by LUIGI TORRE
Salvador Dalí – Leda Atomica (1949)
|At this time of year I tend to have eternal mental yawns whenever I read or hear the world retrospective. There is such a lack of news as the whole world goes on holidays that the amount top-any-number of things keeps on popping as a way to fulfill the empty space on magazines and websites. Nevertheless, as a fashion writer for another Brazilian publication, there was I a couple of weeks ago squeezing my brains out to remember any relevant fashion statement of 2011. But this time, despite the exhausting work of revising every single month of the year, there were actually something interesting and worth noting.As I rewind back to January there wasn’t any specific collection, trend or design that the popped right up to my mind as one of this year’s touchstone.There was the Galliano scandal after almost a year of Alexander McQueen’s death; the absence and then dismissal of Christophe Decarin from Balmain due to a nervous break down; the world commotion around of the Royal wedding, with a following fashion epidemic of the ladylike style; the huge success of Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen’s Met exhibition; the ever growing importance of China and Asia not only in wholesale but also in IPO; some unexpected appointments at established fashion houses (Nicole Formichetti at Mugler and retail innovators of Opening Ceremony Carol Lim and Humberto Leon at Kenzo); and some more acquisitions (PPR buying Brioni and LVMH buying Bulgari for instance). To make it short, in 2011 the most relevant fashion facts didn’t’ come from the runway, as a matter of fact, they had very little to do with it.
Of course there were good collections presented through the year. There were also some remarkable clothes and designs, but none of them had that much relevance or importance. They were just some standouts in the middle of the vast overload of recycled trends, clothes and information that keeps blurring our vision of what really matters. None of that also had any deep connection, relation with our lives, nor did it affect the way we live and relate to our clothes.
It is already known that fashion has not really changed that much since the late 90’s _ and maybe as a consequence of the intense technological and media revolution we’ve been experiencing since then. With such constant changes, it isn’t really that bad that our wardrobe can offer us some stability and constancy, is it? Well, perhaps now it its. At first it kind of made sense that the way we dress and see ourselves kept almost in a solid aesthetic, but maybe we are starting to feel a little too safe now. Thus the ever growing feeling that fashion isn’t following the fast paced evolution of our lives. The feeling that fashion is stuck in recycling the past.
A couple of months ago I wrote a short article for that same Brazilian publication about a research that indicated that the height of heels have surprisingly gone down since the financial crisis erupted in late 2008 _and, as history goes, heels usually gets higher in tough economic times. I asked then if fashion as we know it was actually loosing its ability to reflect social moods and aspirations or even loosing some of its connection with social events. Maybe due to the high influence of businessmen in the industry, or simply because it stayed attached to past. Now, just a few weeks before the holidays, Brazilian designer Ronaldo Fraga caused quite a stir in the local industry here by announcing that he would skip the upcoming São Paulo Fashion Week. The reason for all the commotion was his statement: fashion is dead _at least in the way he knew it and in the way we all keep promoting it and interpreting it. And perhaps that’s it. That’s the problem.
The whole world has gone through some deep and intense changes. The way we see, interpret and understand everything has completely been altered (or evolved), but the way we keep presenting, doing, thinking, or better, the way the whole fashion system operates, has remained almost untouched.
The solution? If I knew it I would be far from here and with a much wealthier bank account. But as the year comes to an end, this might be a good way of starting thinking about fashion in 2012. After all, who really think the world is gonna end?