Fortunate and Unfortunate Fashion Capitals

While London is expelled to the Top 1 of the world’s fashion capitals according to the annual survey by the Global Language Monitor, Paris’ fashion image is sinking into long-whispered rumours of its major icon Gabrielle Coco Chanel anti-semitism and pro-Nazi involvement paired with the recent proven allegations for same feelings by the British designer John Galliano who was working for many years for the most famous French fashion houses (Dior, Givenchy). Did it just took one suicide and one wedding for London to steal the crown from New York (ex-top-fashion-capital) or it happens to be the result of a long process and hard work going on in the city’s major art colleges, universities and fashion circles? In that sense Alexander McQueen’s premature death and Kate Middleton’s high-and-humble profile often adopting outfits from his “heir” in the creative throne Sarah Burton, seems to be a sacrifice adding up to London’s legend. Kate’s unforgettable McQueen dress at her royal wedding is going to be memorized for decades and centuries, in the same way no one is going to forget another British miracle-girl look, Amy Winehouse’s beehive hairstyle. People turn to London now in terms of fashion trends since it’s the only city which can afford not only amazing Haute Couture but also extraordinarily brilliant street style. You can see that, all around. In such circumstances even Victoria’s Secret – an American must-have – gets a London address along with her many other US stores. But what impresses me and infuses me with a hint of sadness and disappointment is the things related to designers’ anti-semitism, especially of those two closely related to France’s modern history as fashion capital. In this latest much denounced video drunk Galliano, at that point Dior’s Creative Director – says he loves Hitler, and after many years ago we learn from the freshly published book “Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War” by the 84-year old Paris-based American historian Hal Vaughan, that France’s top iconic designer was a secret agent of a Nazi military intelligence organization and lover of some prominent Nazi people, with activities that are undeniably documented in formal archives collected through research done by the writer in many European cities. Is it a mere coincidence or do we have to get concerned about something more? Once again I am insisting on the fact that artists and designers’ work should be judged separately from their ethos and strictly personal actions. We’ll always adore their unparalleled sense of style and their unlimited imagination and on a separate tone we’ll remain sceptical about their personal choices and practices. Chanel and Dior have nothing to fear from this buzz, as long as they have in their treasury loads of designs and looks by Coco, Galliano and the rest, that have traced the world…

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