Essays, Opinion

Why Chanel and the Met Gala Being on the Same Night is Ok

Fashion is deemed very frivolous. It is not a matter that people think hold much weight, rightly or wrongly so depending on your opinion. That’s why the Met Gala is such a big deal. Often classed as fashion’s equivalent of the Oscars, the Met Gala (or Ball depending on who is saying it) is an annual charity event held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The event honours the opening of that year’s exhibit at the Costume Institute in the museum. Basically, it is one of the few evenings in the year that fashion actually matters to people. Celebrities, designers and fashion-people in general attend. An invitation is so sought after that tickets cost around $25,000 to purchase, you know, if you’re not actually on the guest list. The prestige of the event is so much so that the first time that a very pregnant Kim Kardashian attended in 2013, there was a general uproar from press and fashion critics alike. Just as a little side note, she was banned the previous year by Anna Wintour but we all know how that has changed as she has since received that infamous Vogue cover that led many to proclaim Anna Wintour’s credibility dead and gone.

Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel's Metiers d'Art show in Salzburg (Pre-Fall 2015)

Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel’s Metiers d’Art show in Salzburg (Pre-Fall 2015)

 

Chanel’s cruise show, on the other hand, is a little bit less of interest to regular people. Whilst gossip magazines and fashion magazines alike will include images of the best dressed attendees at the Met Gala, Chanel’s cruise show will likely receive less mainstream attention. However, it is always quite a spectacle. For the pre-collections (both Pre-fall and Cruise/Resort/whatever you want to call it), Karl Lagerfeld takes Chanel all over the globe, showing in many exciting locations and often drawing inspiration from such places. This year for the Cruise show, Chanel is going to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. I often think that the pre-collections for Chanel are better than, and certainly more exciting than, their regular collections. For reference, Chanel is always near the end of the show schedule in Paris meaning that by the time you see the photos from Chanel, you have seen at least 100 other shows (if you’re looking online, I doubt people actually go to that many) and have probably seen about 10,000 photos. I feel burned out looking at it all and I’m not even travelling. However, for the pre-collections, Chanel is one of the few brands that actually stage a show – many brands just show lookbooks or release photos from presentations – and they always put on a good one. Usually there is more of a story behind the collection and the different locations make it all the more exciting: think of it as all the important people in fashion going on holiday together.

This year, Chanel’s cruise show has fallen on the same date as the Met Gala. That is a problem. Now you may think “why not just change the date?” as that does seem like the most logical thing to do. However, the date has reportedly already been changed due to a clash with Dior. This isn’t the first time that a conundrum like this has occurred. The same thing happened for the pre-fall Metiers d’Art collection in Salzburg. It was held on the same day as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that was held in London. Because of the different locations (and the not-so-close proximity) people had to choose between one and the other. This meant that fashion editors, buyers, journalists, and basically anybody that matters in fashion attended Chanel and the rest (including the celebrities, for the most part) attended Victoria’s Secret. However, this time around it is different. The Met Gala is not the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: it actually matters. It is an event that people in fashion covet a ticket to and attendance is thought of as an honour.

So how are people going to decide between the two? I’m assuming that buyers, journalists and some important editors will go to Chanel and the rest to the Met Gala. Of course Anna Wintour, perhaps the most influential woman in fashion, will go to the Met Gala as the Costume Institute is now named after her and she is heavily involved in the running of the event. For that reason, I also assume that many important American Vogue editors may also attend. However, the celebrities will be divided. I don’t think celebrities are needed at a fashion show. Their only role is to grab a little bit of press which in the end doesn’t matter because press doesn’t always translate into sales, especially if said celebrities fan base is primarily made up of teenagers who cannot afford the brand’s product. I think that celebrities will see the Met Gala as a better event to attend. For one, the coverage that they will receive will be greater, both in volume and quality. Moreover, the event looks like a bunch of fun. I’d love to get a preview of the exhibition at the Costume Institute as the exhibitions are always hugely successful and very busy. However, many may attend Chanel if their loyalty lies with Karl.

The most divided sector will be the models. Each year, some models attend the Met Gala on the arm of a designer or are often there to represent a certain brand. Last year, Kendall Jenner, Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman went to the event wearing Topshop and to represent the brand. Similarly, Liu Wen wore Zac Posen, Cara Delevingne wore Stella McCartney, and Karlie Kloss wore Oscar de la Renta – all representing their respective brands. A few more models not listed also attended. Now I think it is pretty likely that these models will be invited to attend this year but will they accept the invitation? This goes back to aforementioned the VSFS vs Chanel Salzburg debacle. Both Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne were rumoured to be cast for Victoria’s Secret yet they walked Chanel. Considering that they are Karl’s favourites at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if they skipped the Met Gala and walked Chanel instead. Perhaps the rest of the models that walk Chanel will be less known ones. I don’t think that is necessarily a problem as often the less known girls are the best. When I say less known, I mean girls like Sasha Luss and Marina Nery who probably won’t be invited to the Met Gala as their social media following hasn’t hit the million mark. I don’t think social media should be an indicator of someone’s success but unfortunately it is nowadays. Anyway, my point being, the pseudo-supermodels will probably go to the Met Gala, the rest (if they get cast) to Chanel; that is fine with me.

So this is it, a cardinal sin, a faux pas, has been committed, through no fault of either party, by scheduling both events on the same date. It sounds rather silly when you think about it but it will be a big deal and a difficult choice for some. For example, for some models walking Chanel may grant them some prestige in their career and is definitely a good show to have listed on your models.com profile, but being seen at the Met Gala would do wonders from a publicity standpoint as it garners more attention with the masses than a Chanel runway does. The fact of the two events being on the same night might actually be a good thing though. At least the people who matter (for the most part) and those who are actually influential will be at Chanel, you know reviewing the runway and picking pieces to buy into their stores, and those who just generate publicity but little more will be elsewhere. Yes there will be some important people missing out (think Ms Wintour) but it is not the end of the world. After all, the Chanel show will be on style.com, the goings-on inside the Met Gala will not.

As someone who is not a model or at all important in fashion for that matter, an invite to either of the events would be appreciated but if you twisted my arm for a definitive answer, I think I’d choose the Met Gala: would you?

 

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