A Woman Thinks and Talks About Paris Fashion Week 2017
Much of the coverage on Paris Fashion Week, including some of the articles I shared with you last weekend, suggest themes of protest, rebellion and new definitions of womanhood. In review, there are those that make literal interpretations, like rejoicing about a $700 T-shirt that states, “We should all be feminists” to the more nuanced views that make sure to note the distinctions between feminism as a design aesthetic for which there is much capital and celebrity gain attached, rather than the inspiration that helps to create fashion for how a woman truly lives today.
Women’s lives today are lives that are often chaotic, busy, messy and glorious. They are living, working, loving and caring both in private and increasingly more in public thanks to social media and for much longer than before. The true rebellion and protest is coming not from the designers as suggested but rather from the women themselves who no longer bow to the high priest of trends and are dressing how they want to dress. If this woman does decide to give a trend a nod it is no longer recognizable as itself because of the artful and yes, sometimes messy and unbalanced, way it is mashed up with something or everything else they choose to wear. Designers in touch with women understand the elevated reality we live in today and offer us choices rather than clichés.
One of my favorite links from the weekend bibliography was the one from CR Fashion Book that showed photos of looks, ironically labeled trends, on the streets during Paris Fashion Week. Interspersed among the photos of trends, like the patent leather coats, are creative renditions of what women want to wear. The very first look is a long white dress styled over wide pants topped by a trapeze style raincoat. The next is a pink lace trimmed slip with black socks, combat boots and a very bulky sweater tied around the waist. Look three is a cotton shirt and velvet pants with sleeve and pant lengths that make hands and feet disappear. Women are wearing key rings, skirt pins and shower curtain rings in their ears and parts of white shirts in various permutations (see the Ann Demeulemeester show for the endless possibilities when you decide cut up a white shirt). Women who are on the street and living their lives are mixing prints, textures, history and possibilities to meet the needs of a woman’s life today at this crazy moment in history.
This urge to mashup, I love this word, it comes from music and technology and means to splice together and re-arrange previously existing content and make it something new, something it never was before. From all this disparity one creates a unique yet single and coherent narrative. As my life has become more complex and consequently more chaotic I find this sensibility being reflected in the clothes I am being drawn to and how I might want to put them together. On days when I am exhausted I am drawn to silk pajama tops and jeans especially historic and distressed ones like the new Levi 501’s I purchased last week. These garments reflect what I am feeling so precisely there is no need for words.
I know I am on the brink of a rebellion and on the cusp of change when yesterday at a vintage show I was drawn only to prints, pastels, velvet opulence and had no attraction to the rows of black as usual. So I am in the process of splicing together old with new, opulent with minimalist, color with black and white, prints and solids and maybe even cutting up a few of my white shirts. Let’s see what I can mashup this coming season.
What are you thinking about "mashingup" this season?