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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wonderment at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

I couldn't help but be struck again by the creativity of the designers at New York's Fashion Week which just ended. But I was also perplexed by questions some of the outfits raised, proving once again that avant grade fashion is like modern art -- it's supposed to make you think:

A couple of Nicole Miller's designs for women featured peacock feathers. But in nature, it's the peacocks -- and not the peahens -- which sport such bright plumage. (Peahens tend to be dull brown.) Does this not then constitute a form of cross-dressing? And why is it that humans so consistently do the opposite of the animal kingdom, and encourage the female of the species to dress in bright colors, and the male to wear darker colors?

It is often said that clothes make a statement, but what is this outfit by Lee Jean Youn saying? That the widow has been driven crazy by grief?

People generally wear hats for one of two reasons: to keep their heads warm, or to protect themselves from the sun. Which of those purposes does this headwear by Lee Jean Youn serve?

The jacket and skirt by Hache are each nice enough in their own way, but under what weather conditions would the winter parka-with-miniskirt-combo be appropriate? And what is it about that utterly impractical combination that makes it seem so right for a fashion show? (The answer to the first question must be, the weather on a catwalk.)

What exactly is it about this outfit by Charlotte Ronson that evokes S&M? Is it the leather pants, the crossed suspenders, the sheer top, the severe hairstyle, or the model's zombie-like expression?

What exactly is this design by Nicholas K opposed to signify? What is that thing around the model's right wrist? Why am I put in mind of The Gimp from Pulp Fiction? Is Nicholas K too embarrassed to use his full last name?

Is the Jay Godfrey model on the left channeling Michael Jackson? Am I the only person who thinks the sitting model looks like a drug addict? Is she sitting because she's too weak to stand? If I found her attractive, would that make me a pervert?

Did designers Mark and Estel steal that rubber chest plate from the set of a Batman movie? Given the nature of the breastplate and the model's short hair, was this outfit supposed to strike a blow for transgender rights? How does a beautiful woman who's probably not transgender herself feel about being a symbol for the movement?

I've only seen that collar in paintings from the Elizabethan era and on playing cards. Which one is Ruffian trying to evoke? (This outfit is actually weirdly attractive, as opposed to the other outfits shown here, most of which are merely weirdly weird.)

In my day Lacoste was known for their preppy alligator polo shirts. Does the fact that they are now featuring cat burglar outfits mean that they have fallen upon hard times?

This Son Jung Wan outfit is quite striking, but it's hard to tell whom it's for. Would this be worn by a rich playboy, a bellhop at an expensive hotel, a doorman at an exclusive nightclub, a gay gigolo, or an extra in The Nutcracker Suite?


Spychiatrist said...

I can't figure the fashion industry out really. What a bizzaro world of weirdness and who knows what?

Women in fashion used to be curvy and sexy. These Cocaine Katy's aren't a turn on at all. Remember back in the 70's and 80's when women had meat on their bones and were sexy? Raquel Welch. Cindy Crawford.

Look at these skinny waifs.....a good fart would blow them to bits!

John Craig said...

Spychiatrist --
I think I understand them: all the designers are trying to make a name for themselves and get noticed and they all figure the best way to do that is to do something new and original, but the problem is, there are only so many ways you can make a shirt and a pair of pants and a dress, so they keep coming up with weirder and weirder designs in an effort to be seen as "original," and they get sillier and sillier in the process.

As far as the models, I understand how you feel, though personally I tend to like slimmer women.

Anonymous said...

John, I was just mentioning to my wife a couple nights ago, coincidentally, who was a designer before we had kids that the runway models all have neutral or indifferent looks on their faces. No smiles, I was noticing. She then tells me that that is the way they are instructed as it's supposed to give a certain attitude of indifference, mystery, which i don't get. Along with that ridiculous pigeon toed swagger they look barely human. Almost depressed. But I guess that's cool and I'm a dinosaur. Hopeless. Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
I understand how a self-possessed woman can give off an appealing aura of mystery, but I don't think most runway models achieve it; they just look like beautiful zombies.

And as far as that walk with the exaggeratedly swaying hips, I think it's just one of those traditions which just sort of developed and then after a while nobody questioned.