Smoke & Mirrors

Skinny mirrors, widening mirrors, fun house mirrors, vanity mirrors, rear view mirrors, compact mirrors!  Ever passed by your reflected image on the street and nearly had a coronary?  No matter what the mirror does to us it can't alter what's really there.  And let's not even talk about the aspect of lighting.  Fluorescent, halogen, daylight, strobe light!  "Those powder grey corduroys looked like they went with my puffy vest in the light above my bedroom mirror but in the reflection of this store front window, I look as though I had a lot on my mind while dressing this morning"!  Getting the combination right can be quite an undertaking.  I, for one, advocate a full length mirror with natural daylight but realize that sometimes dressing before the sun comes up in an 18 inch square mirror might be the more common inner city ritual.  

Now crack that mirror, neigh shatter it, in that seismically radiating almost web-like way.  It doesn't matter what the light is now.  At this point the fragmented pieces of glass are taking on so many positions of non-uniformity that a bevy of tones and values are expressed.  Literally your image is chopped up and distorted.  However, figuratively, some artists treat this metamorphosis in the way of the wabi sabi, as in finding the beauty of the disharmony of the broken glass.  Other artists, choose to focus on the fractured visual image reflected back but shine the brighter light on the brokenness inside the individual behind the glass.  

Glass, the figurative shattering of the surface and a little of the soul bared was on my mind as I watched the BCBG Spring Summer 2012 collection presented by Max Azria.  Have you ever watched the bizarre uniformity and story of stained glass but looked close enough to see the disconnected fractured elements of its skewed lines with the beautiful outcome?  This collection by Mr. Azria was a continuation of a strong ethereal meets the graphically draped and patterned story that BCBG has been telling for the past few seasons.  What stands out and continues the prologue in a strong way this season was the melange of lines with abstract seaming and fresh color that called to mind a balance of sensuality with vulnerability in giving just a bit of a natural feminine essence.  Similar to the riotous control of shattered glass were the vertical, horizontal and asymmetrical convergence of lines that sang a song and bared the soul just a bit while the color-blocking seemingly mocked the many different and distinct ways in which a woman can attach her persona of color to the cordoned fragments.  

The collection was flirty, modern and feminine with the shapes giving a streamlined air of strength to the models.  The prints and embellishments were evocative of the twinkling of the city's night skyline, champagne bubbling in a flute and the characteristic strikes of color during  Art Deco and forms like the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.  What Mr. Azria has excelled at doing with this collection is further combining the world of 'sellable' mid-designer retail with the look of high designer fashion in a cohesive artistic way.  Shattered or whole, daylight or neon light, reflective pool or driver's side mirror, objects in fashion can clearly be more than they appear.

*Special thanks for the photos courtesy of

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