How Chanel’s Rocket Ship is a Symbol of Social Revolution

Chanel delivered an out-of-this-world fashion show at Paris Fashion Week, launching a double-C-branded rocket ship inside the Grand Palais. If this is the start of the new Space Age in fashion, we can also expect a time of social transformation.

#CHANELGroundControl #CHANELFallWinter #PFW A post shared by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on Mar 7, 2017 at 8:12am PST

On the penultimate morning of Paris Fashion Week, French luxury fashion house Chanel launched a makeshift rocket at the end of its show. When the models finished traipsing round the Grand Palais, the 35-metre-tall rocket – emblazoned with the signature crossed Cs – flew ten metres towards the domed glass ceiling, to the soundtrack of Elton John’s Rocket Man.

Coincidentally, in February, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the discovery of a solar system containing a number of Earth-sized planets, with indications that they could have liquid water and could host life.

It seems as though fashionably and scientifically, we are entering another Space Age.

Image via Instgram @chanelofficial

The last Space Age was in the 60s. Designers such as Pierre Cardin, Andre Courreges and Paco Rabanne were fascinated by the idea of space travel and worlds beyond our own. They experimented with new materials and futuristic, geometric designs while envisioning the fashion of a future life. Speaking about his collections, Cardin said: “The clothes I prefer were invented for a life that does not exist yet.” Meanwhile, Rabanne is the designer behind Jane Fonda’s daring galactic attire in the cult classic Barbarella (1968).

But more than the amazing fashion, the 60s is remembered as a time of social revolution. In 1964, for example, the Civil Rights Act was a landmark law in the United States that made it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, colour, religion, sex or national origin. And in 1967, the Sexual Offences Act was signed in the United Kingdom, partially decriminalising male homosexuality.

As society was transforming, revolting and evolving, fashion cast its eye towards the solar system and imagined a new life for us all, somewhere else in the stratosphere.

Paco Rabanne, 1966

And perhaps that is what’s happening today.

Chanel wants to take us to a galaxy far, far away in a rocket ship. Dior has scattered signs of astronomy over its dresses. NASA has found potential new worlds for us to live on. We are looking to the stars and beyond for a utopian future.

Back on Earth, there is no denying that we are in a place of political and social unrest. Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, the trans movement, gay rights, women’s marches, equality, Black Lives Matter, He for She, This Girl Can…

There is still so much work we need to do, so much change we need to cause, so many more revolutions we have yet to ignite, before we all fly off in a fashion rocket ship. But at least we know we are heading to the stars.

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