You’ve GOT to be kidding me or Why is this fashion?

In case you didn’t get the email blast from Karl, the Haute Couture Spring 2013 Collections were just shown in Paris.  What?  YOU DIDN’T KNOW THAT?  How could you not KNOW that?  What kind of fashion person ARE you?  What are you going to talk to Karl about when you have your meeting with him about the $40,000 dress you’re going to buy?  You’re VERY unprepared.  I guess you’re going to have to shop at H & M or something.  I’m very disappointed.  Well, I don’t know what YOU’RE going to do but I’m thinking about purchasing this one from Maison Martin Margiela:

SHUT UP! WHAT?  You have a problem with this?  You’d never wear it?  It looks weird?  You think that it’s a joke the fashion world is playing on me?  Well,  you’re probably not going to like it, but I’m going to defend these shenanigans.  I’m here to tell you why I’m buying this and why it I’m not cray-cray. I’m also here to listen to you snort a lot.

  • Question: If you had the most talented, experienced people, and technical virtuosity at your disposal, what would you do?  If there was someone on your staff who developed a special technique,  wouldn’t you let them shine? If your craft was supported by the government and people were watching you season after season, would you dare send a pair of pants down the runway that has been made before?  I don’t imagine you would.  I know the garments are weird and ridiculously expensive and wouldn’t look good on anybody really but but I like to be inspired and see people push the envelope.  These people are as serious about lace and embroidery, color and fit as you are about summary judgements and syllabi and spreadsheets.
  • In haute couture, they also have a responsibility to honor the brand and history of the house.  Margiela is known for avant-garde, high fashion.  While, the house’s namesake is no longer with the house, this team of designers are the fresh, yet anonymous, force in fashion today.  They also, gratefully, look to the future in terms of textiles and processes.  They even have a cool website.
  • There’a reason why Banana Reblah-blah-blah doesn’t have a fashion show.  It would be boring.  Basically, these folks are showing off.  It’s a fashion show for crying out loud.  They’d be disappointed if they didn’t ruffle a few, hand-dyed, organically raised ostrich feathers.
  • Maybe they ARE f***ing with you.  It’s possible.  Believe it or not, haute couture can have a sense of humor.  They need impart some humor after the stress of doing this brings. You haven’t seen anything if you haven’t seen Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti fighting over hemlines in Valentino: The Last Emperor.
  • It’s a composition.  It’s important to remember that the look is part of a whole collection.  It’s a rhythm and there’s a purpose if you see the collection as a whole.
  • The inspiration and theme is a huge part that dictates what you see.  In this case, the collection had an eco-trend to it which is very unique for couture.  They repurposed beaded dresses and used denim which was also probably a first.  And you can bet they still had exquisite craftsmanship.
  • Finally, the parts are bought.  Not necessarily the whole thing.  And you’re probably not the one buying them.  Only about 100 women in the world have the luxury to set an appointment with the atelier, rummage amongst the actual garments they saw in the show, pick what garments they fancy, and have a discussion with Karl and the Directoire about how to make it a little more wearable and get it made especially for them.  They aren’t looking for practicality like we are.  They’re dressing for events, personal interest, for fun, for each other. They’re the designers’ muses.  They don’t shop like you and me:

If you’re hankering for another fashion documentary, there’s a great one from the BBC called “The Secret World of Haute Couture.”  If you can find it, (you can watch youtube clips or I found it through a good old interlibrary loan) you’ll get to see who the club members are and hear their filthy rich stories.  It’s likely still leave it snorting but it might do a better job at putting the pieces together than I did.

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