haute Couture show for fall 2013, the designer Karl Lagerfeld ended the show with two women in the wedding dress along side a little boy. Traditionally the last piece of the couture shows is a wedding dress. In order to make a statement to the French, he had the two models walk with the boy to show his support for legalization of lesbian marriage.
Chanel shows are industry favorites. With large audiences and viewers from all over the world, Lagerfeld has a very captivated audience even before the show begins. Lagerfeld’s goal was to show his support during France was about to vote on a bill to give marriage rights for the gay community. He was reported to be almost nonchalant when asked about this ‘stunt’ he pulled during his show. I think is his way or normalizing the situation. It shows that something like equal marriage rights for hetero and homosexual couples should exist and France should accept it into their everyday lives.
Maybe because of this event, people from all over the world will see the well-known image of the two models holding hands and holding the hand of the small boy and can relate to the image. It is part of the social learning theory; if more of these images were out on the web and through other media sites, then maybe more homosexual couples will feel it normal to see an image they relate to in the world we understand. Also this can help the dominant hetero group to be more comfortable with seeing images of out and about gay couples.
It could be risky for a newer designer to be so open about their beliefs especially during a country’s political uneasiness about such hot button issues. I think only because Karl Lagerfeld is so absolutely iconic, he was able to choose a side and feel no real backlash personally or to his companies. It does help I’m sure that this was done in the fashion world which is known to be open for the gays. I think using the Chanel brand as a platform could be unfair to the brand image, but also shows consumers that the brand now stands for this type of equality. Chanel was created under a director who was feminist and believed women don’t have to be confided to modern society norms, and so it does seem fitting that Karl promotes social progression, but now does it in terms of gay rights.