Cyber punk, technology and versatility… the newest Chanel spring/summer 2017 ad campaign has it all! In trying to evolve his fascination for the tech world, which was at the core of the Chanel spring/summer 2017 collection and runway show, creative director Karl Lagerfeld decided to transpose everything cyber and punk to this inspiring ad campaign, which at the same time also features one of Lagerfeld’s favorite artistic means of expressions – collage.
Like his Chanel fall 2016 ad campaign, for this shoot as well he played with post-editing and collages, letting brand ambassador Arizona Muse venture in a sort of cyber-futuristic, Matrix-revisited world.
In doing so, Lagerfeld made sure Arizona Muse could even be able to interpret and represent all of the different personalities the latest Chanel spring 2017 collection embraced, from the urban-ready to the Lolita-inspired ones. As a result, what we got is a dream array of empowering and inspirational pictures that will surely make history, especially due to their harmoniously balanced contrasting motifs.
As stated by one of Chanel’s official press releases, in fact, Karl Lagerfeld wanted to “play with contrasts as he captures the metamorphosis of a contemporary creature, one minute a pop Lolita, the next a cyber punk.” In doing so, he aimed at enhancing the “explosive combinations from a collection that is feminine and yet ultra-modern.”
As many other brands and houses do, Lagerfeld is also embracing what we could regard as a newness-meets-tradition sort of philosophy, letting modernity find its own special place in Chanel’s feminine legacy and signature patterns. The Chanel spring 2017 ad campaign perfectly absorbs such a philosophy, probably even more than its respective collection, thanks not only to Lagerfeld’s wisely visionary artistic choices, but also to Arizona Muse.
Throughout the whole campaign, the New Mexico-born model showcases all of her different personalities, quickly jumping from the cyberpunk-inspired looks to the most unapologetically chic ones. While the latter got emphasized by utterly elegant and timeless black & white effects, the former got highlighted mostly by a mixture of Eighties- and Nineties-inspired motifs, such as bright bold makeup looks, lingerie dressing and even slightly hip hop-inspired looks.
Although being certainly powerful, Arizona Muse’s looks touch a nerve, the outcomes of which are surely going (and need) to be discussed in the weeks to come.
Bright eyeshadows aside, Muse sports both Bantu knots (which are said to have originated centuries ago in the Zulu tribes) and cornrows, namely two different hairstyles that are often linked to cultural appropriation when worn by Caucasian women.
As usual, the fashion industry is once again helping us broaden our capability of understanding and trying to discuss sensitive topics such as intersectionality and cultural appropriation, providing us with different points of views and perspectives on various issues.
What did Karl Lagerfeld have in mind when choosing to complete Muse’s looks with cornrows and Bantu knots? Where does the fine line that separates cultural appreciation from cultural appropriation stand? These are all questions that we hope Chanel will soon answer.
Photos courtesy of Chanel