Tents, but no circus... Fashion is no fun anymore
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flaunt the imperfection..
Join Date: Jan 2004
(Page 2 of 2)
No spectator lucky enough to have had a front-row seat on the transgressive theater of fashion over the last decade was left in any doubt that these were unusual and vivid times: smoke and fireworks in tented firetraps (Mr. Galliano); fur-lined catwalks (Gucci); caged wolves at the medieval Conciergerie in Paris (Mr. McQueen); elaborate Kabuki scenarios enacted in the Espace Éphémère set up twice yearly in the Jardins des Tuileries (Dior) near the Louvre; bondage and Jack the Ripper scenarios played out in warehouses skirting the gloomy canals in Milan (McQueen men’s wear.)
Fueled by booming Western economies and a hunger to tap the riches of emerging markets — particularly in the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) — big corporations were happy to underwrite the costly flights of imagination proposed by designers like Mr. McQueen, Mr. Ford and Mr. Galliano. It was clear to the men who ran companies like Pinault-Printemps-Redoute or Richemont or LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (among them controlling more than 500 of the most familiar luxury goods labels) that, more than designers, they needed great showmen to help forge brand identities as they recast old labels and took new ones out into the world.
Now that there is a Vuitton store in Ulan Bator, that task can be considered completed.
As one looks forward to a month of new fashions displayed on the catwalks of New York, London, Milan and Paris, perhaps only Marc Jacobs in New York, Karl Lagerfeld in Paris and Miuccia Prada in Milan offer much promise of fascinating spectacle or challenging aesthetics or even a little goofball fun. The trouble is that even Mr. Jacobs’s ability to generate buzz, Ms. Prada’s sly subversions, Mr. Lagerfeld’s well-financed (by the Wertheimer family that controls Chanel) coups de théâtre can do only so much to offset an overall drift toward aesthetic complacency and boredom.
True, Mr. Lagerfeld may thrill everybody for an hour with another stage set like the one in 2010 that featured small mountains of ice hacked off a glacier in Sweden and then trucked across the continent to the Grand Palais in Paris. Yet even a stunt like that can’t alter the fact that in a borderline bear market hardly any designer can justify a line item for live wolves.
So it should not surprise us, as another Fashion Week gets under way on the anniversary of 9/11, and also on the precipice of a recession, that we’ve entered a less colorful phase in the long fashion cycle, one in which competence supplants genius, sound business strategies take precedence over risk taking and the tasteful safety of collections pitched toward mass-market “Maxxinistas” are unlikely to lift fashion out of its commercial origins and into the realms of art.
It says something about the season to come that among the most tantalizing and sprightly prospects are Missoni’s partnership with Target and Jil Sanders’ final collection for Uniqlo.
“I respect this business, and I understand the risks involved, but I also want to preserve a degree of spontaneity,” Ms. Roitfeld said in the interview, voicing a hankering many in the business share for the days when designers sent models out catwalks wearing kelp or dressed like Martian princesses, when the editor and muse Isabella Blow was still stalking the streets wearing wimples and armor and the other outrageous forms of raiment that Barneys New York hung in its windows after her death.
Fashion, as Ms. Roitfeld noted, “is nothing without its carefree side.”
McQueen is dead, in other words. Long live McQueen.
"It is not money that makes you well dressed: it is understanding."
Last edited by softgrey; 09-09-2011 at
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