16 September 2012

Some thoughts on fashion for right now (SS13)

This is my first fashion post in quite a long time. And it comes as an instinct. Because, for the first time in about seven or eight years, I didn't realise New York Fashion Week had started, which means I didn't know (i.e. it wasn't relevant to me that) the Spring fashion shows had begun. And in fact New York is already over and right now London is on; next will be Milan, then Paris. Once upon a time this was totally given knowledge and something for which I waited the long gap between Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer shows with bated breath.

I feel this realisation comes as some kind of odd state of affairs. It makes me feel slightly disconnected with the thing that got me interested in everything in the first place (fashion). It makes me feel nostalgic for the days when I would religiously trawl the Fashion Spot forums, Style.com, Models.com and numerous other blogs and websites that would inform me of everything happening in the world of fashion as soon as it happened. Particularly during the shows. I guess nothing much has changed, really, except I look at other blogs and websites. It has been a progressive thing, definitely, yet it still comes as no less of a surprise to me that I should have forgotten entirely that the Fashion Weeks were on! This feels like 'a moment', as they say in the industry.

Just now I spent some time on Style.com, looking at the current Spring/Summer 2013 collections (here's my picks of Alexander Wang and Theyskens' Theory, above), and I realise my love of fashion is still there. Though I definitely wouldn't look at every single thing everyone has done anymore - both because I don't have time (!) and I'm simply not that interested. I'm also a lot more cynical and critical but, funnily, when I listen to some of the Style.com videos I think they would make good contemporary art works (or maybe I think that they sound like how contemporary art talk sounds, just with a different vocabulary?).

What is actually fabulous about fashion is that they can use phrases like 'amphetamine-precision' to refer to designer clothes without irony or self-consciousness; they are actually crazy. They are not even attempting to distance themselves from the absurdness - the 'vacuousness' - of their passion, like many contemporary art people are when they try self-consciously to justify the art they love (or the systems they criticise but uphold) in terms other than absurd ones; they deny the craziness.

It is crazy that Marc Jacobs can say 'coolness ... it's not manufactured, there are girls that just have it'; that Linda Fargo can say 'I was thinking about the bumster'; that Mickey Boardman can say 'they were very youth-quake and very old-establishment at the same time'. I love it. This is the true craziness of our time that art should admit. I'm not saying it's revolutionary at all but, look at this, would this not be the same very thing some hip young artist would use to comment ironically on the state of the world, on linguistic failure, on the neurosis of life under capitalism? Well, fashion has already done it, sans irony:

Hip slingers!

Anyway, In lieu of actually writing about any of the collections I've looked at so far (needless to say Wang and Theyskens are two stand outs), I thought I'd just draw your attention to some posts on fashion-related stuff I've done in recent years that may be of interest.

These are my thoughts on photographer Steven Meisel's editorial 'The Discipline of Fashion', which was published in Vogue Italia in September 2011: http://raddestrightnow.blogspot.com/2011/09/vogue-italia-settembre-2011-discipline.html.

This is some abstract 'review' I did in April 2011 of designer Damir Doma's Autumn/Winter 2011-12 collection (which, mind you, I still totally stand by): http://raddestrightnow.blogspot.com/2011/04/damir-doma-i-die.html.

This is some thoughts on 'afemininity' in relation to the work of designer Heikki Salonen, published in September 2010: http://raddestrightnow.blogspot.com/2010/09/freedom-in-afemininity.html.

This post from May 2010 was about Givenchy's A/W 2010-11 campaign, and is mainly worth reading for Daisy Farnham's very thoughtful comment, which I by now obviously totally agree with (i.e. I think my original opinion was a bit optimistic and naive, I should have stuck with the first paragraph's skepticism!): http://raddestrightnow.blogspot.com/2010/05/givenchy-autumnwinter-20102011.html

This is actually quite an interesting little piece of fashion history (lite), linking Jurgi Persoons, Miguel Adrover and Matthew Ames, posted in December 2009: http://raddestrightnow.blogspot.com/2009/12/thinking-fashion-four-matthew-ames.html

This is pretty interesting if you consider it in terms of the shift away from fashion that has been happening over the last few years for me, it is also interesting if you replace every word 'fashion' with the word 'art' (do it) - same shit, different day: http://raddestrightnow.blogspot.com/2009/08/direction-al.html

Obviously I could go on and on with these links, these are only relatively recent ones, there are endless more buried in the depths of this weblog that would be quite amusing to read, indeed! In any case, this has all been very self-indulgent but maybe there is something to be said for recontextualising some aspects of your 'history' when you are confronted with them. For me this is in no way a question of rejecting fashion or claiming that part of my life is over - in fact I feel fashion will always be a part of my life - but rather just acknowledging the ways interests, opinions, approaches, contexts, etc., change and shift over time. This is not a negation but instead an avowal of how all these varying paths are in fact always here, in some way, presently.

I'll leave you with an image from one of my first ever fashion shoots, photographed, styled and edited by me, the model is Louise Eddie and this was taken in 2006. It also became RRN's first every Christmas card that same year (nice graphic skills). So, an untimely Happy New Year to you, too!

EDIT: This Style.com review by Maya Singer uses the words 'dabbling Marxist' (unironically), seemingly refering to the writer herself (!): style.com/fashionshows/review/S2013RTW-EWICKSTEAD. Wow. Though, in the end, she still thinks the '.0001 percent' dress well.


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