Monday, 8 July 2013

Looking Haute...but limited.

Couture is the high-point for most designers, the thing to aim for. It is closest to art in how it behaves in the market and in its very nature. It offers the opportunity to truly let creativity run free and to fully visualise a vision. Yet, it also has its limitations. These are not in what you can make but what you can do with it.

Couture finds its home on the runway, in archives, in the closets of the very rich, in editorials and in galleries. Even celebrities usually only have the items on loan. Dresses cost upwards of thousands into the hundreds of thousands - the audience is pretty limited. We can all appreciate them as things of beauty but I also think there is something sad about them. They can be seen as fuller artistic expression yet they live half-lives of being seen and rarely worn.

This couture season was somewhat staid which surprised me. I always thought that economic downturn brought out the most railing creativity...but it didn't.. While the collections were undeniably beautiful, I could not help but feel that they were safe and maybe that's what people do want these days, safety.

Still, I was somewhat disappointed. I'm a big believer in liking something and still being able to see its flaws so my criticism is not to say that I disliked collections. I just kept waiting for the moment to sit up in my seat or bounce with excitement. And it didn't really come. The closest was Viktor & Rolf's show. Vogue noted that half of the collection was bought in advance by and art collector and that the show was more performance art than traditional runway. The whole sense of questioning how shows should be conducted and the highly conceptual nature of the collection left me intrigued and refreshed.

Elie Saab was very Saab but beautiful none the less. His dresses will always be the kind women want to wear and I adore them. Gaultier did a lot of Gaultier and looked back instead of forward. I wish he'd found a more modern, surprising way to do his fantastic thang. Valentino, again, while beautiful, left something to be desired. The collection, for me, seemed too alike their ready-to-wear. Dior had concepts I really dig but stayed on the safe side of the fence. I just wish Simons had given it that kick of unexpected. Ulyana Sergeenko created the wardrobe of the Russian princess of my dreams but similarly needed a touch more of the never seen before. Maison Martin Margiela had that sense of new but not enough of it! Gimme more!

Solid design is here to stay, I just wish a new game-changing voice would emerge and shake things up good and proper. Perhaps we are in too diverse an age for such an all-encompassing voice. Who knows? I just hope people continue to question what they do and to push boundaries.

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