These days my life has lead me to assume various different identities, depending on where I am every time or what I do and I have to admit I am a bit confused by that; I have kind of lost my sense of belonging.
Today, for instance, I found myself surrounded by a bunch of models (like 70) and besides feeling a bit short, a bit podgy and a bit …hmmm … let’s say not beautiful enough, I had the chance to think about the fashion world. To begin with, I noticed that not all models necessarily have style off the runway, just because they are in the fashion business. It’s kind of an obvious statement, but when I actually saw it, it created a wave of thoughts. What is fashion? Is it just the seasonal trends? How much of personal style depends on how much money somebody has? Is love for style just a superficial thing?
And then I come home and stumble upon Daphne Guinness’s interview for Interview Magazine (http://www.interviewmagazine.com/fashion/daphne-guinness#_). Mrs Guinness is sort of a controversial personality; and I say “sort of” because I don’t want to give more importance to the controversy than it actually deserves. Apart from being extremely rich, she comes across as a sensitive and well-read person who lives her life trying to hide from the big harsh world behind beautiful clothes. So Daphne said during her interview, and I quote, that, “Fashion is not just about trends. It’s about political history. You can trace it from the ancient Romans to probably until the ’80s, and you can see defining moments that were due either to revolutions or changes in politics. At the end of the Roman era, there was this whole move against togas, because that was the signifier of the Roman Empire. In the same way, the ’60s were a reaction against the ’50s and so on. But now we’ve been feeding on a sort of cadaver. At the moment, we’re just endlessly recycling the past.” And then she went on to say, “There hasn’t been anything real since grunge. That was the last movement led by music or an art form.”
And I started identifying with her words just then. Because for me, fashion is a statement but not just a statement of beauty or harmony (that often comes from matching the unmatchable). It is a statement of emotion, be it anger, frustration, serenity etc. And all emotions ARE personal but also communal. People who form a society have common feelings and those are expressed through clothes as well. And then came the question: do designers believe they make fashion or they communicate with society through their creations? Do they choose a fabric to express something with it or they choose one over another that is difficult to get, or more expensive, or their country is at war with the country that makes it. I agree with D.G. on the cadaver bit. It feels that everything has been done many times before and although I keep seeing beautiful clothes I don’t see something I can truly identify with. Something that expresses the frustration of today’s society or the confusion of the young adults. Maybe that’s why the clothes I am wearing the most these days are my gym clothes. Battle gear!
I suppose anyone with Daphne’s money, friends in fashion and some eye for style would be able to put together extraordinary outfits. But is there a way to express through clothes with little money? If her comments on grunge are true (which I believe they are ) then a sense of style can be developed without spending a fortune . But will the fashion world deal with this in a snobbish way as they did with grunge? Till we figure that out we can admire Daphne’s expressive fashion…