History and human nature prove we will dress again. What is the real question?
This is a truth that might be hard to imagine in a world ravaged by disease and economic insecurity, divided by racism and riots, but we will dress again.
Dressing is not due to the anonymity of the hospital or the important workforce, the heat and heartbreak of protest, the supermarket anomie or the park, but for the next stage of catharsis. Capital D Dress. This is history and human nature.
“We will get out of this, as we get out of war,” said Li Edelkoort, a trend predictor. “The building is still there, but everything is destroyed. We will want two things: security and dancing. “
“We will look for something new, to refresh our personality,” he said. “Eccentric clothes, romantic clothes.”
And that’s why, after months where fashion death was loudly and regularly proclaimed, a week when once again forced to face its own role in maintaining inequality, the motor industry has begun to shift into gear once again, in Europe and Asia if not yet in America, where the store remains tightly closed.
So far, there has been a lot of focus on “systems.” A lot of sadness about the need for change and shopping anxiety. Does anyone want to do it again?
That’s the wrong question.
What we must ask is: When we re-engage with a world filled with pain, and see each other – more than just shoulders – what do we want to wear?
Sounds ridiculous: Who cares what we wear when there is so much tragedy and economic collapse, when old wounds are left to rot that has opened again? But the root of the question is the same cycle as history: What will our identity be like after the crisis?
What do we want our clothes to telegraph about who we are, and what does this complicated experience mean? These are the answers to those questions that will draw us to the store again. These are answers to those questions that will make the factory hum again – more than just a temporary safety precaution or a change in the fashion show and shipping of clothes that are currently being debated by industry insiders.
Not that there is anything wrong with the change; many are praiseworthy, if still in draft form. Fashion circus is a creaky circus and needs renewal – not to mention grappling with race and more meaningful representation in the recruitment and supply chain. The show will be fully digital at least until September, if everything happens this year. (Many designers – Dries Van Noten are one – think not.) The British Fashion Council and the American Fashion Design Board jointly publish statements that effectively urge an end to pre-collection travel extravaganza.
“Open the letter“The industry has been published, signed by various retailers and most independent designers, promising loyalty to the” right spice delivery “so that coats are sold in cold weather, swimsuits when warm, and sales occur after the season of giving large prizes, not before.
And speaking of stores: They reopen (or first, until they become afraid Damage from protests), with hand sanitizing stations, social distance, plexiglass protection and regular disinfectants. However, retail bankruptcy continues to arrive, the numbers are getting worse.
This will not require additional legging that solves that problem – which we can get online. (And besides, hasn’t everyone realized that what we need is somewhere else?)
That would be an irrational emotional attraction and … something. The recognition that comes from seeing a new way to throw yourself. Which signifies: “Yes, I have changed. Yes, everything is different. Now we appear in a new world. “
It is a mode to define something, because something will be how history remembers whatever happened next. This will do what clothing always does, which symbolizes the moment, and gives it a visual form. What form it will become an existential question facing designers today.
But here’s the bet: This won’t be a sweatpants. It will not be an all-black patch antifa or Hawaiian shirts that have been co-opted recently by right-wing anarchists.
End of History (Mode)
Today, the news is full of intensity, just as before full of Crocs, speculation that after months of living with elastic waist and elastic fabric, we will never return. That just as white-collar workers will never return to old office life or old office schedules, they will never return to old office clothes and signifying social order.
That may be true, and although it may be that this really is the end of fashion as has been defined and disseminated by the Western aesthetic empire – that Newton’s third law of motion no longer applies; that Marx’s thesis-antithesis-synthesis cycle that has supported our choice of clothing for decades has ended – maybe not. If I were one of the companies that was currently crowing about being “that” WFH clothing brand, or trying to dress up in rebellion, I wouldn’t be complacent.
It is even more likely that we will develop a kind of Pavlovian association with clothing that becomes our isolation uniform and our impotence; that seeing them will subconsciously send us to the wormhole into a pandemic; that what we need is just the opposite.
That’s what the past taught us.
Times of great trauma also produce moments of great creativity when we try to process what we have been through. The functional side is fashion. After extreme periods – wars, pandemics, recessions – clothing is a way to signal the rise of a new age.
One of the clearest examples of this, said Jessica Regan, associate curator of the Costume Institute at Met, is the period after World War I and the flu of 1918, when lavish decoration and physical liberation of the flapper era and the Harlem Renaissance emerged. Think about it, the 1947 Dior New Look, which, with its broad skirt and small waist, served as a direct attack on the private spaces of World War II and the Depression. (That is, literally, a new look for a new time.)
A similar transformation occurred after the bubonic plague struck the world in the mid-14th century. Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, noted that the specter gave rise to more body-conscious clothing, plunging décolletage, and luxury jewelery in Europe that characterizes the rich Renaissance. “Symptoms, perhaps, of people who are looking for fun while they can,” Steele said.
More recently in the mid-1970s, the oil crisis and the resulting recession gave birth to the scenes and explosions of color and tactics that were the collection of Yves Saint Laurent Ballets Russes. The 2008 financial crisis caused, a few years later, a counterattack to a counterattack and fancy logos which were adorned with clothes in the presence of daisies in the spring.
This is not necessarily a sign of pleasure. This is a statement of faith in the power of beauty to uplift the spirit. Fashion was created for the future, and that implies faith in that future.
This shows, said Jonathan Anderson, designer Loewe and JW Anderson, who recently returned to their offices in Paris for the first time since Loewe’s performance in February, that we are approaching a time that demands “utopian fashion.” Volume and color are “really out there.”
We “will want beautiful things,” Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director, said recently Zoom news conference. “Bamboo handle bags were made after World War II. That is the moment of the rebirth of beauty. “
It also raises bets for industries that increasingly treat themselves and what makes them disposable. People can buy clothes that celebrate frivolity. But that is not the same as buying carelessly. Especially when money and where you spend it can make political statements.
“This has taught us that we don’t miss things,” said Pierpaolo Piccioli from Valentino through Zoom. “We miss people. We don’t need another shirt exactly the same. We need something that provides ideas, culture. “Something that communicates the sense of the hand that has touched clothing, the imagination that has created it, the effort that has entered into it.
No one will rush to buy new clothes, we also will not see “buying revenge” in China that triggers what is reported Hermes best selling day change into a trend. Indeed, analyst reports from Bain and the Royal Society on the encouragement of Art, Manufacturing and Commerce have found that people say they expect to buy fewer clothes, even though they don’t have to spend less. There will be, said Lucie Greene, a consumer insight strategist, a number of embarrassments associated with having additional income that makes it possible to buy new clothes.
“Continual desire for novelty for the sake of novelty will feel very inappropriate,” he said.
Like in 2008, when “the luxury of stealth” became a part of everyday language and the logo-a-gogo fell into disrepute, the display of wealth that might openly be weakened. (Mr. Piccioli said he had moved from the logo.) Likewise, the decade’s identifiable reference trend marked clothing in the 1980s, 1990s. But, Ms. Greene said, “a beautiful piece that can be worn for various reasons for several years? That will be important. “
When going to a restaurant for the first time in a very long time, or having a dinner party with friends becomes an event – when, as Mr. Anderson, everyday moments become “bigger” – that opportunity will demand a costume to mark it. And if the dress (or suit) becomes a change totem, then it is not an ordinary purchase or will be discarded later.
“I have a feeling that the things we make have longer lives than we have given them,” said Mr Michele.
Over the years, fashion has been worrying about the seasonlessness, partly because global warming and globalization have made it invalid and invalid and partly because there are so many collections, they cannot be determined for a while. (However, pre-spring is just … winter.)
Now it really is in everyone’s interest to get rid of them completely. The eternal mode is a mode that has value and can be worn and remade. It can also be sold and resold. It doesn’t become outdated in a matter of days. This might mean that fewer clothes are made and bought and shown. This could mean a contraction in volume which will have an impact on producers.
In the short term this can be painful, even though the short term is full of pain. In the long run it will help solve problems, including sustainability problems. (Eco-material is good, but less material that stays in our cabinets for longer is better.)
As Greene said, “disasters often accelerate, exponentially, macro trends that exist before their arrival.”
Outside of the Retail Massacre
One of those trends is the importance of “experience.” But what does that mean?
When I first moved to London, in the late 1990s, everyone who visited me wanted to go to the Topshop at Oxford Circus. It was there on the tourist wish list, along with Eye, Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Harrods. Then Topshop did an international push, opened on Lower Broadway in New York, and … nobody really cared anymore.
The shop seemed to be filled with city energy at that time. The theater is not an art experience on the wall or in D.J.’s house, but watching other buyers try to find a new identity in the group dressing room. The performance involved is our performance.
Somewhere, in pursuing the e-commerce promise of every product available at any time and in expanding locations to every street corner, it’s gone. If one shop is good, 10 will be better. Fifty-two hundred, worldwide. They become utilities, like Amazon and Walmart. And then, when they are forced to close their doors, they become liabilities.
After all, if there is one thing we might know after not shopping for several months, it is that no one needs to leave home to shop. There must be a reason to push through the door. And the idea of wandering lonely as a cloud through a plexiglass-lined emporium that is socially shortened isn’t it, especially if the emporium lined up with plexiglass social distances on the other side of the road is almost exactly the same.
What shop should be the goal: the embodiment of the history, society and culture of the city. This implies a certain singularity: a miracle that still draws people to Harrods, to Bergdorf Goodman, to Le Bon Marché. Purchases are souvenirs that are already there, in the hall, in the escalator. With each other.
This implies human connections, which is why certain boutiques – the Capitol in Charlotte, N.C .; Ikram in Chicago; Amare in Newport Beach, California; Merci in Paris; Corso Como in Milan – is a very long magnet for so many (and probably will return). The special taste of their owners, their conversations, cannot be imitated by an algorithm.
When designers talk about these owners, they talk about their trust in their work. About faith. When customers talk about them, they talk about discovery and emotion. Which is reminiscent of the words Ms. used Edelkoort when he talks about what will happen next, such as “handicraft” and “intimacy.”
In a recent letter to his staff, Jean Touitou, founder of A.P.C., noted that he had considered simply closing his shop in March – that he had done enough and there was no reason to fight. But, he writes, “the open period now is a revolutionary period in which everything can be re-created.” He realized, he said, “I want to continue to make fashion.”
In Rome, Mr. Michele said that she “found new ways to be creative, new ways to work.” He plans to call the last collection he designed before the pandemic “Epilogue,” acknowledging that it was the end of an era. The next one? Maybe “Overture.”
In Nettuno, Italy, Mr. Piccioli talked about the work he had begun. “We must be more radical, more extreme in our choices,” he said. “It’s very interesting what comes out.”
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