Gasps from the fashion elite as Gareth Pughs Fall 2008 collection strutted down the runway. He’s known for creating wearable sculptures meant to distort the human body beyond recognition by experimenting with form and volume with unconventional fabric choices like PVC inflated into voluminous coats, monochromatic squares, geometric shapes, meticulous tailoring, an unmatched ability to play with texture and gradients, and even human hair. His previous collections have tried to capture the mystique of Elizabethan collars, geometric shapes and now the urban warrior ready for nuclear winter.
This season onlookers called the collection a number of things but ultimately felt it was unwearable. The peeps over HeyBeUs even said that Gareth Pugh’s designs jump the fashion shark as “Its like claiming you’re a toilet paper designer, then making toilet paper out of steel wool”. This industry notion is furthered by the fact Pugh has not sold a single dress. BAH! I say.
Forget fashion for arts sake or using it as a medium to convey dreams, emotions and tell stories. Where fashion might have been artistic expression, the focus is now on creating a lifestyle brand … that is wearable and by extension, commercial.
The shift toward commercial fashion mirrors the transformation of sexual identities. Think of it this way… todays highly sought after personification of fashion emphasizes conformity, understated, calm, safe, neutral, conservative beauty and sexuality.
Its probably easier for people to imagine their sexual identity (or the person they might be fucking) as a incarnation of Jackie O, rather than the muse envisioned by Pugh or his predecessor Thierry Mugler – a hard edged, otherworldy, glamazon woman – a perfect blend of industrial and organic.
I’m not making an aesthetic comparison, but merely trying to show how fashion is conforming. If all we, the consumer, have to sample is a variety of conservative, then our tolerance and appetite for more avante guard, evocative stuff declines. I don’t need to tell you how this relates to your sex life and what kind of options you’ll have.