Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

One more reason to support the screenwriters' strike

Hadley Freeman writes in the Guardian today:

When designers start to value celebrities over actual customers, the clothes become more expensive, more impractical and seemingly more irrelevant than ever, as is increasingly the situation. Once fashion did seem to reflect the changing lives of modern women, as with Dior's New Look of the 40s, or the shoulder-padded power suits of the 80s. Now it often feels as if designers are tailoring their collections to pander to celebrity stylists and the paparazzi - which would at least explain the continuing popularity on the catwalks of crippling stilettos, minuscule dresses and other clothes designed for lifestyles based on maximum photo opportunities and minimal body fat.


Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances said...

Great point! That would be a nice outcome.

BTW, I absolutely adore the styles of the 1940s! Practical, simple, and figure flattering... all great qualities that I wish would come back in fashion.

Deja Pseu said...

This dovetails nicely with the point Dana Thomas makes about the impact of celebrities on fashion. I recently purchased the book on the V&A's "Golden Age of Couture" exhibit, and it's really stunning how much more wearable the collections were then. No micro-mini shorts, nipple-baring blouses, or dresses that look like they'd blow right off in a good stiff breeze. No, those clothes were constructed and even though the models were thin, you didn't get the "draped over a clothes hanger" look that seems to predominate now.

lee said...

Marlene dietrich’s advice:
Dress (On a budget)
Here are some basic rules: Don't ever follow the latest trend, because in a short time you will look ridiculous. Don't buy green, red or any other flamboyant-colour dress. A small wardrobe must consist of outfits that you can wear again and again. Therefore, black, navy blue and grey are your favorite colours. Don't buy separates. Don't believe the sales talk that you can have five dresses for the price of one. And don't buy cheap materials, no matter how attractive the dress looks to you. Don't say you can't afford a dress made of expensive materials. Save up for it. If you have one good suit, preferably grey (navy gets shiny), two black dresses, a black wool skirt, a couple of black and grey sweaters, you'll be well dressed most of the year until summer, when you'll wear simple cotton dresses. Another suggestion, don't send your clothes to the cleaner's all the time. Spot-clean and press them yourself. It's worth it because they last longer. And while you're saving up for that good black dress, on your next date wear a black sweater and skirt. Nothing wrong with that as long as you don't ruin the elegance of the outfit by overemphasis of the bosom.

My own maxim is: The three most important things in life are aesthetics, silliness and black mascara.

lagatta à Montréal said...

Lee, both your Dietrich comments and the "Golden Age of Couture" show are clues as to how so many ordinary working women - as opposed to those who could afford couture - looked so smart in those old photos. I have a photo of my mum in a wartime ministry office in Ottawa, in a black dress with a (removable)white collar and a silver pin - a patriotic Maple Leaf - she looks oh so smart and I'm sure her clothing budget was extremely limited.

Though in the contemporary world I think we can allow ourselves some colour, even if we are keeping our wardrobe small - often the problem in the largest cities is space as much as budget. I love red.

Dain said...

You know, I watched an interview with Suzy Menkes and Donatella Versace, and Menkes asked Donatella straight out, "You were one of the first to put your clothes on celebrities, does this give you a profit?" (or something like that) And Donatella hesitated, wanting to say "no", and then said, "It is the name that makes money. People recognize the name."

Worth $25 million in sales, my eye.