Environmentalists Criticize Chanel’s Enchanted Forest-Themed Fashion Show

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. simulate / ˈsɪm yəˌleɪt / (v) – to copy an actual situation

    The event aims to simulate a jungle setting.

  2. overlook / ˌoʊ vərˈlʊk / (v) – to unintentionally ignore something

    Big companies tend to overlook the effects of their operations on the environment.

  3. workaround / ˈwɜrk əˌraʊnd / (n) – a way of dealing with a problem

    The workaround he suggested turned out to be effective.

  4. go too far / goʊ tu fɑr / (idiom) – to do something that is considered unacceptable

    I think the wedding planner went too far with the decorations.

  5. haul / hɔl / (v) – to pull or transport something heavy

    At least five men hauled the massive tree off the truck.


Read the text below.

French fashion brand Chanel / ʃəˈnɛl / recently received criticism from environmentalists after holding an enchanted forest-themed fashion show in Paris last March.

To simulate an enchanted forest, the fashion brand decorated the show’s runway with fallen leaves, moss, logs, and real trees. However, environmental advocates expressed their distaste upon learning that century-old trees were chopped down from a forest in Western France and had to be transported to Paris for the said show, which lasted only for a few hours.

France Nature Environment (FNE)—a federation of environmental groups—criticized the show, saying that Chanel completely overlooked some important issues concerning environmental protection. The FNE also considers the show as evidence that the fashion industry severely lacks a sense of environmental responsibility. In addition, the FNE said that Chanel should have thought of a workaround, like doing the fashion show in an actual forest rather than cutting down trees for decorative purposes.

Nevertheless, Chanel asserted that the organizers were authorized to cut down the trees. Aside from claiming that the trees were not over a century old, the fashion brand said that it promised to plant 100 new oaks to replace those that were cut down.

This is not the first time that Chanel got into an environment-related controversy. Last year, the brand’s plastic-themed fashion show also received backlash. The show became controversial because it was held at a time when plastic pollution was a prevalent issue.

In 2010, Chanel also went too far with its runway design by hauling a massive glacier from Sweden to create a frozen landscape.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you approve of Chanel’s decision to cut down trees to simulate an enchanted forest for its fashion show? Why or why not?
• Aside from the FNE’s recommendation, what other workarounds would you suggest to achieve the enchanted forest theme without harming the environment?

Discussion B

• Do you think it is possible to use natural resources without exploiting them? Explain.
• What do you think can be done so that businesses will not overlook important environmental issues? Discuss.