I’m not one of the people who dismisses all fashion as irrelevant. I don’t think it is.
I mean, there’s clearly a lot of interesting stuff that could be said about fashion from a sociological point of view. And fashion, at least high fashion, is often about experimentation with shape, proportion, colour, pattern. It’s the playing with shape, colour and pattern I enjoy most when crafting or making things for myself. And fashion is an industry. I absolutely adore understanding how industries work. I don’t know why: I like having an overview, I guess. You could talk to me for hours about the beer industry, for example, and I’d still be fascinated (I hate the taste of beer).
I used to subscribe to some of the myths about the fashion industry. For instance, that gay male designers make clothes only suitable for skinny boys to wear, clothes that are totally unwearable for real women. But then I thought again. There was a time when I was much younger, skinner and went out more. I could fit, and have fun wearing, a lot of those “unwearable” “impractical” clothes. At the time, I didn’t want to wear the latest fashions, but I could have. It’s perfectly reasonable for designers to make clothes for people like I once was. True, I’ve always been rather curvy. Genetics, I presume. But not everyone is like me, and why shouldn’t designers make clothes that look good on people other than me?
I’m not saying there isn’t a grain of truth in criticisms of the fashion industry. There definitely is. Particularly the intersection of the fashion, magazine and adverting industries. I’m not denying that. But I’m training myself not to reflexively greet the newest fashion with: “Ugh, that’s totally stupid and unwearable!” I try to think over my initial responses, without ignoring them completely.
So this is by way of introducing a series. On Wednesdays, I’d like to review my favourite bits of recent big fashion weeks (NY, London, Milan and Paris). You might have seen the clothes before, but I hope to add my own twist in the commentary. And I don’t think those fashion weeks are irrelevant, even to us far away in Australia. A few months ago, the shops in the city all had dresses similar to those in the Mad Men inspired Prada Autumn/Winter show. (Yes, funny how her Autumn/Winter designs got used for Spring). And there are so many clogs in the shops now, like Lagerfeld designed for Chanel in Spring last year. Actually, I like clogs and hope to buy myself a pair soon (but not Chanel ones, obviously!)