Friday, February 20, 2009

Nuns and Poseurs

Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein is fast becoming what I consider a fashion Nun. His labored modernity, this worshipping at the alter of the Minimal is getting a bit too studied and ultimately tired. This is not to say that the collection for Fall is not without it's oasis of freshness, but the desert stretches on between sips of cool clear water.
The clever deconstruction and reconstruction of shapes with seams redirecting the eye is masterful, but at the end of the day( or 20 minutes or so) it starts to feel like a forced march. I love his eye, because it is so exacting. His use of felted wools and uber modern fabrics are a peek into the future but it never stops. It's a bit like Ralph Rucci with no reset button. They just go and go and go. After a while, as with Rucci, one owns the lexicon of shapes and one is forced to repeat their wardrobe or move on. Costa should consider this in the creation and editing of the collection. It's not a sin to throw a little hamburger in with the fois gras.
Exits#28 and #29 were beautiful jersey dresses with just enough twist to make them great and clearly Costa , but a roughly woven windowpane dress and suit with the asymmetric collar even looked like Rucci. The point that I make here is that these high tech fabrics for the most part are not people friendly. They wear you not the other way around. They are sharp ,hard and unyielding. The shoulders, elliptically shaped hips and bodies do not move with the body. they revolt against movement. They are at their best when viewed standing still. That isn't how I see clothes functioning on living, breathing people.
You be the judge.

Posers would be someone like Vera Wang. This is the hardest working girl on 7th Avenue. No one has tried harder to prove to themselves and others that they are a DESIGNER. Bridal gowns,ok. Clothing for the masses at Kohl's, maybe. Fashion for the discerning woman, NOPE. Season after season she cobbles together looks so unrelated and disparate that my eyes roll up in their sockets. Bottom line, she has a very strange eye for detail ,combinations of fabrics and pieces. It's so random that it becomes that:random. I've rarely seen a piece from her that truly made me stop and want to see it on someone. I rarely go places where I do see the clothes on someone. So why? This season was an homage to Peggy Guggenheim. I say like Peggy she should spend her fortune on art and shop like a maniac( which she does) and leave the heavy lifting to others. It's ok to have style and lots of cash, to also have a very successful bridal business, but designing fashion is altogether different.

I'm not convinced that she can.


Anonymous said...

indeed, so much rucci in that costa serving. and he does take himself to seriously. lighten up, francisco!
vera wang is very project runway-like, just amateur.
those heavy paiettes are just like santino's take on a gown for iman. whatever.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to hear you weigh in on experimental "high tech" fabrics. I can respect the effort to try something new, but many of the runway efforts are overly boiled. Are there really so many extra dollars to spend for R&D of new materials in this economy? Maybe this striving will subside for a bit.

Vera Wang shops for something other than black leggings and oversized tops? I would never have guessed from photos I see of her, so she must wear it all in secret. Really, anytime she wants to stop dressing women like brooding little girls would be just fine with me.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me if this seems harsh but I wish Vera had stuck with bridal. Her fashion is the ultimate me-too proposition.

It's Anjo again, dropping in to tell you about what I saw at the YSL-Berge auction! The actual auction is on Tuesday, but the lots have been on display since Saturday and tonight I went with a friend. We stood in line for ages, which stretched in front of the Grand Palais and around the side, got in after two somewhat frigid hours. Inside, the space had been converted into a series of display rooms with faux windows along the walls.

You can tell that the two of them had wide-ranging tastes and a deep interest in history as well as foreign cultures. Renaissance tapestries, 16th century Dutch paintings, 18th century French portraiture, Romantic bronzes of contorted human figures and one of a man killing a bull. Contemporary sculpture which betrayed an African influence; works from Asia, such as the two bronze animal heads from the Chinese emperor's summer palace which more recently aroused the indignation of the Chinese government. Mirrors, glittery gold and silver things betraying a Romanov-style taste for excess. Furniture which, despite its splendour, had a distinct grandmother feel. There were also the 20th century paintings, the big names, but those rooms were crowded and I hurried through.

There was a hint of the traditionally opulent French aesthetic but the feel was more eclectic. The polar opposite of some of their contemporaries, such as Givenchy, whose taste in furniture was almost a parody of the aspirational bourgeois.

Favorite piece? Warhol's portrait of YSL, which was on display near the information booth. Loud, rendered charming by YSL's pretty smile.

My other favorite bit was a small theater where a movie about YSL and Berge played on repeat, including a TV segment of Yves the day he won the Wool Secretariat competition as a young man, photographs of them looking informal together, interviews, commentary by Berge, Catherine Deneuve singing at the end of his last couture show. It was like Berge's personal memory vault had come open and my jaw was a little slack.

My impressions, there you are. I would have posted it on Cathy's blog but I've gotten sick of it over there.

Christa Weil said...

a-MEN Fluff! Clothing must be functional, i.e., wearable for more than the length of a runway, otherwise it fails.

How interesting it would be if some of the higher-end designers spent some time in the windtunnel, like the sporting-gear designers do. Fencing kit looks phenomenal, for example, but that's secondary to its performance features.

Hope you're enjoying your new Matisse! xx

Fluff Chance said...

Dear Anjo,
Looking through the set of catalogues , I had a similar feeling. Excess doesn't begin to desribe it, but so many beautiful picures, objet and paintings. They had a very consistent eye/eyes. Thank you so much for sharing that with me, I wish I could have come along with you and your friend. I am watching the auction on the computer. It's a live feed , so very interesting. The thing I wanted most was the bronze fish and a few of his crystals. But even they were all very expensive. I send you 3 kisses and thank you for taking the time to share with me. I'm a bit tired of OTR too. Do you know RJH? He puzzles me.....I wish you would email me so we could talk more candidly. Fluff