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01-03-2010
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lordevan's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeycombchild View Post
I think us males, for the most part, take wearability out of the equation when we critique womanswear. We don't have to imagine how we'd wear it, how we'd work it into your daily lives, so it doesn't always factor in too much. Unless perhaps they are a buyer or such.
I totally agree here. When I first got in to fashion, i thought i would be able to easily converse with women about it, but didn't turn out that way as we appreciate it in such a different way.

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01-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeycombchild View Post
I think us males, for the most part, take wearability out of the equation when we critique womanswear. We don't have to imagine how we'd wear it, how we'd work it into your daily lives, so it doesn't always factor in too much. Unless perhaps they are a buyer or such. I can appreciate that something is highly wearable and commercial, but that's not say that's going to make me like a collection.
I agree with you that there definitely is a difference in how women and men view collections. I like a mix of "commcercial" and more avant garde lines, but something that always crosses my mind when I look at an outfit is "would I be able to sit in that?" (and often with looks shown on the runway, you CAN'T). I feel like that sort sort of thing doesn't necessarily cross the minds of men, or people who are not looking at fashion from a consumer standpoint (which I am).

I'm glad this thread was started because I was thinking about this topic as I read through comments on the collections threads; already there is a lot of good perspectives being shared!

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07-03-2010
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With me it's really simple. For womenswear I imagine a woman in that particular look, if I think she'd look attractive, desirable or whatever in that look, then that particular looks gets a thumbs-up in my book. And at the end I simply count how many looks or separate pieces out of each collection I like or dislike. (If I like 10 looks out of say 50 then it's great collection in my eyes. I have really high standards, it's rare the a whole collection appeals to me) With looks I dislike I also try to analyze exactly why, is it the shape, color, material or styling that IMO is wrong.
For menswear it's even more simple, if I think I'd look good in that look then it's ok. If I think it has a wrong silhouette or whatever, then that collection has no value to me at all, I don't care that critiques love that particular Etro or Dior Homme collection or blogs rave about something, if it's "not for me", than I'm not interested.
It's all about the clothes - runway, setting, music, models have no redeeming qualities at all, IMO, if the clothes are just plain ugly or clash with my current aesthetic then no amount of stying, hair-do, make up can correct that. For example I love Balenciaga over everything, but this year not so much, clothes were too boxy, bulky, I didn't find the subdued neon colors too great and the shoes didn't have the usual austere attractive about them.


Last edited by rayoflight; 07-03-2010 at 09:06 AM.
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07-03-2010
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^What you said about counting pieces you like got me thinking...

So as I'm a total list and numbers/stats freak, I went for it. As I have said before I like to judge collection by how wearable they are specifically for me. The styling for FW shows can be so confusing sometimes, you don't even grasp the pieces one by one (see JPG).
What did I do? I went through all the collections I liked so far again. And counted, piece by piece, what I would wear and wouldn't wear. Then I calculated the percentage (:p) of what I liked and added extra-points for shoes and beauty/make-up (I'm not a bag girl). The highest points you could earn therefore with my weirdo-system is 110 (100% clothing liked plus 5 points each for shoes and make-up).

It may not sound like it, but it was pretty interesting. e.g. I thought I liked Balenciaga, yet when I looked closer at the pieces I realized I wouldn't wear most of it. And I seem to have some serious issues with pants, I wouldn't wear any of them except some really slouchy ones at JPG. It really helped me make my mind up about some collections.

And to show you that it somewhat works for me, here are the points:

1. Erdem 98
2. Christopher Kane 82
3. Proenza Schouler 81
4. Marc Jacobs 79
5. Christian Dior 73
6. Prada 66
7. Sophia Kokosalaki 64
8. Jean Paul Gaultier 62
9. Giles 53
10. Dolce & Gabbana + Balenciaga 46
11. Gianfranco Ferré 40

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07-03-2010
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^ Woah, that's dedication. I save the looks I like most, though I have found myself not saving looks because a nice piece is matched with something I don't like.
It's quite apparent which are my favourite collections according to the amount of photos I've saved.
Akris and Celine both have 9, Gianfranco Ferre, Loewe and Antonio Berardi have 5.

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07-03-2010
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While I'll always favor couture, I can always appreciate more wearable/approachable garments or looks as long as it's something I've never seen before or a reinvention of a familiar look.

Concerning wearable looks, I judge the criteria solely on the clothes --> Conservative but never boring is a winner in my book (Prada/Cavalli/etc)

As far as haute couture or the more theatrical shows, there's a higher level of expectancy for me. I include not only looks/styling/garments/accessories, but overall theme/staging/set design/lighting/music/misc. effects/if the theme was reinvented in a way that's contemporary, but not over the top (to the point where it looses its audience completely) and if the origin of the theme was actually respected and brought back to life in the most flattering approach.

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07-03-2010
  67
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Answering the original post....

For me how I judge a collection vary from one designer to the next and also what city they are based in.

I've been following Japanese designers like Rei, Junya, Yohji, Kenzo, and Issey since the 90's and just now recently getting more knowledgeable of their history before that so I try to critique them based on past knowledge and how their thinking works; so I guess I would consider myself an "expert" on that department.

Then there's designers like Galliano and McQueen whose works I try to judge based on their artistry and don't really factor wearability (though it would be nice to have it). That's why I'm always upset at Galliano when he puts out boring extremely "wearable" clothes down the runway.

Then there's designers like Lagerfeld (for Chanel), Ralph Lauren, Versace, Armani, and Valentino who's works appreciate because they are classic and timeless. I don't mind that they are not necessarily doing the most original works or trying to find new techniques in dress making, but they are filling the wearability role that some designers don't necessarily factor into their collections. So I'm a realist in that department.

Also, for the most part of my high school life I read many books about Balenciaga and how he always tried to find the newest techniques, silhouettes, structures, etc etc.... so when I look at Ghesquiere, I don't mind that his clothes aren't necessarily the prettiest, but I appreciate the efforts he put in because he is one of the few designers whose making an effort into changing how clothes are made and how women don't necessarily need an hour glass shape. I approach him like how I approach Japanese designers.

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08-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loladonna View Post
As far as the TFS , I've noticed the critiques seem to fall into a few categories

The experts-- A few posters who have a fashion education and maybe work in the industry so they seem to have a working knowledge of material, construction etc. I find these critiques most informative and even when I disagree I appreciate that there is some basis for their opinion.

The realists— They may not have a fashion background and are likely to respond more positively to collections that appear to be most wearable.

The artists—They like the more avant garde couture collections and tend to view the more wearable collections as boring regardless of craftsmanship.

The groupies: They are fans of particular designer houses—usually the big name houses. They have usernames like Balenciaga4eva or something. They rave over that their favorite designer collections no matter what and tend to look at other collections only to note similarities to their favorite house. (Those sleeves are so Balmain! Or “He’s totally ripping off Versace!”).

The nonconformists—They hate the big houses and favor smaller indie labels particularly the most avant garde because they don't conform to the mainstream tastes.

Of course people may be mixtures of those critics.
I just wanted to say that I think that that's a neat description of the tfs reviewers. And I think that in general I would fall under the category of "realist".

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14-03-2010
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^Thanks. By my own description I would be a "realist" too

After reading through more of the Fall/Winter threads I'm wondering how much geography and regional bias plays a role in our perception of the designs. I've seen people unilaterally dismiss New York fashion week while raving over designs in Paris that would have looked right at home in NYC.

Perfect example. Dries Van Noten's F/W collection could have been a NY collection. I have no doubt had it come down the runway in NYC it would have likely been dismissed -like many NY collections typically are-- due to its wearability and commercial appeal. As it stand Dries shows in Paris so instead I'm seeing people raving over the collection like camel coats and belted shirtdresses haven't been done a million times before.

I do think its a shame when I see comments that suggest there is no value to be found in certain fashion weeks --usually New York or London. I don't see how it is possible not to find a handful of collections to appreciate from the hundreds of designers from all over the world that converge in those cities. To me it hints that geographical bias plays a strong role in criticism.

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19-03-2010
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Thank you for your insight and scorecard Irulan.

For my part, I'm moving toward a method that includes assessing how many positional trends a look or collection covers/evokes.

I'm attempting to read collections on first view with an open mind (aided by the imho best two writers I've found so far - Alex Fury and Cathy Horyn), noting trends, and then I shall revisit everything with an informed and shifted eye to form a second look judgment. Obviously this takes time.

I noticed when viewing the individual collection threads several posters saying they'd need to revisit before forming a conclusion. I'm here to say please do revisit. Sure, many have twittered off to surface skim something else but AW10/11 is still a good way off and not all birds have flown the nest - you still have an audience. Personally I'm magpie-ing anything and everything insightful and I'll continue to do so.

Any other methods with or without scorecards gratefully received.

And if anyone would like to suggest fashion writers not on here who can trump Fury or Horyn then much appreciated.

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15-09-2010
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Sorry, I had to resurrect this thread after reading through a lot of the responses to the collections.

Is it possible people could appreciate collections more if they viewed them in their own right as opposed to viewing them through the prism of the few designers they are familiar with? I'm get so tired of reading fashion critiques that consist of "It looks so Gucci" or "That's so Prada."

There are very few things in fashion that haven't been done before. There is bound to be repetition of shapes, silhouettes and patterns. Is it possible that designer who does geometric prints was influenced by pop art and isn't copying that Prada collection you remember from such and such year? If someone does a strong shoulder are they really ripping off Balmain? Do we really believe that every other designer under the sun is "copying" a few well-known names (i.e Prada, Balienciaga)?

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15-09-2010
  72
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^my thoughts exactly. Unless I really am looking forward to a designer I usually go to style.com or wwd to see the collection in it's entirety first so I don't have to scroll through 8 million "this looks so _____" because that gets quite annoying. true originality comes few and far between.

I just like when a collection can at least reference an inspiration and make it their own regardless of if they were influenced by Lanvin, Balenciaga, etc.

and as to your first post, I would credit myself as a realist as well :p

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15-09-2010
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^^ You two have a point. Sometimes it is unbearable to go to a thread and see the majority of posts stating that it reminds them to Prada, Gucci, Balenciaga, etc. Check out Rodarte's thread this season! It is filled with McQueen/Miu Miu posts and not even explaining why!

Yes, fashion has trends but I think it is completely unethical for designers and anyone really to completely rip off "x" designer and tbh, I don't think they are aiming to do that in the first place.

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17-09-2010
  74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loladonna View Post
Sorry, I had to resurrect this thread after reading through a lot of the responses to the collections.

Is it possible people could appreciate collections more if they viewed them in their own right as opposed to viewing them through the prism of the few designers they are familiar with? I'm get so tired of reading fashion critiques that consist of "It looks so Gucci" or "That's so Prada."

There are very few things in fashion that haven't been done before. There is bound to be repetition of shapes, silhouettes and patterns. Is it possible that designer who does geometric prints was influenced by pop art and isn't copying that Prada collection you remember from such and such year? If someone does a strong shoulder are they really ripping off Balmain? Do we really believe that every other designer under the sun is "copying" a few well-known names (i.e Prada, Balienciaga)?
I do agree that there's really few things that havent been done before in fashion, but I guess when someone refers to a collection as being "very Prada" or "very Gucci" is really because when you analyze the whole thing, and after you've distilled the it-skirt of the season, and the it-shoe of the season, and the trendiest color and fabric, what should remain is the true essence of the brand you are looking at.
If I'm tearing all of that apart in a Whoever collection and it all screams Prada to me, that means that there's a really big flaw in that collection. It means that the mr Whoever hasnt really been able to adapt his vision, and the things that make his label unique to the upcoming trends of the industry.
Whether it's 50s or minimalism or military jackets, every look in every collection should eventually be identifiable as something representative of the house it came from.
If you notice, all the houses that are often considered to "get it right" will always have an element that distinguish them. Because Prada, no matter if it does lace, or plastic, or impossible wedges, or whatever will always look Prada.
The same can't be said about some other brands (like it happened to Dolce&Gabbana not too long ago) when they started doing princess gowns, and flowery outfits... they were all very pretty, but it truly had nothing to do with the "Sicilianity" their label stands for. And that is the reason why some people will look back at those collections and say "is this Marchesa or what?"

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17-09-2010
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Quote:
If I'm tearing all of that apart in a Whoever collection and it all screams Prada to me, that means that there's a really big flaw in that collection. It means that the mr Whoever hasnt really been able to adapt his vision, and the things that make his label unique to the upcoming trends of the industry.
Whether it's 50s or minimalism or military jackets, every look in every collection should eventually be identifiable as something representative of the house it came from.


Could it be that Prada or whichever designer has over-used certain prints or silhouettes to the point that the house has become synonymous with those design details? By that notion any design who chooses to use those details will be accused of being "so Prada" or "so Balenciaga" when they really just felt like having an A-line skirt or a poufy shoulder. Anytime a designer uses tweed with piping they get accuse of being "so Chanel". Are certain fabric combos or silhouettes off-limits to other designers because they are so over-used by more well-known houses?


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