WOULD COCO CHANEL TAKE SELFIES?
This question occurred to me when I was talking with a fashion designer friend Susan Dimasi of MATERIALBYPRODUCT about her future campaign.
I previously introduced Susan as a fashion designer and real lover and admirer of Chanel when I wrote about participating in her selfie campaign. Selfies have become a big phenomenon and why can’t we use this selfie fashion to introduce a collection.
And suddenly we were wondering what Coco Chanel would think about social media? Would have she created her hashtag #Cocoandfabulous or #forgetthehashtagIamCoco? Would have she tweeted her new collection? Or would have she been more adventurous and started a blog by sharing her thoughts about all the fashion faux-pas she encounters?
All these questions kept going round in my head and for few days I was trying to think like Chanel every time I was posting on social media.
I have been shared on this question a lot and because she had a very strong character according to the different biographies, I would love to say YES and later on NO. Let me explain. 2 possibilities, 2 Coco.
The young extravagant “Mademoiselle” socialite media
Let’s try to imagine this young lady abandoned by her father in an orphanage, alone with her sister, fighter and determined to give meaning to her life. Determined to get out of her miserable life, she has to make contact and connect with a better world, so she creates her Facebook profile. However she is mistrustful with this new way of communicating and prefers to create a pseudo: Coco C. (instead of Gabrielle Bonheur) and that will remind her when she’s on stage singing “Coco”. After all maybe some clients will recognise her. And she’s lonely.
However she is mistrustful with this new way of communicating and prefers to create a pseudo: Coco C. (instead of Gabrielle Bonheur)
She starts to be bored with this Facebook thing, seeing all people’s crap and all their silly posts about the way they see fashion, thinking “I will show them one day what is the real meaning of fashion”. She starts to discover Instagram with her new Iphone7 plus (yes I totally imagine her with an IPhone even if I’m sure she will be bothered by having a phone with her all the time). She starts to take selfie, laugh like a young girl full of life with her sister in the bedroom. They dress up, grimacing and posturing like the ladies she sees with her big hats thinking that one day she will change this ridiculous fashion.
She finally met Etienne Balsan (on Facebook? No way. She still continues to prefer the real connections), her protector, friend and lover.
She starts to style ladies and use Instagram to show her work. Etienne is impressed by the sudden popularity and take selfies with her, so amused that he even creates his own account.
She’s amazed to see that people follow her and starts to create her own hashtags #jesuiscoco #lessismore #bedifferent #classyandfabulous. She finds inspiration from everywhere in the world and she’s totally astonished to see how easy it can be to connect with people everywhere.
She meets the Love of her life Boy Capel. She starts to forget a bit about social media, totally in love living in her world and prefers to take a lot of selfies with son chéri (his darling). Plus this man is not available and she can’t post photos with him. He helps her financially to open her first shop “Chanel Modes” at 21, rue Cambon in Paris. She wants to surprise, she wants to succeed and she knows she will and for this she uses all social media, she invites everyone, creates her launch as a Facebook event, invites artists, models, singers and take selfies. She chooses the hashtag #LaModeCestMoi (#FashionIsMe).
She opens her new boutique at Deauville and decides to do things differently. She doesn’t need social media anymore and she revolutionises the life of women. Things start to be serious and she gives up the selfies and prefers to leave people taking photo of her outfits, her clients so proud to be under the social media spotlight and more important, aware that they want to be tagged with Coco. The myth Coco Social Media is born.
The independent woman who likes to be unique and different
“I’m not fashionable because fashion is me” so why does she need social media?
Here we are in the life of the Woman. Coco has now her own empire and doesn’t want to be bothered with all these silly things on social media that make her waste her time, energy and creativity. She has better things to do.
She’s almost 40 and she’s going to launch her perfume Chanel N°5. She’s the first designer to launch her own perfume. She knows she’s unique and if she wants to stay unique, she needs to act differently.
Everyone is using social media, focused on selfies. She finds this so vulgar.
She’s independent and proud of it. When she sees people addicted to their phone or slave to social media, she finds this pathetic. She even wants to claim her independence even more by telling the media that she finds selfies vulgar and so artificial (at the risk of offending Kim Kardashian… well hang on, not the same period, I’m confused… ohh but let’s imagine what Coco would think about the Kardashians… it’s for another article even if the answer is easy to guess).
Social Media is only marketing and she doesn’t want to be slave of this, she’s already a workaholic. She’s a talented designer, an artist, a woman who knows what she wants and who doesn’t need social media to build her own personality.
Plus she’s thinking that she keeps her feet on the ground. She lives the real life while other people are living their life behind a screen. She travels, mixes with a circle of unique people like Winston Churchill, and she even has an affair with the cousin of the Russian Tzar. It would be so inelegant to ask to Winston to take a selfie, wouldn’t it?
She celebrates her feminine independence.
As you can guess Coco Chanel was a woman with vision who wanted to impose her style, her fashion, her world. So yes maybe she would have used social media taking selfies but always trying to find a way to be different and maybe she would have been the first one to launch this folie (madness) for social media. She would have been definitely a precursor, finding a unique way to revolutionise the fashion world.
And maybe no. With her strong character, she would have looked at social media with a suspicious eye. Thinking it’s all about transient (like snapshat) when she wanted to be eternal. Totally against vulgarity as sometimes she thought about America, she would show her French style by having the elegance to not be present on social media.
Now it’s up to you to imagine Coco…