March 30, 2010

Vintage is the future of fashion, or, Reaching the next level in a post-McQueen world

No, this is not an early April Fools' joke. I'm actually making a post.

The other day I came across this great post by Gill Linton (whose psfk column is becoming a must-read for those with an interest in the changing landscape of the fashion industry) entitled "Fashion is becoming dumb and banal. Long Live McQueen." Yes, please.


It was equal parts belated Lee McQueen eulogy and fashion world bitchslap, so naturally I hung on every word. Props to Linton for telling it like it is while encouraging this blogger and likely many others to step up their game, as it were.

Regarding her lukewarm impressions on this season's shows:
"I think, in the shadow of Lee McQueen’s death, I’ve subconsciously raised the creative stakes for everyone else, not only in terms of fashion design, but also in everything the brand does. It’s not enough to design great clothes anymore, how the themes and inspirations of a collection are brought to life and shared, (now that fashion shows aren’t industry insider events anymore,) matter more than ever."
So true.

She described McQueen's final show as "an exercise in creative foresight and a perfectionism that ensured everything communicated an idea. Not a theme, an idea. There’s a difference."

I couldn't agree more, and I believe this is more important now than ever. Brands are getting bogged down by appealing to the lowest common denominator. Ivy Style in chic? Every store carries some version of the Top-Sider. It's the same story with the heritage trend. And so on. It would be so refreshing to see more designers communicate ideas--actual lines of thought with creative direction--but instead ideas are taking a backseat to trends and the profit motive.

It's tiring, and we deserve better. But if the retailers aren't interested in giving it to us, we have to find it somewhere else. Linton argues that vintage is the place to start for inspiration, and again I agree. Good vintage holds a wealth of style that we've barely scratched the surface of--for ideas and, if you're a pessimist, ripping off for profits

In closing, Linton delivers one of the classiest lines I've seen since McQueen's swansong, one truly befitting of his legacy.

"It’s possible we’ll be wearing McQueen’s Plato’s Atlantis collection [20 years from now], because there’ll be nothing else quite like it."

Amen.

What will the future bring? Many of us talk about reaching a Next Level but how many of us are really at that next level? And for those of us that aren't, how are we challenging ourselves to get there?

I get some weird ideas on what to wear, and when I get sideways stares and snide comments as I walk by, I know that I'm doing it right. What are you doing to reach the next level?

1 comment:

DAT said...

"And for those of us that aren't [reaching a next level], how are we challenging ourselves to get there?"

There I'd submit is the major challenge. For 'fashion' (and what it represents) certainly and possibly firstly, but for artistic progression in general. The struggle to do something new or at least thought about it is daunting, at least for this blogger.

Read the linked article (and others by the author) and enjoyed it. You're on to something ML...