#Normcore: From Chanel to Asda, Fashion Hits the Supermarket

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“Réinventait avec humour l’environnement de la grande distribution en garnissant ses rayons de produits rebaptisés et habillés pour l’occasion.”

That description from Chanel’s official press release certainly sounds a lot sexier than “set in a supermarket.” But that’s exactly where Chanel’s Paris Fashion Week show was, building on a a new “normcore” trend adopted by fellow fashion brands including Anya and Moschino (and UK supermarket retailer Asda, which staged its own knock-off of the show featuring its own fast-fashion private label, George). 

Inside a staged supermarket, models strutted down the catwalk (aisles?) with shopping carts and baskets as Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld looked on. Adding to the downmarket vibe of the show was the tattered and oversized clothes and sneaker-wearing models. Chanel’s supermarket may not have planned to compliment Anya Hindmarch’s earlier February show, but it certainly did. The Anya runway show featured models strutting with handbags that featured everyday home brands like Frosted Flakes’ Tony the Tiger and the Corn Flakes’ rooster to Ariel detergent.[more]

Meanwhile, Moschino’s runway show featured the label’s take on fast food fashion. The McDonald’s-like couture has landed the brand in hot water (hot fryer oil?) with minimum wage workers who accuse Moschino of mocking them. In his defense, designer Jeremy Scott said he was just just trying to “have a little more fun.”

And the workers might have a point. A new trend of “accessible luxury” has hit the marketplace where brands like Michael Kors and Kate Spade are thriving, churning out subtle replicas of far more expensive designs by houses like Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Chanel’s supermarket and Moschino’s fast food costume could be the designers sending a message about the strategies of their downmarket colleagues.

It all seems to be a play on the “normcore” movement. Described by New York Magazine as “embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool,” normcore is all the rage in the trendiest parts of New York City and beyond. Seinfeld is, apparently, a normcore icon. Characterized by “Mom” jeans, comfortable sweatshirts and jogging pants, the most core aspect of normcore appears to be sending a message that you are not trying at all.

Could Chanel be normcore? Perhaps. After all, is there anything more banal than dragging your feet through the florescent abyss that is the grocery store?

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