The headline “The 6 Best Dresses at the Golden Globes” was ‘liked’ threefold on my award show hangover Facebook feed and I clicked, open new tab, to something I wasn’t looking for. In place of more pictures of Anne Hathaway’s incredibly shrinking body, I saw images I recognized from (and which my reverse Google Image search confirms as from) the ongoing Syrian civil war. “Touchdown! ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ leading lady Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t afraid to show off her curves in this stunning Marc Jacobs strapless,” read the caption to an image of a man weeping after an October 2012 aerial bombardment of al-Assad on Maart.
The takeaway from this parodic confluence (care America’s Finest News Source, The Onion) wasn’t just hey, here’s the news you maybe should be consuming instead of looking at celebrities in dresses. As someone who consumes Al Jazeera and The New York Times as much as Style.com, and who writes here daily about the inexhaustible spectacle of fashion, I felt more disturbed by an awakened awareness that I, on the screen on my lap, already merge goings-on like Syria and strapless numbers all the time.
I’ve tried writing about this before, about the plane of the screen of the Internet, and what happens to my concept of world events or what matters when I consume cookie-enabled banner ads of shoes I’ve thought about buying next to “hard news”. I think about this stuff a lot and the only conclusion I’ve been able to draw is that the “now this” misconnection that Neil Postman fretted over w/r/t 1980’s televised news is turning into a “now everything” over-/dis-connection with the Internet: Syria and the Golden Globes and gun control and Fashion Week and everything else share both time (now) and space (my laptop screen) and, I don’t know about you, but after a session of consumptive Interneting, my “now everything” starts to feel a lot like “now nothing.”
Last night, I caught myself surveying Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent’s Pre-Fall 2013 lookbook, starring Myspace-celeb-cum-pop-performer Sky Ferreira, while streaming the news on Syria. That’s when I remembered The Onion‘s Golden Globes prank and started writing this.
My job is to report on fashion. So that is what I’ll do. But I also want to interject with a reminder that there’s a world outside fashion because that’s what fashion is the worst at. Fashion (the fashion media, the fashion image) exists in a bubble fortified by Swarovski crystals and pleasure and insecurity and other distractions. Oh, and money. This fashion bubble now wraps all the way around the world, rubbing softly against what I’ll call the Real or the rest, basically everything that’s not fashion. To people disinterested in fashion, to those in the Real or the rest, fashion is the ultimate Other but, as America’s Finest News Source knows, it gets the clicks. I think you rest should peer into the bubble of fashion (hint: read me) because, not only is fashion everywhere, it holds power. Now this:
Right now, fashion followers know that Milan Men’s Fashion Week has just concluded as Paris Men’s is getting underway. Berlin Fall 2013 is also happening and more Women’s Pre-Fall 2013 lookbooks come out everyday. Today, on Style.com, Maya Singer mapped the global proliferation of fashion weeks in a safe report titled It’s Always Fashion Week Somewhere. “In the past decade, as the audience for fashion has grown more global, there’s been a synchronous advance of the idea of fashion week not as a venue for work but as a form of entertainment,” Singer writes. How corporate or community-driven a fashion week is depends on its sponsorship and locale; you can expect those in Kazakhstan, Belarus, Latvia, Poland, and the republic of Georgia are much smaller in scale and influence than what we’ll see in Paris at Couture next week but they’re all striving to that standard.
The most discussion worthy Pre-Fall 2013 lookbooks released in the past couple days are from supposed rivals Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent and Raf Simons at Dior. Their collections represent their polar approaches: Slimane makes images and Simons makes clothes. Slimane shot Sky Ferreira, face lacquered like Death in Venice, in black and white and styled (note: not designed) in a Los Angeles ideal of sexy #rock’n’roll. A sheer lace blouse, tube bra, pleated leather skirt, and a studded belt; it looks like Slimane signed a deal with Forever 21, making clothes so knock-off-able, they are already part of the Evangelical, sweatshop dependent, copyright infringing American fast fashion chain’s design rooster. To contrast, at Dior, Raf Simons emphasized his couture craftsmanship by photographing his models in a classic atelier, against dressforms and ‘petites mains’ in white lab coats. The clothes were worthy of the setting: mini bar suits, trapeze tops, full skirts, and floor length obis, all made from bolts of fabric like Zara would never buy.
Meanwhile, on the ground in Milan, where faces of color are just as rare in Men’s Fashion Week as they are in Women’s (like, fuck you), Giorgio Armani poured muscles into pinstripes as Fendi dressed up argyles with real fur Uggs. At Moschino, a heritage house just supplicating for a comeback, the ideas were there but the shapes were not. Diesel Black Gold stood out for preferring models with long hair and tattoos (one even came bearded like your favorite barkeep), a casting that suited the show’s paisleys and Rolling Stones rock ‘n’ roll.
In terms of influence, Berlin Fashion Week is barely worth talking about. It’s local, which is interesting, but no images stand out and so I’ll leave you with this quick summary: Hedi Slimane is a great LA stylist, Raf Simons makes me wish I’d married a Texas oil man so I could afford his exquisite suits, Milan Men’s is repetitious, and Berlin exists. Tune in next time (like, tomorrow or Friday) for Paris Men’s Fashion Week and the upcoming Couture shows and the rest and the Real and it never ends.
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