Saturday, July 11, 2009

Can Fashion survive the Couture?

I've asked myself the question this week having filled my plate with images from the Couture," is there room left for fashion?" Realistically, I know one can not exist or even survive without the other, but what becomes the more satisfying choice? Both arenas are filled with delicious morsels that satisfy and excite one's palate. Still, which is more nutritious?

You may be partial to Chanel and still have a sweet tooth for Marc Jacobs. Lanvin may send you to the moon but Lacroix is a one way ticket to heaven. Oscar can make your heart race but Dior will bring on a full blown massive stroke.

Elitism and limitless funds aside, the Couture makes fashion look just like what it is , merely fashion. Perhaps this idea is exacerbated by the gloom of a desperate economic malaise, but the creative force which powers the couture is sorely missing in the mediocrity of the fashion business. Pedestrian is the word that comes to mind. I didn't always feel this way. It's an about face to be perfectly honest. Digesting or choking on what passes as important or news breaking fashion is a sad step child in comparison. Granted, the richest materials in the hands of the most skilled can not compare to lesser technique and materials of a more earthbound quality. The playing field is more akin to an alpine range and a deep airless valley. What is a common denominator in this mathematical equation is design or the effort to fire all of one's engines . Every player in this sacred game has the opportunity to propel an idea forward. To hone that idea to it's most profound essence. What repeatedly disappoints me in the larger world of fashion is that too few take the time and effort to develop an idea and actually look critically at it from every possible angle, in every possible light. So often the results are glorified school projects.The label with it's vaunted reputation is rarely better than the new kid on the block. Both are churning out clothes parading as collections racing to the finish line: Collection Week.
What we see is what we get, clothes with a glaze of perceived importance. That perception is the result of editorial crop dusting.

I am not for a moment suggesting that all Haute Couture collections trump ready to wear fashion because just look at this season's offerings from Valentino , once one of the most influential houses in the world. You see it's falseness from beginning to thankful end.
If fashion is to survive it's time to get down to serious work. The customer needs to be transported. They need to be seduced to choose what they didn't know they wanted or needed. Passion needs to be reintroduced to the souls of the consumer. Collections need to speak the language of poets .

Like a life truly lived, we need to let go. It's time to step outside and plunge into the unknown. For too long it's been about our heads when it should be about our hearts.

All images are Chanel Haute Couture Fall 09


a reference said...

well written!

divina said...

Well said! insightful, elegantly articulated. Hope everything works out for you... and I hope you keep up the blog! it's rare to see such a daring and critical analysis of fashion that's too often trivialized and "air-brushed" with media hype and passing trends!

Anne Corrons said...

I think Haute Couture will always exist!At least, in Paris!

Chris in SF said...

in my middle class existence, I can never afford couture.. that said, I appreciate it for its whit, its irreverence, imagination... well, at least it used to be that until corporations and their Wall St. masters got involved...
couture was never for the masses let alone for corporations interested in the bottom line... the fact that everything is becoming more and more homogenized, dumbed-down, pedestrian...beige, is a reflection of those two entities' power over the industry. It's all about selling the most units to the widest of audiences... in order to do so, you have to appeal to the LOWEST common denominator.
The sooner couture goes back into "hiding", to the realms of the few that can afford it, to the few who understand and appreciate it, away from the prying eyes of the media, the better... then, you will see a renaissance of new ideas an innovation that will, eventually trickle down to the masses without their knowledge.
And, can we please start the process by banning reality TV "stars" and their ilk from the front row of fashion shows? And, no I don't care to hear the opinion of the rap star du jour about a particular collection unless he/she knows the difference between silk jersey and chiffon. And, why are THEY arbiters of style all of the sudden? No, no, too much "democratizing" of style has yielded mediocritizing instead and, in the process, the avant garde, the new ideas and, the visionaries are pushed out.

Miss Pam From T-Town said...

Hear hear. My feelings exactly.