A Physical Digital Platform

Text & photos by Mia Aadland Stølen

– Forget digital detox, lets talk tech, or at least fashion online – welcome to the Data Center Chanel.

Tall metallic walls, plastic curtains and cable filled corridors. I took a moment to grasp the impressive surroundings as I entered the Chanel SS17 show last Tuesday morning in Paris. People buzzing around with their phones, snapping each other, themselves, and every inch of the set. The scenario radiated a rather cold atmosphere, enforced by technical sounds echoing through the massive Grand Palais. The Chanel show was indeed a data center in so many ways, like a physical digital platform.

The serious mood shifted soon enough to the opposite as the first looks appeared; futuristic coco-bots dressed in tweed skirt suits. The looks that followed gaves us street
vibes, with Chanel hair ties, young fresh makeup, and chunky earrings. Karl Lagerfeld presented a modern woman in comfortable attires on the server-room runway. Cropped tops with trumpet arms, a-skirts with zippers opened from the bottom, and the Chanel casquette – that was part of every outfit. Not to mention the lace and lingerie, either peaking out from the tweed jackets, or dominating the entire outfit itself in the most liberating way. In true Coco Chanel spirit, we got a sense of the now, and looks that urban young women may easily relate to. Tech was key in the outfits, with neoprene garments, velcro decor, and electrical colours and prints resembling blurry neon lights. Chanel robots and digital details were also to be found in the accessories department; chunky pendants that were attached by metal clip hooks on necklaces, like lab badges. Smiling mini robot bags – collectors item spotted – and envelope clutches with led lights.  

Karl called it intimate technology, and he couldn’t be more relevant on the subject, technology is personal and crucial in our daily lives. It is also indispensable not to think about the digital turning point that the the fashion industry is facing, with vast expansions in online sales platforms and digital communication. And the truth suggested by many, is that development of digital capabilities is a mere necessity for survival. The Chanel Data Center is stating how fashion brands are as much digital content companies as design companies. More importantly, a strong reminder of this hyper-connectivity that is such a major part of our lives. The Chanel SS17 collection was presented on a (physical) digital platform. A few of us were invited to the venue, but lets face it, the fashion show is merely targeted for the much wider crowd spreading across the globe, individually following on
their social media feeds.

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