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01-10-2012
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ogepma's Avatar
 
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Does a brand have to be sexy, cool and youthful to be relevant?
Looking through most of the collections this season, it looks like many designers are making sure their collections are youthful, cool and sexy. Are these elements required for a brand to be relevant? It really bothers me because I am starting to feel fashion may have lost it. What happened to elegance and power dressing; clothes that make a woman feel empowered and not an object of sexuality and lust? There was an interview Stefano Pilati granted just before he left YSL and he talked about the end of elegance. This made me think a lot about this issue. Why is "cool" so overrated? Why do clothes have to be young and sexy to be smiled upon? When I read through tfs, common criticisms are "it's not cool enough", "it's not sexy enough", "hahaha, that's something my grandma would wear" and these are not necessarily limited to tfs (albeit they might be stated more professionally elsewhere). The funny thing is that most of the women who can afford these clothes are working women who are not young and don't necessarily want to look cool. I would rather a woman who is in her 40s, 50s or 60s embraces her age properly by dressing appropriately and not looking like someone who lost out on her youth. I respect women like that a lot. Looking at Hedi's debut show, he wants to make YSL a super sexy and youthful brand (back to the Tom Ford era). Aren't there too many brands doing the same thing already? Isn't the fashion market already saturated with this type of "fashion"? Thoughts please


Last edited by ogepma; 01-10-2012 at 08:55 PM.
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04-10-2012
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what i see as the main problem...
too much focus on the red carpet and celeb style and not enough focus on real women and real life...

i agree with most of what you said in your post, btw...

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04-10-2012
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though i have to add that being 'cool and sexy' is not necessarily something that stops in your 40's, 50's etc



i'd define a lot of what people call sexy and cool these days as just plain 'trashy'...

...

and yes- being elegant no longer seems to be a goal for most young women...which is unfortunate...imo...

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05-10-2012
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^^^But was elegance something most young women aim for back in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s 00s...? It's true that trashier, and more disposable fashion seems to dominate now more than before, but we could just be romanticizing-- idealizing the past decades. I think restrain, subtlety, and discipline in style is attractive or exciting to young women-- or young men, in general. These are traits you develop and appreciate as you )hopefully) mature. And elegance is not a guarantee-- just as style is not a guaranteed impression with age. That's why I think it's so special when you see that individual who is truly elegant, in their style and manner, because it really is an elusive impression. Armani said something in the 90s that made a huge impression on me: 90% of women have no style-- and that's why I have a job".

As to your inquiry ogepma: I think the image of youth and sexiness will always be a dominating impression in high fashion-- it's just easier to market. And it's much easier to style a young girl to look older, more mature, even matronly and still look acceptable than to style an older model to look like she's sixteen. And older women and men know this. I don't think an older woman is going to walk around in panties, stilettos and a silk opera coat just because she saw this in a Prada ad.

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05-10-2012
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some of us lived through it...so we're not having to guess what it was like in the 70's etc...

and i'm not saying that most young women used to aim for elegance...
only that most young women now don't...
whereas, in the past, more of them did...especially in Europe...

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05-10-2012
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Sorry, I menat to say I don't think restrain, subtlety, and discipline in style is attractive or exciting to young women-- or young men, in general.

(Couldn't go back and edit.)

I agree completely that the looks girls / young women favor are horrendous and elegance is the furthest trait from their goals. But then again, when you're young, you're very much influenced by what you see in the media, and unfortunately, there aren't any elegant young ladies as inspirations for these girls. But I think if a girl is attracted to someone Lana Del Ray's style, and actually takes the time to research her influences, then perhaps the girl will discover the women of the past who inspired that look.

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05-10-2012
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Does a brand have to be sexy, cool and youthful to be relevant?
In short, yes.

Here's why -

Let's take sexy first. It's not that demure is antiquated. It's that demure alone is redundant. In that it has no sensuous or visual excitation. Within that point is contained another - that the scopic regime is now regulated, propogated, defined, by mediation. Pictures 'want' to be sexy (See WTJ Mitchell 'What do pictures want?'' 1996). And people who care as to their appearance want to be pictured, seen. Otherwise what was the point.

Anthropologically, generationally, the cultural revolution, the sexual revolution of the 60's and 70s post Summer of Love formed a rift, a shift. From repressed modesty to freedom and freedom of expression. There is a very real sense in which it is to be modern to be unclustered, relaxed, unknotted, when it comes to sex and how we relate to the body and it's decoration and display.

This rift/shift can be seen to be illustrated in the passing of a baton - 50's Dior to sexier 60's/70's YSL. What Raf Simons has shown in SS13 is that we can revel in the poetic beauty of elegance and grace but that to be saved from costumic copy of a copy, to make his work contemporary 'fashion', he also brings sensous sexuality. It is simply the unalterable truth that in 2012 we are freer with being open to desire and sexuality than we were in 1947. To be of the now relevant we must have sex (or edge, or cool) to add to elegance. Otherwise it's just a trip, modestly, down memory lane.

Re Youthful. Yes, at any age, we are, today, concerned with preservation of the life force. We want to stay young essentially because now that we are properly sexual beings we wish to continue to attract and to be blissful. We wish to feel alive, sexually energised. We are in denial of cellular degeneration. How goes the song - I wanna be forever young. Of course we can't stop time but we can attempt to slow it's visual trajectory by the energised regime of looking after ourselves and staying in the visual frame sartorially.

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06-10-2012
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Diana Vreeland said---
i will die young...
i may die at 70, at 80 or at 90...but i will die young...



the 60's was a great sexual revolution...but so were the 20's...
they were times when the tectonic plates of fashion and culture were shifting
we have nothing like that now...
freaking slimane gave us regurgitated looks from the YSL archives and added some dior homme jeans to the equation...
...

nothing young, cool or sexy about it...
it's just redundant...
and old...and boring...


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06-10-2012
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I don't think that it's fashion and brands that are instilling this lack of elegance, I think it's what people do with the brands; as has been previously said the young are influenced by the media and until Katy Perry, Nikki Minaj etc realise that post-Gaga 'more' is boring, this lack of timeless elegance isn't going to change.

I think we can validate the above by the reaction to Leelee Sobieski's appearance in that incredible Dior coat, I mean, I've only seen two films she's been in ( thank you IMDB ) and though she has a striking face I only remember that on the red carpet she is repeatedly well dressed in elegant simplicity, usually courtesy of Mr Simons.

If we are taking this new season, spring 2013 as an example, how many trashy collections were shown seriously? Only Dsquared and Versace are coming to mind, I mean Dolce was disgusting but there were a lot of calf-length/below-the-knee hemlines (more trash as in rubbish, instead of taste ).

There are very few fashion houses that I would call "sexy, cool and youthful" maybe one or two of those words, but not all.
As sickening as it sounds, elegance has been a 'trend' in the collections for several years now seeing as the main market is obviously for successful or rich women who can afford designer clothes and not their teenage daughters.. who might prefer a rag from Jack Wills instead a Narciso Rodriguez gown.

The likes of Givenchy, Prada and Balenciaga seem to be over their gimmicky, extremely youthful phase of cat-ears and banana earrings (I hope not to see anything like those Celine shoes from Ms Philo ever again) which to me, was just them clicking their fingers for attention in their direction between great collections.
I don't think there is a terribly huge amount of very youthful collections, or very sexy collections, but there are a lot of beautiful collections that could easily span a large age-range.

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12-10-2012
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I would say definitely not. I find cool vastly overrated, and as others have pointed out, much of the designer customer base is not strictly young.

I remember wanting to be elegant when I was young ... there are some famous examples of elegant young women, but in general I believe it's difficult to be both quite young and elegant. I find elegance to be one of the rewards of age. Europeans seem to understand this ... perhaps being surrounded by ancient beauty rather than McMansions and Walmarts helps.

There are definitely houses who don't aspire strictly to these three qualities that are successful in every sense. And there are those who do who really aren't quite hitting the mark, as has already been observed.

Hedi Slimane said that fashion = youth + music + sex, and I find that to be a very narrow view indeed, as well as inaccurate, not to mention a sad perspective for someone who is no longer young. I'm all for being young at heart--but let's be real.

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