Fashionable Contemplation

Now that I have some time I thought that I’d ponder about the subject I talk about constantly: fashion.  Although I am a bit sleepy…you have been forewarned about my state of being [part of it was written in the midst of fashion month; mainly the intro].

L-R: Stella McCartney, Haider Ackermann

What is fashion? And style?  Do they always coincide? I somehow think that style and fashion have become congruous in most people’s minds but they certainly don’t always coincide.  Fashion is a world I love and yet don’t fully understand.  I suspect that the industry insiders themselves don’t even fully grasp it.  However, that’s what makes it so exciting.  It is both definable and undefinable.  And in an age where the latest news tend to break on twitter and bloggers reign, it is even more undefinable.  I agree with Coco Chanel in that fashion is something that is fleeting while style always remains.  Because if one were to think about it, essentially fashion has a shelf life of 3 months-give or take- if one were to follow every single collection with: pre-fall, autumn/winter, resort, couture (both seasons), spring/summer.  And it’s always off.  Fashion always sets its sights into the future on what will be the next hit.  But there’s more to it.  I will not bore you with the tireless argument on the frivolity of the fashion industry (it IS clothes after all) or whether fashion = art (it is! so there! :P).  In the end, it still comes back to us as a consumer.  Even those who attempt to live “beyond” it or without it are living in it.  They just settle into denial instead.   But that is a debate for another time.

What I wish to talk about is what is currently happening at S/S 2010 fashion week [and at the time, it hadn't reached Paris yet].

L-R: Dolce & Gabbana, The Row

So what’s going on?  What makes this season so different from the others (meaning the seasons I’ve followed since I could understand what it is)?  Take away all the theatrics and flair, the contrivedness, and the politics; and what is left? Pure organic design.  There is something utterly thrilling about the quality high luxury design presented this season.  There is a life to it and intent behind it; something that’s been missing for a while.  People have been hit hard with a recession in recent years.  Not to mention, we live in a society that is easily satisfied with instant gratification.  We want everything here and now, regardless if it is at the cost of true quality.  And because of it, we are missing out on something.  Something that can be great; we just simply didn’t have the patience to reach it.

[Now onto the musings after fashion week]

L-R: Burberry Prorsum, Aquascutum

Something I’ve seen this season is the come back of quality.  Marc Jacobs said that “sometimes beautiful is enough.”  And it is.  I can truly see it in the collections presented.  Some call it “subdued chic” or “restrained fashion” but I do not believe that it is subdued or restrained.   There is a beautiful minimalist aesthetic that relies on tailoring, well-crafted materials, and an intent beyond artistic vision.  While certainly not everyone has a “parred-down” aesthetic, there is a prevalent leaning towards exquisite craftsmanship and tailoring as opposed to over-the-top drama.  With New York leading the charge only to well carried on throughout Paris, I simply love the overall theme of this season’s fashion weeks.  There is something beautiful about what has been created.  With the return of Phoebe Philo last September, there seems to a turning.  I believe many designers like Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney are coming into their own.   They make us concentrate on the exquisiteness of the craftsmanship and the beauty of the design.

Christian Dior

Don’t get me wrong.  I can enjoy the drama and theatrics of fashion as well.  I understand that attitude is very much a part of this world and I would never suggest fashion without attitude.  I just don’t like it when the quality of the collection is compromised in the process or when the theatrics distract me from the clothes.  Someone who is no stranger to the merging of theatrical fashion and quality craftsmanship is John Galliano for Christian Dior.  I must admit that I am already largely a Dior girl.  One would just have to look into my beauty drawer to see the sheer amount of Christian Dior products I use.  And I stock up on them like I’m going into a bomb shelter with no access to quality beauty suppliers.  However, back to the clothes.  John Galliano has managed to utterly charm and captivate me with his fall collection.  I have a thing for romantic styling; it brings out the girly girl in me.  There is a sensuality to his clothing and a structure to all that volume.  And this collection truly connects me on a fundamental level attitude-wise.  Attitude plays a large role in the fashion world; an image is essentially being created here.

L-R: Marc Jacobs, Dries van Noten

Projection is almost bigger than the clothes themselves in the fashion world.  One is always projecting an image, emotion, attitude, etc. and always trying to convey more.  And that’s important.  There needs to be something more or else it is just the superficial world that everyone else thinks it is.  Not to mention that everyone who tries to live outside of it do not realize that they themselves are projecting an image as well.  Except that it is the image of being “anti” whether that means “not caring” or “against caring” about they way they look.  But they are.  It’s a catch 22.  In any case, we live in a society that is very much image base.  And trying to escape from that very human nature is near impossible.  I, for one, am not trying to escape it.  There is nothing wrong about something that can make you feel strong and beautiful.  It’s only when your image or other’s images get projected onto each other that it starts to become wrong.  I believe that fashion is here to suggest and provide loose guidelines to follow when one is completely lost in how to dress.  Other than that, everything can be taken with a grain of salt.

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