It’s very rare when I’m stuck more than 10 minutes in front of a branded film. And I was even more skeptical when I realized that it was Karl Lagerfeld himself who directed the last piece of art of CHANEL, “Women Only”, as the backdrop to the 2013/14 Fall-Winter pre-collection
This is a magisterial and controversial work.
In the obscurity of a Parisian cinema, young women run to attend the premiere of the last film by Karl Lagerfeld, Once Upon a Time. A sort of story within the story: real models become a fiction of spectators watching Keira Knightley as Coco Channel.
The 2 parts of this masterpiece are full of interesting signs and echoes.
First, the fear of a world without men.
In Women Only, Karl Lagerfeld describe probably one of the most antique male fantasy: being trapped outside of a place full of goddesses. There’s a sensual tension when the gates close. An ambiguity led by Karl Lagerfeld, who’s not only a victim in this narrative but also the jailer of Cara Delevingne, Julia Nobis, or Ming Xi. The girls are surprisingly enough pretty superficial and idle in Women Only: they apparently take the lead but they play the girly girl role. Cara plays with her bracelets. Others give hugs. And soon we realize that they’re all here to watch the last super production of a man: Karl Lagerfeld.
The female power versus the girls.
In the film that the models are going to watch, the big star is not one of them but the sublime Keira Knightley. An actress with a word, with a soul, with an interpretation. Whereas the models remain quiet and are just the domineered consumers of the brand inheritance. It’s something that can be easily forgotten when you watch it on YouTube but the symbol is strong. And a bit harsh against the models who are then the digital surfaces to explore the Chanel products on the dedicated website.
I don’t know what to think of this film at the end: it opens more questions than a traditional advertising.
I guess it’s the role of CHANEL to open our gates to such territories. And I’m surprised that not so many people started to debate about it.