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

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

In the real world


Last night I did the military trend, a tunicky black coat dress with double-breasted gold buttons, so I'm all ready to go and invade somewhere.

Jess Cartner-Morley explains how actual people wear the trends on the catwalk. Here is Paris:

So far as there is a "look" to be derived from this week's shows, it goes something like this. It focuses on the shape of the torso and the shoulders: often a corsetted waist and ribs, contrasted with pointy, vaguely sci-fi shoulders. Sometimes there are straps tracing the lines of the ribs or looped in faintly fetishistic multiples around the shoulders. At Givenchy, the look was less gothic than last season, and more glam rock - that'll be the leather trousers with flame detailing along the thigh - but the intense, angular, skinny, black aesthetic remains essentially unchanged. At Stella, black bands were wrapped bandage-tight, in the style made famous by Azzedine Alaïa.
. . .

Don't panic. We are not actually going to be wearing this. I know, because all week I've been watching what the French fashion editors wear. When they want to do a bit of a strappy thing, they wear a top with loose, draped straps (Vanessa Bruno does a good line in these) under a black jacket with pointy shoulders and maybe even a hem that points down at the front. They wear this with slim trousers and heels, or a short skirt and long boots. Often the finishing touch is a thin scarf wound around the neck, and there you have it: the same elegant-edgy, strappy-black thing without looking like a science-fiction prostitute. Alternatively, if they want to channel a bit of a Victorian dummy silhouette, they go with a tightly belted jacket over a very short, very full skirt, worn with ankle boots - this gives the same abrupt-looking, jagged silhouette.

These straps and silhouettes, however, don't really make a trend by themselves. In Paris, as in the other fashion cities, this season of shows has failed to produce one headline-making, soundbite-friendly major trend: no Boho, no 60s. There was no consensus. But perhaps we don't need one. To allow Karl Lagerfeld, appropriately enough, the last word: "As long as you agree with yourself, that's enough - non?

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