Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Editorial: Fatigue Hits Fashion Week


Marc Jacobs
(All photos Style.com)

While this fashion week was exciting, and well-attended, the dominant players showed a lot of the same themes and designs, disappointing the press and public alike. Even Marc Jacobs, who usually stirs things up, debuted a camouflage collection which covered little new ground. The key trendsetters such as Jacobs, Schouler, Wu, Lim, Wang and Altuzarra stuck to their usual attire with little innovation. The sheer, floral, camouflage, black & white and fancy sportswear trends have been repeated tirelessly over the past couple of years. It is baffling that despite all the new technology and innovation in fashion, designers are choosing to stay routed in tradition - and in essence boredom. This field which should epitomize creativity and innovation has become mired in static and inertia. Lady Gaga's masks and plastic coverings have been replaced with sheer, boob-showing garments, with the net effect being a reversion to an objectification of the female anatomy without the fashion breakthroughs the public anxiously awaits.

Jason Wu

After viewing more than 30 shows in person, and reviewing others on-line, my overall impression was: so what? Moreover, some of the displays were downright morose; Jacob's collection which featured army like attire with angry looking models was an ode to military upheaval if I ever saw one. Have the global crises in Russia, Syria and Iraq influenced the dismal state of fashion this season, or have designers run out of new ideas reverting back to the status quo? It is hard to tell, but a cursory review of the spring 2015 shows indicates that fashion is in a state of purgatory and needs a rapid rejuvenation.

Ralph Lauren

Paradigmatic of this depressing shift, was the Jason Wu show which opened fashion week with a huge yawn. Wu who can usually be relied upon to wow us with brilliant fabrics and lush colors, opted for fatigue green, white, black and navy. Gone were the ruby reds and wondrous whites of his prior collections- despite this being a spring display. The last two gowns in red and black exhibited plenty of skin but very little design and beauty. The models appeared dour and inconvenienced and even Wu closed with a frown. Similarly, Ralph Lauren who usually astonishes with his lush, classic collection showed dresses, pants, skirts and gowns in mossgreen, conjuring up the battlefields of Normandy. It is difficult to comprehend why he dragged people to Central Park to view this drab, predictable collection.

Altuzarra

Plaudits to Altuzarra for experimenting with gingham dresses and floral gowns, and to Gurung for his asymmetrically draped sweaters and mountain climber aesthetics; however, these looks were not as fashion forward as past collections. Alexander Wang who began his show with the ubiquitous black and white combo and then progressed to neon lime, electric blue and light grey was edgy and cool. Wang has the sportswear acting as both daywear and evening wear look down to a science. However, this is old news; Adidas becoming high end couture is so last year Chanel's runway.

3.1 Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim's robe-tied tops and tunics in drab colors reminded me of the old "Karate Kid" apparel and should be saved for an afternoon of lounging at the Canyon Ranch spa, and not for a formal affair. The models in the Lim show had their hair pulled back with little makeup, a frequent trend on the runway this season and one which makes me long for the big hair and glamour of an 80's Versace show. Where has splendor and embellishment gone? Thank the fashion gods for some great evening wear collections by Naeem Khan, Marchesa and Dennis Basso who make excess accessible to those who can afford it. However, even Oscar de la Renta showed a tame- I have been there one thousand times before collection, using the omnipresent Karlie Kloss to close his show in a floral mint green dress. This is almost as predictable as Oscar's George Hamilton tan.

Marchesa

The conclusion of fashion week at the Park Avenue Armory, a fitting venue, had Marc Jacobs presenting bare faced models in military garb and black wigs. This show summarized the collections of the past week- gloomy in appearance and short on fashion milestones. The headline story at the Jacobs show was the headphones distributed to those deemed worthy, with little attention heeded to the garments. Gimmicks that add excitement to the apparel should be embraced; however, when they are extrinsic to the clothing, they become unnecessary distractions. What happened to the days when Jacobs sent the press into a tizzy with his "grunge collection"? The dearth of talked about shows this season is surprising when taking into account the rebounding economy and flourishing fashion houses. Have designers come down with "fashion fatigue syndrome"? With the advent of laser technology and 3D printing it seems that a whole new wave of fashion innovation is on the horizon.

 Perhaps, when there is a change in our military fortunes, levity will enter the fashion lexicon, and designers will surprise in unprecedented ways?






- Lieba Nesis







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