Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A thought on fashion

KingDavid's latest demonstrates to me what I would call (sorry, Rush) #36 of the Undeniable Truths of Life; that fashion is not about how to clothe one's self well, but rather about how fashion designers are breaking the rules of good taste this season.

7 comments:

pentamom said...

I think there must be a subset of the fashion industry that regards itself the way artists nowadays do -- the idea is not to be pleasing or beautiful, but to see what new outrageous idea can be passed off as having artistic or fashion merit.

But I'm reluctant to grant those people the honor of thinking they characterize "fashion" in general. Most fashion is about designing the clothing you see in stores. I just recently received a catalog of some newer styles -- the kinds of clothing middle class adult women with taste and money to spend on new clothing would actually wear. And I must say, I think it's the most attractive and genuinely interesting stuff I've seen in a long, long time. (And, it doesn't rely on what isn't there for its main appeal.) Would that my budget were just a tad larger.

So just as there are lunatics producing all kinds of oddments that get displayed in the top museums, but there are nonetheless countless smaller galleries filled with stuff people actually like to look at, and that people actually buy, there is high fashion, and then there is real fashion.

Bike Bubba said...

Agreed that what we see this year (in catalogs and on the street) is far better than what I've seen for many years. Thank GOD the low-rider pants look appears to be dying!

That conceded...well....doesn't that mean that we're emerging from many dark days in fashion? That for at least the past decade or so, we've been in a time where fashion was not about being well dressed, but about breaking the rules of being well dressed?

pentamom said...

True, but my point was that the stuff you see in the big-name annual shows isn't "fashion" in any but a very rarefied sense. Real fashion has its ups and downs like anything, but it can't be meaningfully measured by the absurdities of haute couture. After all, those abominations KD displayed were FROM this year, when we both acknowledge things are getting better.

So I think there's about as much direct connection between the absurdity of the New York annual runway shows and the ups and downs of Main Street garment design, as there is between prize-winning rooms of blinking lights, and what you see in a more typical gallery where NEA money does not flow.

There is, of course, a middle ground -- those big-name designers do influence Main Street in broad strokes. But it's not because they're creating royal blue quilted beehives and wearable M&M's. That stuff is just another thing entirely from what's being designed for fashion. It bears as much resemblance to the real work of fashion design, as building houses of cards does to playing bridge.

So maybe your truth of life is still undeniable, but I don't think King David's post "demonstrates" anything other than that if you're a big enough designer name, you're allowed and expected to waste some of your time in ways that don't really have anything to do with "fashion." I can almost guarantee you that whatever directly fashion takes in the next couple of year, there won't be "blue beehive influenced" looks.

Bike Bubba said...

Actually, some of the books my wife has been reading clarify what happens; each designer puts together a few "wild" ideas to get them on premier news venues like "The Far Wright" and "Vogue." The rest of the designs set the trends for the year, which do in fact make it (in greatly cheapened form) into Target, Wal-Mart, and so on.

So there's actually a link between the "art designers" and what you see in your local store. It's greatly obscured after the product managers take all the cost out of things, of course, but it is there.

pentamom said...

Actually, what your wife said is what I meant. The crazy stuff doesn't influence fashion; it's for publicity. The stuff that influences fashion may still be undesirable in some respects, but it's not the crazy outrageous stuff King David displayed.

So I still think there isn't a connection between the M&M jacket and what people see in the stores, even if I don't like what people see in the stores. There's a connection between the designers and that stuff, but you don't demonstrate it by showing pictures of the M&Ms and the beehives. So I wasn't taking issue with your connection between the designers and yucky clothing on the racks, but with your statement that King David's pictures "demonstrate" something about the fashion world this season. Whatever the realities are, those pictures don't demonstrate it well, since those designs aren't intended to influence fashion.

Anyway, I don't mean to be nitpicky, because I agree that the designers are responsible for a LOT, and yes, much of it is a failure to regard their profession in a way that makes sense. I just wanted to clarify what I was reacting to.

Gino said...

i'm a totally non gay man, and somehow, i enjoyed this lesson in fashion design.

thanks,pentamom

Bike Bubba said...

I dunno if we can draw that stark of a line between the stuff for KD and the stuff actually meant to be sold--unless of course we want to describe fashion designers as people incapable of doing anything coherent.

On the other hand.....maybe you've got a point there. :^)