Karl Lagerfeld's New Chanel Short Film: Window World


In the name of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld spares no expense or extravagance.

Presenting resort collections on secluded exotic islands? Par for the course. Erecting a colossal gold lion in the middle of the Grand Palais? We didn't flinch—it was Chanel couture, after all.

But the pomp and circumstance doesn't stop at the runway. Lagerfeld famously enjoys trying his hand at cinema, creating elaborate short films to accompany his collections.

He's dipped into Jazz Age decadence with the aptly titled The Silent Film, a 2008 mood piece that paid homage to Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in her flapper prime.

For Cruise 2011, Lagerfeld directed a 10-minute nightlife odyssey called Remember Now that featured top models and the Misshapes partying in a futuristic discotheque—quite the spectacle for any collection, let alone a pre-season.

Interestingly, Lagerfeld's latest work, Window World—which bows today at Chanel.com—is a more streamlined affair. At two minutes, he excises the concept of plot entirely and goes for immediate and eerie impact: essentially, Magdalena Frackowiak, Barbora Dvorakova and Baptiste Giabiconi play Chanel mannequins come to life (in a window display) as a menacing ambient soundtrack lurks in the background.

It's unclear what it all means, but you can insert your life-in-a-glass-house metaphors here.

Mood-wise, the overall effect is claustrophobic, even a bit upsetting, and not necessarily what we've come to expect from Chanel.

First of all, mannequins are creepy by default (thank you, “uncanny valley effect”), so humans mimicking them is only more unsettling, even when they're dressed to the nines in the best twin sets Lagerfeld offers this season.

Additionally, the whole thing seems to be shot with a handheld camera (à la Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan), lending a feeling of heightened paranoia and tension.

Of course, Chanel's darkness never comes without a shot of humor: Dvorakova's jovial orange wig serves as cute non sequitur and reminder that beneath all the thriller stylistics, this is a fashion film and beautiful clothes—and the people who wear them—always steal the show.


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