Tuesday, 2 April 2013
A Pirate's Life
Fashion isn’t like music or film, it isn’t yet a pirates medium (or if there are any pirates, they are not on our side). Fashion has yet to become fully digitalized as at this point in time couture still requires handwork and clothes still have to exist in real life. The only people who can copy a garment ‘file’, or create a shoe torrent are the corporations who are all busy feeding off each other. The only part of fashion that has been wholly ‘democratized’ is the consumption of the fashion image. The fashion system as 99% of people experience it has become about the consumption of cool, not clothes.
Ghesquiaga & Balencawang.
This is most likely Balenciaga’s problem. During the reign of Nicolas Ghesquiere over the last 15 years, Balenciaga became the ultimate fashion brand. Every collection was wildly different, and packed to the brim with as many fresh ideas as he could wring out of his team. Season after season, he raced ahead so much that people have built whole careers out of translating what he produced.
I think its fair to say that Alexander Wang, along with others, like Proenza Schouler, has been one of those people. Balenciaga’s blessing has been its curse, as it essentially came to exist to lead the way, and inspire everyone else. It was beautiful to behold, but not the best business model. So the suits chose to correct that error, and the Ghesquiere era is now over. It was only ever a sad glitch, an anomalous mistake on the part of corporate fashion.
It’s less of a case of the student becoming the master, than the imitator becoming the imitated. Is it really true that the people at this level cannot tell the difference between Wang and Ghesquiere? If so, it’s clear that to these people it never really mattered whether fashion had anything of worth to say, all that mattered was that there was fresh meat. Less message, more medium please.
Two Steps Ahead
With Nicola’s direction, everyone was scrambling to be the first to adapt his silhouettes. With Wang’s, there's no need to scramble as they're already on his wavelength. That marble influence that shone through in his debut collection? It’s already there. Just go for a wander down Regent St., look in the windows. The High Street is rising, and Couture is stooping down to the wishes of the masses to the point where the two are starting to meet in the middle. Its fair to say the fashion community doesn’t quite know what to make of this development, whether to think well of low fashion and poorly of high fashion, or vice versa.
It’ll be interesting to see this move towards the generic does in fact help Balenciaga’s sales, as expected. I’m sure it will. I’ve stopped believing that the people who can actually afford to wear this stuff have any creative engagement with it at all. I realized this when I saw looks in the Saint Laurent women’s show last year. Here was a designer who has a couple of sort-of interesting ideas over his career (and has failed to move on in any real way from his first success), sending beautifully turned out derivative crap down the catwalk. Hedi Slimane hasn’t moved on from the early 2000s, yet despite some voices (Horyn), the fangirls that make up most of the ‘critics’ were legion in their admiration.
An Empty Edge
The ‘edge’ of fashion is becoming empty. The 1% are either uninterested in saying anything through fashion, or too afraid of losing money. And the rest of us are just too tired of trying to be creative at the speed of light. We’re freefalling in a cultural abyss, and who the hell knows when we’ll ever get out of it.
Alexander Wang at Balenciaga was nice, and there are clothes there that are beautiful and interesting. But the beating heart of creativity had been ripped out of the house. You could see the references to last season’s collection in this one, and realize that Wang needs somebody, anybody, to copy. Ghesquiere never needed that. I can only hope that sooner or later the suits will realize that the house, just like before Ghesquiere, is running on empty again.
Sunday, 25 November 2012
so-called ‘fake’ margiela
|The real thing huh? (pic from tumblr).|
Apologies for the font and sizing weirdness, blame blogger, not me!
Sunday, 16 September 2012
Sunday, 9 September 2012
Sunday, 2 September 2012
AMY SPINDLER: STYLE EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE (1998-2004)
“Fashion editors going to fashion shows is a little like high-school kids…taking drugs, drinking, wearing slutty clothes, or jumping off bridges: they do it because everybody else is doing it.” So starts a fashion-week diary Amy Spindler wrote for Slate magazine back in 2000.
She went on, in that first entry, to state that fashion editors look forward to death, because, among other things, “they can wear the back of their dress open for the first time in public”.
But then, she never was one to wrap things in cotton wool. More a shoot-from-the-hip kinda girl, making sure designers knew when they hadn’t delivered their best. She wasn’t venomous but honest, her opinions gathered from her observations, backed up with knowledge and intelligence.
She started out writing press releases for Brides magazine before moving on to The Daily News Record, then W before finally ending up at The New York Times, where the role of fashion critic was created for her. Her presence and fierce views soon established the fashion industry as a force to reckoned with, not a frivolous indulgence that had, up until then, been merely, for want of a better word, humoured.
Sadly, Spindler died in 2004, at the age of 40, from a brain tumour. Cathy Horyn, who had become her successor at The Times in 2003, summed her up in her obituary perfectly: “Ms Spindler was never interested in simply putting a dress on a page or talking about hemlines. She recognised that fashion was as important a cultural barometer as music or art and that it should be – demanded to be – covered as rigorously as a political campaign.”
(by Natalie Dembinska)
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Figure 5: Builders look sheepish.
Figure 6: Builders in the mud.From http://www.flickr.com/photos/33563017@N06/3142435418
Figure 7: I would wear this. All. The. Time.
Figure 8: you can work your hi-viz look by artfully draping yourself in rope and wire, and contrasting with a nice harsh grey.