de la mode

I saw xtine's school's fashion show on Wednesday night. Xtine had three pieces in the show, the first three pieces, in fact. Her collaboration opened the hourlong runway. This was certainly a position of honour and her pieces were certainly dramatic: you had to look, and for much of the rest of the display, that's what made a piece stand out.

The female models were, of course, 8 feet tall and malnurished on a diet of rice and water. This self-abuse apparently causes scoliosis, as they all had this bizarre backwards bend as they reached the end of the runway.

As for the actual fashion, well, I didn't get it. But I tried to. First I tried looking at it like art, like Abstract Impressionism or Surrealism -- This art form happens to be worn on emaciated models during snotty fashion shows. But this train of thought didn't help me appreciate it. So then I tried laughing at them, because maybe it was a big joke and I just had to look at it the right way to get it. This was endearing no one, especially xtine, so I held my tongue. There must be another way to see this. Then I hit upon it, an analogy from my world: Open Source! This was experimental fashion, like code is often experimental. It isn't meant to be digested by the larger community, but instead presented to insiders who can then filter it through their own mind and build upon the ideas to create new fashion. With this in mind I stopped looking at the pieces as ugly dresses but as styles that can be replicated and modified to suit the broader spectrum of clothing. This worked for me. I saw lots of neat seams, and drapery, and lines, and colors, and interesting fabrics, and broken symmetries. This wasn't meant to be worn in public (like new code shouldn't be released to the general public), but it could inspire further development and eventually create the next trends in public fashion.

Still though, I was out of my element. I was in a stuffy theatre and among people who see things in their fashion and design world that I do not, nor can I because I lack their training and their eye. I didn't know who Azzedine Alaia was, nor Carla Sozzani. (I wonder if they know who Linus Torvalds is?) And I am definitely outside the world of fashion. My fashion consists of Panama hats and Utilikilts, two items whose variants dared not grace this catwalk.

Then we applauded, left the show, and got coffee and cheese cake. I was back in my world again. All in all, I had a good time. I experienced something far outside the boundaries of my realm of expertise, and it was rewarding. I was forced to question my preconceptions, and revise them, for the better. Now if only I could figure out a way to understand Abstract Impressionism...


At 5/28/05, 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea I think by Joe you've got it.I used to wonder the same thing, that it was always stuff for skinny size 0's but yes, it sort of trickles down in different forms so it's like you are seeing trends etc.


At 6/22/05, 11:37 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Under the topic ?fashion is a story of the undercurrents of a culture,? we could venture to say that a man wearing a skirt is the ultimate F.U. to the suits that run our country. Yes, Utilikilts are showing up all over. Trends (from ancient Egypt to now) are all too often a statement about social ideals in relation to (or retaliation to) politics, religion, etc. Our current bohemian trend can be traced to ill feelings about war and consumption, for example. Also why sustainability is a huge topic in today?s trade mags regarding production.


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