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Gen Z has fallen in love with vintage Chanel

A nostalgic trend made of tweed suits, logo mania and Christy Turlington

Gen Z has fallen in love with vintage Chanel A nostalgic trend made of tweed suits, logo mania and Christy Turlington

That fashion has landed on TikTok isn't something not new, but more than the use individual brands make of it, what strikes is the users' perception of specific fashion houses. While Hermès represents the ultimate embodiment of luxury, with Chanel users of ByteDance's platform continue to have an ambiguous relationship. 

@voguekissed was so much better! #fashion #foryou #chanel #90s #modeling #runway maneater - vi

While on one hand criticism is flocking especially when it comes to the way the fashion house dresses its testimonials on the red carpet, particularly Margot Robbie and Kristen Stewart, widening to a general less-than-positive judgment of Virginie Viard's work, on the other, an unprecedented rediscovery of Chanel's 1990s collections, considered the French fashion house's heyday, is underway. With Ye's I Love Kanye, the lyrics of which are explanatory enough, in the background, Viard's creations - judged boring, repetitive, and lacking any real creative flair - are compared with Karl Lagerfeld's signature looks, which are whimsical, sophisticated, and still relevant today. 

@ctwllk miss it | ib @claire | #ctwllk | #chanel #90schanel #chaneloberlin #foryou #fyp #90s #90sfashion #fashion #fashiontok Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Linda Evangelista. Tweed suits, feminine dresses, miniskirts with side slits, very long strings of pearls, golden chains, and belts with charms forming the logo of the Maison. This is the Chanel that TikTok likes, classic, sure, but with a rebellious, sexy, young attitude. A rediscovery that is a form of escapism, temporal and aesthetic, which confirms Gen Z's passion for archival fashion, and which goes to form a mood board to keep in mind when venturing among second-hand stores or when browsing Vestiaire Collective. 

It's one look in particular that accurately reflects the life cycle of a trend on TikTok. It's a black dress from the Chanel Haute Couture SS92 collection, worn on the runway by Christy Turlington, featuring a fitted bustier covered with gold chains, stones, and pearls. After being sported by Penelope Cruz in Almodóvar's The Broken Embraces, at the 2019 Met Gala it was Lily-Rose Depp who brought the dress back to the red carpet, making it go viral. The ultimate transition? Fast fashion brand Bella Barnett put a dress very similar to the Chanel original on the market at a price tag of around $100, making it the go-to look for thousands of girls ahead of prom. 

Thanks to the work of stylists like Law Roach, in recent months the red carpet has been populated with archival looks, often iconic, other times forgotten, fueling certain historical revisionism that in Chanel's case draws a sharp demarcation between past and present. Having overcome last year's advent calendar debacle, Chanel finds itself on TikTok starring in roast or day-in-the-life videos depicting every step in buying a handbag from the Maison, still among the most desired accessories (and among the safest investments) in the luxury world. And if the historic French fashion house struggles to find a language that connects it to the younger generations, the latter have taken from the brand what they love most.