NYFW: Safety in numbers

10/09/2014

3.1. Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015
There are times in my life when, no matter how interesting the actual subject is, my mind chooses to drift away in all kinds of direction. I let it, of course, because those moments are often the most enlightening and honest ones, the ones I don't want to control nor really have an ability to... 

New York fashion week was one of those... It was a kaleidoscope of emotions and metaphors, memories and realisations, which, once shared on paper, may not make me the most popular person in the blogosphere, but at least, allow me to be frank and true to my gut feeling.

And where do I even begin?

The streets, I suppose... "Fashion doesn't exist in dresses only... it's in the sky and in the street..." as Chanel said, though I am sure she had no idea of the role the street would take comes 21st century... Street style, street photographers, street this and street that... The mode plague. The pictures of people who do matter and those who have absolutely no impact on fashion and are only interested in the fashion week as a way to boost their own profile. It was distracting and unnecessary for, to me, fashion still is very much about what happens inside those tents and showrooms, on the catwalk and not the crowds showcasing numerous outfits comprised of Alexander Wang and Zara.

And then there were the shows, the first few days of them... I watched those religiously: live - whenever I could get to my PC and via the imagery - before I'd fall asleep. 

Most of the time following the fashion week was a bit like observing a hamster running inside its little wheel: the amount of energy the little creature was spending in the process was astonishing yet the effort would get it nowhere at the end. It seemed that a lot of the designers felt somewhat like that hamster, trapped inside the spinning wheels and getting exhausted under the insane amount of pressure to create and deliver. 

A few did, of course, but most of the time the new collections were oddly deja vu as if the old designs were thrown in a communal bin, then pulled out at random and remade from new fabrics. It was the game of swinging chairs, with the designers clearly "inspired" by the looks that made the most impact (and highest numbers in profits) over the last few seasons, "borrowed" those ideas in a manner of Zara and happily sent their creations down the runway. 

Safety in numbers or the need to meet the commercial aspect was so strong this time. More then ever it was obvious how the need to please the public and investors and make as much cash as possible, was clearly killing the creativity and the fantasy we love fashion for. And whilst each designer ensured that the customer will have plenty to wear comes spring 2015, very few (if any) introduced us to anything new, anything that would make the industry move forward (and yes, it does take a lot more than another surfing-inspired techno fabric to make the future bright and beautiful)...

The midriff-baring tops resembling Ghesquiere's Balenciaga cropped back into so many collections it was embarrassing... Often they brought the high wasted trousers, too, just to keep them company. Even Wang himself seemed to get carried away with those because his collection had a whiff of the Parisian house (including some of the Wang era, of course)... At least he did produce something to make the front row happy... 

Porsche Design's Thomas Steinbrueck turned to Japanese minimalism, but somewhat became sidetracked by the Jason Wu's Spring 2014 collection...

Jason Wu Spring/Summer 2014 vs Porsche Design Spring/Summer 2015

Victoria Beckham was even more creative with her fashion cocktail made of Marni, Celine, Calvin Klein and touch of Marc Jacobs - very clever and incredibly good looking as a result (Victoria does have an impeccable taste, after all), but honestly, slightly sour...

Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer 2015 vs Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2013
Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer 2015 vs Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2013

Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer 2015 vs Calvin Klein Fall/Winter 2014
Victoria Beckham Spring/Summer 2015 vs Calvin Klein Fall/Winter 2014

Christian Siriano and Zac Pozen sent out an identical number, a figure fitted off shoulder dress with a beautiful curved neckline - the only difference was in colour. Perhaps, great minds do think alike...

Christian Siriano Spring/Summer 2015 vs Zac Pozen Spring/Summer 2015
Christian Siriano Spring/Summer 2015 vs Zac Pozen Spring/Summer 2015

The bottom line for the girl who loves fashion to shop? Look inside your wardrobe first because whatever you bought last year will be worn for many seasons to come. It looks like the only thing that will be changing is the label inside - but nobody can see those anyway...

And message for the industry? Safety in numbers. Isn't it painfully clear that the clothes churning machine needs to slow down, reduce all those pre-falls and resorts and give the people who make it happen in the first place, the fashion designers, a moment to breathe? Nobody is going to die if we aren't presented with a mid-season collection or a show made of a couple of dozens and not 50 plus looks, but we may lose somebody rather special, too tired to withstand the pressure of it all. And who knows, the fewer shows will even result in something rather special to look forward to...

Photo source: 3.1. Phillip Lim Spring/Summer 2015 via style.com

8 comments:

  1. often the art of style does get lost in all the hype of runway shows. This is why I'm so partial to street style. Great post, amazing writing as always.
    XO, Gina
    http://classyeverafter.blogspot.com

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  2. So true Natalia, is what I was thinking this morning while I was checking out the new runways of the day. I was also sure to follow less the fw this year and instead I did as usual. I think less is more even on the fashion shows, I was also disappointed as seems something already seen, as a line of the same year. Of course this is just my own though, as not expert!:) Kisses Natalia, I see you are doing an excellent job in these days with the fw updates. xo

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  3. This is very much what's been going on in my mind for years now. I agree the collections look like modifications over the past but I like that aspect because it gives a chance for planet, our wallets and the industry to breathe. I like innovations but with a few years gap so they are good for the earth, our health & finance, quality and the industry too. Anyone who works in the industry knows how fast and crazy things are, esp in design, production and merchandising. I wish it was slower but had more substance creativity wise. Thanks for the post.. It feels good to know someone thinks like me there :)

    xx
    Heel in Mint
    www.heelinmint.com

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  4. Dear Natalia, beyond your sad but truthful summary of the latest shows, I'm thouroughly impressed by your deep knowledge of designers and past collections. I didn't watch all the shows but, as you say, too much was done to please the front row. Starting from the divine DVF: as much as I loved the models proposed, it was so not her! And what about Zimmermann? Where did they leave all the resortwear lush? Thank you for this amazing post hun.
    Baci,
    Coco
    Coco et La vie en rose / Bloglovin / Facebook

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  5. Well said Natalia. A step back from producing so many collections could certainly benefit the creative process for some of these designers.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

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  6. I could not agree more. Although in part I think the lack of originality is a response to the fact that consumers are buying less and designers, whose profit margins are narrowing as a result, are nervous to try new things, I think that overall, this is a result of the clothing machine moving too quickly. With as many collections as are released each season now, it's impossible to keep everything fresh and new. And that was more evident than ever in New York.
    xox,
    Cee

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  7. I haven't had a chance to see all the collections, but safe is never a good thing. So sad to hear.

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  8. I've always been more interested in "personal style" than runway fashion, dear Natalia!! Of course, I understand that the later most definitely influences the former...but I agree with your statement that we can very safely(!) wear past seasons' offerings for a while yet; we just need to give the pieces our own unique spin!! ;)

    www.StyleIsMyPudding.blogspot.com

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