Fashion can be a funny business: you may see a collection and think that it's terrible and that you would never buy any designs from it, then you read the critics' reviews and you wonder if you're the odd one out as everybody talks about “genius designers” when all you can see is just a pile of clothes that most women wouldn't be able to wear (never mind afford) for construction reasons.
There are too many examples out there, but, if I had to mention one, I would just go for Haider Ackermann who keeps on creating the same clothes season after season, supported by the fashion media in general who probably think women all over the world have Tilda Swinton's body.
It's also bizarre how quite a few journalists opt nowadays for grand words to describe certain collections leaving most of us to wonder if they are doing their jobs or if they are trying to secure their seat at the next catwalk show of that specific designer. It is for example terribly puzzling how Hedi Slimane's S/S 13 collection for (Yves) Saint Laurent was accompanied by very positive reviews.
As desirable as Slimane's collection for Saint Laurent was, it seemed an updated remix of YSL's tuxedos (shrunken and reduced to that rock'n'roll silhouette that very few women will pull off, but who cares since these are not clothes for most of us), of the designer's iconic safari jacket as worn by Veruschka (but Slimane is a photographer, so he was maybe "channelling" the "Verushka in Saint Laurent look" by photographer Franco Rubartelli?) and of the caftans from Saint Laurent's Moroccan collection (let's face it: if you had done the same for your graduate collection - that is ripping off old looks and reinventing them a bit - your teachers would have strangulated you).
But while Slimane has been pretentiously adding his “honey, I shrunk the old clothes”-touch to some archival pieces and successfully managed to sell it to the media, others have been reinventing and recreating (maybe led by the convinction that knockoffs spawn innovation...), borrowing here and there.
Ruffles and studies about asymmetries may have been the main theme at Givenchy, but the roundish shapes that Riccardo Tisci employed especially in the dresses and tops characterised by a silhouette punctuated at the shoulders by minimalist gold bars and matched with metal chokers and shoes in see-through PVC with plexiglass heels, seemed to be borrowed from Pierre Cardin's '60s looks inspired by the moon and the space.
One dress in Tom Ford's collection - allegedly inspired by dichotomic themes such as chastity and perversion - featured cut out motifs under the arms that evoked a Pierre Cardin coat from his 1971-72 collection.
Peter Jensen may have looked somewhere else and more specifically at Barbara Hepworth, for his designs with cut-outs resembling the holes in Hepworth's sculptures. Yet the clean cut shapes and the cut-out motifs on the shoes, the hats by Bernstock Speirs, the dresses with holes that showed the fabric underneath or the skirts with a hole high on the thigh, ended up evoking (once again) some looks by Pierre Cardin, especially the ones in which the latter played with double layers.
Rather than focusing on nurses' uniforms like Cardin, Jensen tried to recreate in his all-white looks and in particular in his sculptural coats and shifts, the studio coats donned by Hepworth, yet the mood seemed to be space age futuristic rather than arty.
So is it right to use magniloquent and grand words to describe contemporary fashion collections? The doubt remains. What's certain, though, is that, rather than being populated by too many geniuses, the current fashion industry is populated by very few geniuses and by a lot of designers who are more or less successfully implanting some fashion genes from the past in their collections.Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos
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