Monday, August 6, 2012
Jet Beads in the Rinse Cycle - Couture Fall 2012 Report 1
You know the fashion system is a bizarre one. A designer is lauded for using his or her creative wiles to creative beautiful clothing that inspires and reels everyone in. Everyone being editors, merchandisers, the public and their designing peers alike. Then they often get thrown into the rinse cycle. Why do I say the rinse cycle? Well mainly due to the fact that what doesn't come out in the wash comes out in the rinse. Fashion, after all, is still a business. So as pretty and lauded as one's creative ideas may be, it has to generate revenue. That's always been the trick with designing. Timing and getting the equation between choice of design, color, nuance of cut, price point and silhouette just right so that someone will either run to the store or do a double-take in-store that will inevitably be figure, wallet and fantasy friendly.
So during this rinse cycle is where much of the creativity gets tweaked. What a potential customer won't wear, what color won't sell, what hem length won't fly, what color is wrong for what season, what fabric isn't inexpensive enough or what can't be made cost effectively. This is usually where a beautiful bias cut hand beaded skirt and matching cropped blazer becomes a sequined a line skirt with a blouse that has a sparsely beaded sash. The trick to designing well is to get the tweaking to decrease and decrease from start point to end point where the result differs very little from the first idea. Is that realistic? Is that plausible? Thank God for couture. For in the realm of couture there has always existed a forward creativity to do anything at whatever cost and the ladies who can afford it will fall in love not with the bottom line, but with the sheer artistry that goes into vision, expression and craft.
When there are little restraints, creativity soars. Also, after a while, a thinking and seasoned designer realizes the joy in allowing the artistry to take center stage over the commerical but still making the garment fit and feel like it was made with the idea of the comfortable fit of commerciality. In the spirit of couture, for Fall 2012, designers certainly showcased their talents at dressmaking and tailoring. The fluid and the frilly dresses at Alexis Mabille and Giambattista Valli were beautiful show-stopping masterpieces. The vaporously light and fiery gowns at Versace would have made Gianni squeal with delight while at Elie Saab, the tonal variety of beading on gossamer thin sheers were detailed works of wearable art. There were strong modern cultural references masked in the form of grandiose proportions and ornate beading at Givenchy. Panoramic prints took center stage beautifully at Armani Privé and Chanel while the aerodynamic met the beauty of corsetry in quite the sexily harmonious manner at Gaultier. Modernity nods went to Bouchra Jarrar with wonderfully tailored cropped trenches and languid draping and to Raf Simons at Dior with making the thickest textured fabrics like swakara and double-faced wools graze the body effortlessly in wonderful proportions like a second skin.
While the couturiers may have vastly dwindled over the years, they are still representative of some of the most creative inspirational fashions out of the most exquisite fabrics and materials that you will ever find. The relevancy still remains a level of artistry and example of a perfected tradition for current and future dressmakers, designers, artisans and customers alike to be inspired by and aspire to reach so that fit and quality don't fall by the wayside in these days of quick fix disposable fashion. While the prices border on outrageous and leave some feeling that the art-form is disconnected from realistic spending and dressing, I implore upon you to discover and appreciate the creativity and the handiwork of making the epitome of quality garments. No fabric softener needed!
*All Photos Courtesy of Style.com