Trend observations with a sociological eye from afar...
by DSWarren in Vancouver
For example, in the movie franchise "Back to the Future” the main characters travel into the future. Here we get glimpse of what our reality is supposed to be, but interestingly enough it also details how we, in our future, would view our past. Those of us who were living that past found the portrayal of our present reduced to sound bites and trend aspects were quite amused. The reason was largely due to our inherent awareness of what living in our decade encompassed and how our culture was more richly layered. It is true that those elements, such as Max Headroom, MTV, acid wash and big hair were a few components. But those who were more immersed and aware recall a more sophisticated aspect of that decade where the avant garde had a fundamental role in shaping the expressions of the culture.
For every Perry Ellis and Ralph Lauren Polo there was a Jean Paul Gaultier gender-bending defiance and romantic Vivienne Westwood declaration. We saw the amazing explosion of Japanese design break every rule to bring us forward. The exploration we take for granted owes much to the humble barrier testing of Comme des Garcon, form exploration of Yohji Yamamoto and the technical innovation of Issey Miyake. We were left awestruck by the sweeping architecture of French master Claude Montana and monumental structural sex appeal of Thierry Mugler. These were highbrow designers at a time when inspiration took years, not days, to influence the larger masses who found their designs too unconventional.
The class elevation through mass consumption and wealth flaunting included fashion as a determining component of social relevance not before experienced. In fact, fashion’s significance was boosted by the connections we further enhanced in this decade of exclusion. It was true status to come home from a shopping trip in Manhattan, London or Paris wearing a coveted garment from a designer collection because knockoffs just didn’t appear and fast fashion not only took too long but also could not hold a candle to the actual pieces’ design. Our technology was just not there to support the kind of immediacy we have today. Nor was it status to have an imitation. Innovative unknown designers were excitingly embraced, but no copies would get you past a velvet rope in an exclusive venue. Fashion grew in this era as we celebrated individuality and got caught up in the value of being relevant to the times.
This connected with knowledge of other cultural highbrow territories such as art and music, and those who knew about the influencers who started the trends, i.e. the avant garde or underground, were part of the status set. However, general history never was generous when it came to acknowledging the significance of the avant garde or was as aware of the importance of those groundbreakers. The commercial distillations that the general population took from these innovations are what stay with us.
It’s not limited to that decade. Investigations into each prior decade uncover a wealth of amazing groundbreaking expressions that were the true sources of the pop versions of history we go-to today, and someday we will have a comprehensive archive to celebrate those who produced incredible forward-thinking expressions. In fact, many of them were so ahead of themselves that we find their results relevant beyond today. The Dadaists influence in design is a fine example when looking at our art and modern architecture. Much of what we accept as current would have stunned generations of that decade. It was an aesthetic they could not relate to that we identify with now, and even then some of the concepts from that period would still be considered the outer periphery of design expression today..
So the “Back to the Future” film underscores how we can bypass what was truly relevant in favor of what was popular as a hallmark of a decade without giving proper credence to the actual forces that shapes our cultural expressions. And there is a charm that comes from seeing how that world appears in the eyes of youth that only has limited access of what we know of that decade as it finds its way back into our trend influence today. Think carefully and you’ll see this is something we all have experienced.
One post from trend conglomerate WGSN’s Twitter feed recently expressed surprise of seeing Issey Miyake’s runways show as a collapsible design was pulled out of a bag to be worn on the spot. However, those who have lived longer know that this theatric is a Miyake hallmark; long before Chalayan, Miyake had modular aspects to his designs for all to see. And a post from Style.com on Gareth Pugh’s show mused of the unifying theme, when the unifier appears to be recognition of source in context with the larger trend thread in the Paris collections today: late 80s design. The grand architecture and sweeping elements remind of Claude Montana, the cocooning elegance of Romeo Gigli, and the stoic experimentation of materials of Issey Miyake. These were clever and beautiful reimaginings of what stunned us decades before, their intelligent beauty rediscovered and brought forth with the same spirit that it was back then.
This is not to dump on the expertise of WGSN or Style.com, for these organizations have incredibly knowledgeable professionals who deserve respect. Their work is hard and their dedication is to be admired. They lead in the dissemination of fashion information, and that carries a lot of responsibility. Rather, it underscores that some details require having lived in the prior eras to appreciate the nuances that a designer would incorporate. Remember, many of these designers also lived through that same decade. They would recall many of those awe-inspiring elements to include in this round of retro appreciation. It’s just not possible to recall these aspects if one hasn’t actually lived…no, immersed one’s self by living through that decade.
Many of the collections coming out of Paris for the Fall Winter 2014/2015 season incorporate volume and structure, the shoulder emphasis and material experimentation plus the ostentation of opulence that accompanied a similar climate as back then. And there are too many doing so to mention here, it’s so prevalent. In the 80s, amidst the status clawing, there was an attitude blending denial and cavalier devil-may-care risk-taking. The fashion industry saw a need to generate excitement while the economies sit precariously between idealistic hope inflated by careless credit abuse and vague knowledge of impending collapse. The climate supported expression to keep interest and continue the buying spree as those with genuine wealth were conspicuously spending while our pop culture cheered it on in admiration, much like what we’re doing today.
Does this mean we are heading towards a similar outcome? That is not so simple. One only has to look at the multiple influences to see that there are combinations of elements at play to illustrate our awareness of current events. Look carefully enough and you may get a few clues…or wait until the next few articles whole you draw your own conclusions.
For fashion to connect with the very population it continuously wishes to seduce, it must continuously speak to the public, reflecting its sentiments while subtly leading the way through the dichotomy of conformity and competition for reigning inspiration through individuality.
Fashion doesn’t just want to be relevant; it needs to be.
For fashion to do this, it must associate with what we consider new, and it is in the direction of youth that always wins. Youth is everything new. It is fresh, energetic, and wide-eyed. It sees the world from new eyes and isn’t afraid to ask why things are the way they are or why they must be. It is the optimism of exploration, the naivety that opens doors to new approaches. How can one think out of the box when it has never been put in one? Youth knows. It hasn’t learned all the rules, and thus can break them.
But the design world is not coming from a youthful place. These creatives have experience and accumulated knowledge that come from being on the planet longer. That doesn’t mean they are out of touch. They pay attention as all artists do, and they have the technology to pay attention to the younger demographic.
The current focus is on embracing youth to be relevant, particularly when our world is changing. The economic picture is transforming as manufacturing gives way to the potential disruption offered by technological advancements that threaten everything we have grown accustomed to. Erosion of middle class has pushed us to embrace technological knowledge relevancy such as our ability to learn the new basics such as coding and program adaption that are attributed as innate to younger generations such as the Millennials.
Compounding these concerns is our embrace of social media has a necessary component of relevancy. This has made appearance even more important, something not lost in the beauty industry but not limited to it either. As our older generations are living longer, they are maintaining youth longer as well. We all have heard the ”forty is the new thirty” mantra. Many who aim to maintain relevance dress younger to preserve the association. Fashion knows this; it’s part of the mechanism that maintains the cache of youth in our culture as valuable. And for a growing portion of unemployed and those looking over their backs aware of their age as an unfair judgment factor, the competition to remain relevant has spurred articles instructing job-seekers on ways to look and appear young, even though our appearance has little to do with technical knowledge or relevancy. We wouldn’t have this concern if value on youth wasn’t emphasized to the degree it is today but our associations of youth and technological adaption along with age stereotyping have shaped this perception. Thus, to cultivate a new client base and continue the attraction with its existing clientele means reaching out to youth because we associate relevance with such alignment.
Our strongest reference of youth are the decades where youth ruled. For the 20th century, this would be the 20s, the 60s through the 90s. These were energetic and sexy periods. These were also dominated by the power of youth culture. In particular, the 20s, 60s and 80s had high hemlines and drop waists. The sexual ambiguity of a dropped waist and the youthful permission to hike the hems high were embraced as part of the larger affinity with our value of youth culture. And there is no shortage of these in the collections coming out this month.
There are simply too many names that would fill the article to refer to. Nearly every collection has both elements in their collections. For those with great legs and a tight waistline, fashion is smiling on them with these elements being offered. And for those who are young or maintain the appearance of being so, these items are for them. The aspects of youthfulness is a new (yet not) currency of exclusivity that fashion offers, and some lines have a higher percentage of these elements as if to declare the status of their clientele. Fortunately, the collections have more going on. It is, above all, a business.
It’s fascinating to see what we value and what components of society are contributing to the values we maintain. For those who are more educated one realizes that not all Millennials are as tech savvy as media has portrayed, and energy and innovation is not the domain of youth. A culture raised on conformity has nothing on a seasoned creative who has learned with less barriers and constrictions and the rise of obesity that includes all generations doesn’t speak much about energy. And, in the coming decades, the more physical aspirations we place value on won’t be restricted to an age range either. The amazing discoveries in science and its exponential growth we see now are already looking to extending and reversing the very process of aging.
As this happens you can be sure that we will find, explore and exploit whatever qualities we deem valuable in its place. And as designers are businesspeople, they will recognize that a good collection is not solely based on these aspects…although they will be sure to take those values into consideration in their collections; the compulsion of exploitation which acts as drivers of human nature is unlikely to change. We’ll just have to hope for enlightenment to come into fashion. Perhaps we can plant the seeds now to get there.
The artists’ mind is a fascinating one to have. It merges the capacity to create and express with hyperawareness of one’s surroundings. Drinking in details, the artists is constantly seeking and taking in stimuli that feed the insatiable need to create. Designers share this capacity, especially those who have risen in ranks to have control over their platform for expression. Here, they have the added mandate to constantly rejuvenate their expression to reflect the current pulse with great regularity in the name of relevance. This and, of course, to maintain profit; you can’t have a designer’s platform without the money to maintain it.
Not all influences are cultural inspirations. Sometimes it is the more seemingly mundane elements that can catch a designer’s attention. For example, during the 90s in New York there was a sudden fascination with the weather channel and its at-the-time high tech way of present ting real-time and advance weather coverage. And somewhere in the mid-90s there as good reason to talk about the weather: a weather anomaly in the form of a tornado over New York City. This came around the same time that dialogue was taking place concerning climate change that was beginning to be noticeable. Some collections, such as those by Versace, were duly inspired by our fascination with the weather; the tornado effect adapted to ballgowns with twisted waists for one (a reboot from a 1982 design aspect made apropos considering current subject matter). Some collections were also weather adaptable such as Helmut Lang’s more rain-ready summer collection a few summers later when weather got wetter. The weather was increasingly wilder, or maybe it’s just that we had more coverage available to pay attention to its changing volatility.
The weather is a magnificent topic now, and has been more so over the last year as powerful storms have dominated the airwaves and netscape. The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showed increased frequency of intense rain events happening over the last 50 years, while The National Center for Atmospheric Research found the percentage of Earth’s surface suffering drought has more than doubled since the 1970s. What are termed “Black Swan” events such as the hurricane that hit New York and New Jersey last year are also on the increase. Organizations such as The GLOBE Group are factoring reactions to climate shifts into their strategy for sustainability, a hot topic into their upcoming conference. No matter what the cause, it’s happening and the patterns aren’t predictable. Sometimes the weather is balmy only to be frigid and arctic the following week. The collections have and are more so reflecting this haphazard pattern, trying to adapt. After all, how can a designer not notice this and not be inspired to some degree?
So no more do we have traditions with a predictable weather pattern to match, and this schizophrenic mixing of elements in collections merely reflect that. Florals in winter? Why not? It has been happening in real life during the warm spells, such as when Alaska was warmer than Texas this year. Pastels and whites normally territory of spring and summer are here to stay as well , as seen in collections by Alexandre Herchcovitch, Badgley Mischka, Creatures of the Wind, Organic by John Patrick, Philosophy, Ralph Lauren, Rosie Assoulin, Threeasfour and Victoria Beckham. Short skirts and high hems, the inspiration in part due to the interest in 60s and, to a bit of a degree the Valley Girl 80s, are aplenty in every collection so far. Shorts, gauchos and capris that would normally be out of place in a winter wardrobe are peppered though many collections as well, such as in those by Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim, CG, Charlotte Ronson, Coach, Duckie Brown, Escada, Joie, Kaelen, Nicholas K, Public School, Tocca, TSE and Veronica Beard. Some collections reference the elements, such as the clouds from Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Zimmerman or the cotton batting and 3D aesthetic intermixed in the brilliantly executed collection from Threeasfour. Here, they conveyed their awareness of the environment beyond weather as they primarily covered observations in terrains and, in particular, topography.
We’re talking about what’s around us, and when it becomes a major component of our daily lives you can be sure it takes precedence in our minds. Designers are connecting with us, letting us know that they too are fully aware of what is around them. It’s noticed in what we all see and read. It’s in their sales patterns, such as not having enough light layers when winters resemble resort season.
Will the heavier knits and cocoon coats be perfectly timed, or will it be thin summer wools and light layers that becomes the most-used items in our closet? Either way, the smart designers are making sure that have their bases, and our interests, covered. And what doesn’t sell immediately may not matter, as whatever isn’t weather -appropriate could be held until the next season in case an anomaly happens there. Anything’s possible now.
We are a malleable lot, subject to suggestions and influences as long as they meet our ego’s desires. Ultimately, we seek whatever will help us to feel better, be it about ourselves or our image to others. We show our characters in our dress to convey belonging as well as to let others know where we stand in relation to our world and our environment. Sometimes the local culture takes more import and sometimes our allegiance to more global or worldly aspects comes into play, if only to let the world know we are “in the know”. Thus, the choice to align with status markers is more commonplace than one thinks because we are social animals and most of us have the innate need to belong to the group or pack.
We are also aware of status, especially where conformity and competition exists within our social structure. To be connected with more current aspects can be a powerful driver of behavior, and the elements that shape us can be varied and fluid. But the quality of those influences in relation to our being is a factor to be taken into consideration. Here, as part of our desire to elevate ourselves amongst our peers we tend to connect with whatever demonstrates a higher level of quality. This can be by aligning with successful achievers such as sports figures or entrepreneurs, or creators who are doing groundbreaking work. The accessibility is another aspect to consider, which is why our entertainment is more frequently a factor of influence. It is more accessible and more congruent to our topics during the socialization process. That is, more people know about and can have an opinion about these things, so they have more social influence. Think about it, when’s the last time you spoke about an entrepreneur versus music?
Lately the excitement has been in the higher quality of cinema. There have been some great films and a part of the conversation has been about the costumes. The sexy meshing of retro trash with sex appeal of “American Hustle” certainly found its way into the Fall Winter collections so far, with elements lifted from that decade as they were in the 90s, another decade that persists to linger in many of the collections to date. Of course there are reasons for the persistence of the 70s as an influence, many which were covered in previous articles in this blog ( see “92 87 74 38 29 12”, February 25th 2011; “Demonstrations at Burqa-ly”, April 1st 2011; “Garden party…at East Egg or Collingwood Manor?”, May 27th 2011; “Clothes to ponder feminist dichotomy”, June 10th 2011; “Nanny And The Professor Of Haight-Ashbury”, June 17th 2012; and “Back Here Again”, May 26th 2013) and it is only due to other factors that it still remains relevant as influence today, something to be covered later. But you see aspects incorporated into collections from Cushnie et Ochs, Erin Featherston, Mara Hoffman, Peter Som, Preen Line, Rachel Comey, Tocca, and Veronica Beard.
Another film that made an impact (and connects us to where our focus is) was the film “Gravity”, tapping into our fascination with space while connecting with our struggle of fear and survival in solitude. There are many sci-fi influences, with more now that we embrace tech fibres juxtaposed with 60s cuts. We do as that was the last decade and past articles made that connection before too (see “Defining Boundaries”, September 22nd 2013 and “6EQUJ5”, January 5th 2014). The influence of this decade is more pronounced as seen in most collection so far. The telltale short shifts and sky-high hemlines hark back to the energy of a decade where reaching for the stars wasn’t just the fodder for science fiction but happening before their eyes.
But the most prominent is sometimes a film that already reflects the current mindset that is our future, one free of costumes and thorough in its pragmatic approach. The point of view may not be romantic but the resonance is in the modern and relatable aesthetic of “Her”. This is another film that has found its influence, especially as the costumes were created By Opening Ceremony and a capsule line based on those designs is available online currently. The simplistic androgyny has been a mainstay since post war, and some collections, such as those by Alexander Wang, Creatures of the Wind, Nicholas K, Richard Chai Love, had more pronounced aspects that connected with the film’s design approach, although to be fair the masculine play that the costumes hinge on is omnipresent (see collections from Adam Lippes, Jenni Kanye, Lisa Perry, Mara Hoffman, Nonoo, and Rebecca Taylor).
As stated before our influences are more varied and sophisticated than to pick and choose a handful, but our entertainment so far has done an admirable job of connecting with us more deeply, tapping into the power of emotion that many marketing and advertising companies recognize. The proliferation of the current trend of storytelling to forge deeper ties between brands and the public may seem like manipulation, but the awareness of emotional connections as a tool is powerful knowledge that is not ignored, especially where profit is concerned. A successful designer will recognize the benefits of aligning with this and bring those connections into their collections to create components that add to relevance, even if it’s at a subliminal level. And so, recognizing the power of our entertainment this year, we see aspects in collections accordingly. Consider it an exercise in active listening, something that editors and buyers wondered whether as existing before.
Human beings can be funny creatures. We like to compartmentalize and generalize our fellow man while acknowledging our characters as more intricate and sophisticated. We meekly admit and gently celebrate a softer, gentler side, balancing this with proud displays of strength and even force of will. We appreciate creativity while socially scorn those who challenge the comforts of conformity. We search for who we are, trying on different hats while coming back to our essence in evolutions of new grades of our tried and true personalities. It sometimes becomes a personal game of “who are we?” versus “who are we really?”, where our security of self within the world and those we have in our lives shapes how much of these differences become apparent and revealed. The awareness of sophistication of our being, even in the most outwardly conformist of individuals, is our assurance of our identities as ours.
That is the evolution of our culture at work. It is something that couture cannot compete with or conquer for now. It is a vehicle for marketing that upholds status rather than the financial mainstay of a designer label. Few designer houses can enter this costly realm, and doing so is more an investment in image that how it used to be before. The grand sweeping skirts and ballroom silhouettes are a vestige of a bygone era that romanticizes fashion. It is one that, unfortunately, also cannot remain as we enter a new century. For couture to remain viable, it has to also move with the times.
And so the shock factor was not in cuts or shapes per se. It was the modernization and embrace of the new couture client represented in the utilitarian and functional aspect of its product. Of course there will always be a place for gowns that sparkle and shine; romance isn’t dead. It’s just that the couture client is no longer a woman who has nothing better to do than waste away lounging at parties with languid ease. The couture client is increasingly one who has come from a more functional upbringing enjoying the standard of living our economic divide allows. The client is out and about and mingles with the world, and her wardrobe must be able to function as well as compete with the higher-end pret-a-porter items that help her carry through the day. The couture client shops everywhere, and the couture business recognizes the democratic environment has those who may not have been traditional denizens of the exclusive world but can afford to indulge in the exclusivity. The world is open now to those who aspire and, to survive, couture has learned to adapt by accommodating rather than ostracizing those who normally aren’t a full-time resident of that world.
Designers that once created the mystique are now being asked to update and revolutionize this line to meet the needs of the modern woman. To continue its survival requires concessions of relevance as a compromise. Thus couture is moving away for the traditional, and appealing to the newer generation.
Alexandre Vaulthier , Atelier Versace and Giambattista Valli aimed squarely for youth with short hemlines . Maison Martin Margiela and Vionnet aimed for modern expressions in their evening wear that elevated the minimal architecture prevalent in most collections today with a foundation of exclusive materials balanced with modern simplicity. In fact, Vionnet knew what it was doing by bringing in Hussein Chalayan to design the couture collection as his vision is forward thinning, leaving the classical behind to lead their clientele into 21st century relevance. Armani Prive, Bouchra Jarrar, Chanel, Christian Dior, Schiaparelli and Viktor & Rolf all had collections that were more in line with the utilitarian aspects of pre-a-porter that provided function. Above all, these were modern and wearable, and although one could see by materials and fit that would denote the wearer’s affluence, the cuts and silhouettes allow the person to at least connect with the greater population via common trend associations that transcend along various classes of collections. The couture client is allowed to upgrade towards relevance within a luxury framework.
That trainers were included in a Chanel couture presentation was no accident; Karl Lagerfeld made a measured statement that not only nods to the 80s influence in fashion that continues to linger but also has made a declaration of what kind of woman the couture client is shaping to be for this century. She binds her self-control in corsetry that Chanel herself once rejected, and yet has clothes that still allow for active movement, her footwear confirming this status. And seeing Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy collaborate with Nike on releasing a collection of luxury trainers recently further emphasizes which territory luxury’s creative are aiming to claim.
Looking at these collections that denote simplicity, streamlined design approaches and utilitarian aspects all suggest that the new 21st century woman will not be bound by luxury to function. Rather, her choice will be in the details that come with experience and familiarity of the world she is from. And as much as the Gibson Girl hinted at the eventual sportswear that would come to hallmark our transition out of restrictive and impractical clothing of the 19th century, these collections are hinting of the changes we are making towards who the 21st century woman will be. These coming years lay the foundation for whoever reaches of age to make inroads and take us to through the next century. These collections will be that key person or persons’ influence, and so what we see this season that is a departure from the norm is perhaps more important than one might initially have thought. That realization is worth kicking around when contemplating fashion’s future.
Some of the larger aspects, such as the structured textiles, represent general sentiments shared internationally. Here, these more general moods represented provide the foundations that transcend borders the way that a drop waist or a flared skirt becomes a hallmark of the decade rather than a marker of a more targeted cultural source point, such as a Fair Isle sweater that reflects the values from Scotland.
But as our world‘s more recognizable designers cater to an international market, they have the blend of influences that cover the various levels of influence. When looking at trends, the room for variation within foundation constraints allows for several aspects at play. This blog serves to illustrate the many points of view as a result.
This blog itself is representative of the mindset of a segment of the population that seeks deeper answers from what is around them. The anthropological examination has caught on in fashion as we become aware of the passing of time as we get settled into a new century as differences between centuries becomes more readily apparent as our technology creates a world that less and less resembles the world we once knew even a mere decade before.
Fashion psychology is also gaining popularity as we seek meaning behind the mundane things we have around us. We seek meaning in our expressions, both from the obvious and overt to the more subconscious origins that require further contemplation. As we now have broad awareness of things around us, we turn inward, looking to understand better who we are and how it connects with and influences the world around us.
Somewhere in the 1920s our last century ushered in the Surrealists who looked at the unchained mind to resolve the unconscious with the conscious. It blended art with the political, and gave rise to this internal examination that we were willing to undertake. In the face of changes in the face of technological leaps back then, the world also sought to understand itself to cope with change.
Art reflected this, illustrating distortion and merging of incongruences that our mind in dream state allowed without restriction. The absurd was allowed to be, to allow our mind to grow. Now, we face a similar condition where the understanding of our world requires us to allow distortion of convention so we may be able to see things in a new light. Many of the collections are playing with proportion play and asymmetry, celebrating the unconventional as we explore a new way to be, similar to when asymmetry was well embraced in the 80s during our first major international awareness as technology awakened our minds to the happenings of the world at large and technology started to zoom forward.
There were other aspects that honored a Surrealist bent. Some collections, such as from Creatures of the Wind, Kenzo, MQ by McQueen, Nina Ricci, and Opening Ceremony had a few items with patterns twisted, blurred, melted and distorted. Others, such as Christian Dior, had a few images honoring the absurdist aspect of Surrealism itself. Stella McCartney’s had a few drawn images that reminded of Jean Cocteau’s automatic drawings, while collections from Osman and Tsumori Chisato chose to incorporate trompe l’oeil into their designs a la Schiaparelli (known for her collaborations with Surrealist Salvadore Dali).
The distortion may be as reactionary as it is provocative. It serves to remind us that we our unsettled in our mind as we long to make sense of it all. We live in a very complicated world with more changes coming at a faster pace than mankind has ever experienced. We may be moving along seemingly accepting and calm on the surface, but our subconscious tells a different tale. As control and conformity are valued and as we decry our isolation in spite of being connected, we may need to look within on many levels to help us get ready. Eventually, if we want to be healthy, we need to have dialogue. Thinking about what to talk about is a good first step and maybe letting in a little disturbance to look at might get us to start.
The energy of the marriage of fashion and technology promises to gain momentum, as smart technology is further integrated into what we wear and technology becomes a natural extension of ourselves. The exploration of brain interfaces integrated with hats and wigs, gloves allowing smart phone use (or even becoming a phone itself), and augmented reality in our eyewear even connecting to our social media are samples of the symbiotic relationships between our tech and our world customizing the experience to meet our personal needs.
Meanwhile, we reach into space. Plans for Mars missions, including one involving crowdfunding, compete with media attention for existing accomplishments such as interplanetary probes and continuous Hubble discoveries made easily accessible online. The Chinese reinvigorate interest in the moon by landing a probe and NASA decides it want to land on an asteroid while discussions for mining take on a level of seriousness that would have seemed mere science fiction years ago.
Not since the 60s have we been so excited by science & space and its integration into our lives and our future. It is true that some designers, such as Chanel in 2012, had their eye on the outer reaches with their collection taking place as if in a shuttle craft flying over Earth while during the same period independents such as New York’s Shadowplay NYC featured Hubble photos on custom separates. The obsession with space continues, such as in the couture level silk scarves featuring images of the cosmos made more recently by slowfactory and by the fashion-forward collection created by Opening Ceremony for the soon-to-be-released Spike Jonze sci-fi film “Her”, some of which hints knowing inspiration from Star Trek uniforms. Naturally some designers incorporated the cleaner, streamlined 90s aesthetic with the innocent, youthful elements of the early 60s into their collections, such as those by Alice + Olivia, Dsquared, Fendi, Honor, M Missoni, Mulberry, Rachel Zoe, and Tory Burch.
As we teeter through the year amidst conflicting economics such as deflation, retail closures and murmurs of cross-class spending restraint versus reports of record online spending and net startup and crowdfunding successes, fashion will provide the distraction the public needs as it captures the excitement and anticipatory optimism that the future always promises when innovation gets center stage. This, as we inch closer towards the end of the decade and ramp up for the true start of the century, will only fuel further speculation on what the future may look like, something covered many times before in this blog. The true influencers have yet to reach the age of impact at the level of fashion line creation, but already the stage is being set and the wow factor that gives us the message of cultural direction may be out of this world beyond what is being hinted now, especially given the exponential growth of our tech.
Certainly designers will pull out all stops, bringing their game. By September we will see the creativity compete for attention with tech on runways and on red carpets, the heights reflecting the precipice our certainty rests. Does this mean everyone is on board for a rosy future? Not necessarily when looking at some collection inspiration, but that’s a different factor that also has been hinted at before in prior collections and that will have to wait until next time.
Work/life balance should be taken quite seriously, especially around the holidays. I hope you can understand the adherence to this value as I advise normal programming will resume next week. In the mean time, if you are looking for something to read, you may like the contribution I made for a dear friend's blogging site.
Selena Marie Norris and I started our friendship while initiating the petition to have the New York Metropolitan Museum's McQueen Exhibit to globally travel. We were flattered to see our efforts emulated via a competing petition from a larger, more established online publication and took pride that we made an impact with our efforts to increase dialogue on the subject, garnering some media attention in the process. Since then, we have been great friends. She started a blog called "Kindred Closets" and this installment features my contribution with visuals combined via Polyvore (it's like Pinterest but you can collage items):
May you have a wonderful New Year's Eve, an even more wonderful New Year's Day, and a spectacularly joyous 2014 that sees your dreams realized with ease, your hopes met with aplomb and your ambitions rewarded handsomely with generosity and immediacy.