The subject of feminism and fashion, with all its complicated associations, has been percolating along for a season now – ever since Rick Owens’ step dancer show for spring/summer — and for anyone who though it was just a trendy thing, a group of occurrences this week ought to put that idea to rest. If anything, the commitment is being upped.
Given the obsessive attention routinely paid to what Michelle Obama or Samantha Cameron wears, it struck me that when Michelle Bachelet was sworn in as president of Chile this month, no one mentioned what she wore: a long navy jacket and matching skirt with a red, white and blue presidential sash.
Even more notably, in a photo taken that day, Bachelet was sandwiched between Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, who was wearing a black straight skirt and a black and white plaid collarless jacket with black lace appliqué, and Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in a white lace dress under a white car coat with white open-toe platform pumps. And no one said anything about them either.
L’Wren Scott, the celebrated American fashion designer, has been found dead in New York after committing suicide, police sources confirmed on Monday.
The 49-year old launched her haute namesake brand – renowned for its understated, womanly elegance – in 2006, after earlier forays into the industry first as a teenage model then later as a highly sought after Hollywood stylist. Her glamorous, alpha woman designs had most recently found a home on the London Fashion Week calendar, orbited by her make-up, fragrance and accessories partnerships with some of the biggest names in fashion.
During the penultimate day of the Paris ready-to-wear collections, just before the Alexander McQueen show, was an event that, given the circumstances, might strike many as odd.
And now the LVMH young designer prize finalists are out! It’s been a big week for prize announcements, what with the CFDA and now this. In fact, it’s kind of instructive to look at the two together, because it underscores how global fashion has become – and the problems that arise when you try to think of it in the national context. Think how much more fun it would be if everyone could be considered for “womenswear designer of the year” or “accessory designer of the year.” Now that would be really interesting!
Regular readers of this blog will know that I like to top off my fashion month with a visit to the Alaia atelier to see what the designer is doing and experience the fashion equivalent of a cleanse: Mr Alaia, after all, works exactly as he wants, shrugging off the demands of seasons and showing and trends. Ayn Rand would have loved him.
Not the Bridget Jones variety – rather, the wide-legged, generously slouchy, swish-as-you walk kind. Blame it on the overarching trend of the season: a return to comfort dressing – or a simple fashion reaction to the past few seasons of skin-tight rocker trousers. Either way, for autumn/winter the trousers on the catwalk are, finally, almost entirely on the upped-side. This is good news physically (they can hide a multitude of issues) and emotionally too; they have the comfort factor of a good pair of sweatpants. Whether in double-faced cashmere or malleable leather, they can go from office to sofa with just a change of top. Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy would approve.
And so couture comes to an end. I could tell you it was all about lightening up, or the new names on the schedule, or the rise of the couture trainer (meaning odds are the coming ready to wear season will be full of comfy rubber-soled shoes of whatever variety), but I’ll leave that for Saturday’s review.
Truth is, what struck me most about this season was the off-piste rise of the new runway game: “Which is the Oscar dress?”
See a conjunction of the evolving red carpet economy and timing means that today couture may well generate more Oscar dresses than any other season. And it is changing what’s on the runway.
So, after all the breathless waiting for Diego Della Valle to name a designer to the house of Schiaparelli, after Christian Lacroix’s guest stint at the last couture, after the newly decorated Schiaparelli atelier on Place Vendome was unveiled and Farida was introduced as the house’s ambassador – after all that build-up, how was Marco Zanini‘s debut as the official designer of the House of Schiaparelli, not to mention his debut as a couturier, not to mention Schiaparelli’s first couture show since 1954?
Not so shocking.
To change an image, first you destroy it. Only then can you rebuild: this is the lesson of fashion, and it is the lesson of Miley Cyrus. Who ever thought those two words would reside in the same sentence? My guess is Cyrus herself or her handlers. I think they figured this out long ago.