17.2.07

Wow.



London Fashion Week is over (the Marc by Marc Jacobs collection was pure cuteness, but I'm not commenting on it, there are enough people to do that- those flippy little skirts! Those layers! That whole collection, so much more fun than his pointy-collared New York one!). This post is actually just the result of plain surprise at the last show of that week I'd expect to have liked.
I never thought this would happen. Past expressions of my feelings in re: Indian designers and the clothes they put out have, for the most part, been ones of ho hum and plain annoyance at the tacky, over-embellished rubbish that gets put on runways, more often than not grossly overpriced to the level where I once converted some prices into GBP and $ and found that some crappy wannabe-trendy skirt from some idiot out of NIFT was going for the same price as a Chanel clutch. And while I am a skirtgirl to the core (poofy, crazy, pretty, bring ‘em on!), I still know which one of the two I’d rather have. About the only Indian designer who ever managed to fire my interest to any degree was Sabyasachi Mukherjee, mainly because he was the first one to actually acknowledge the idea that a brain might be something a woman would actually like to acknowledge having when she gets dressed. All the others seem to be lehnga-designing Punjus targeting fat cat daddy-of-the-bride types, and while that’s fine, it still means I’m happier rooting around for my clothes on a streetside or in a basement than in a shop because I don’t want to wear anything that looks even remotely like what’s up there. Like ‘Indian design’ has to be synonymous with gratuitiously garish, badly-styled and just plain fugly. Or folksy and ethnic and again, a bit blah.
Which is why I am, to put this politely, gobsmacked on getting a look at the pictures of Manish Arora’s show at London Fashion Week. I wasn’t such a fan of last season’s look or of his work in general, it was a little too calculated and gimmicky to really seem fun, but by George, if this is what a few seasons in London leads homegrown designers (ours) to produce, I can only say: Mr. Arora, STAY THERE! I looked at it expecting more trash, but it’s great to the level of being stupendous- at least on the runway, since I am not looking at the clothes up close and (insert sniff and sigh) won’t have the chance to do so. It isn’t embroidery-piled-on crap, the stuff actually looks potentially flattering not to mention massive loads of fun to wear (grey, nasty winter days can’t possibly seem so nasty if one of those mad prints is on you). He actually seems to be looking at what's going on around him (latex leggings- I swear I saw those somewhere else too) instead of going off on some bizarro aimed-at-Bollywood trip, and the 60s-ish shapes and subdued-but-shiny (subdued compared to last time, anyway) prints are gorgeous. And I covet those gold shoes, though not as much as I do Queen Michelle’s gold Oxfords on Kingdom of Style.
Maybe they should just import the entire Indian design lot to London and keep them there. If they can’t make actual wearables, I’m sure there are enough and more NRIs in the market for a Bollywoody wedding lehnga to keep them all afloat.

15 comments:

Yohan said...

Reading intelligent commentary on fashion seems so unusual; the fashion world always struck me as ridicule-inducing, and self-absorbed. Unlike penniless painters, we only hear about designers who've made it, right?

But good job with this blog. It's slowly exposing me to an alien realm.

Blue Floppy Hat said...

Ah, thanks! But if you want better pictures and more readability I'd suggest going to Susie Bubble and The Sartorialist- they're both awesome blogs.
I shall do a little History of Fashion post sometime, though not soon so maybe my ramblings will get a little context.

longdarktea_taker said...

Oh boy! Funny the prejudices we carry. Fashion has always been about as frivolous as any aesthetics or design based calling - art to architecture to typography... and music too actually. Sometimes I feel sad for boys and the things they have to think. But yeah, Indian fashion is both r-i and s-a, so can't really blame you

Yohan said...

The only difference I see is that painting, sculpture and music have a wide(r) appeal. Fashion is the domain of a small clique of people, because achieving the realization that clothes are not necessarily for wearing is hard.

The fashion world seems elitist, and that alienates people. It is also one of the few arts that might make its viewers feel physically inadequate. [No doubt all art is "frivolous" because it can't be described as crucial to survival.]

I still find it hard to understand high-heeled shoes though.

@tea_taker: I'm curious...what are the things boys "have to think"? What (or whose) prejudices were you speaking of?

Blue Floppy Hat said...

I think she's talking about the very common idea practically every boy I have ever met seems to hold, that fashion is ridiculous. Which it isn't. Maybe painting, sculpture and music have a wider appeal, but people are always going to need clothes. And what those clothes look like, even the frivolous details thereof, matter to people. I've always thought of fashion at its highest levels as an art that works with the human form. Maybe those high levels seem elitist, but very often, they're just an expression of what's going on in the world. Which is why I like London Fashion Week so much- aside from the fact of being the breeding ground of some amazing new talent, its designers (whose average age is around ours) often take their cues from what they see on the streets of the city. And it is those trends that filter down to the shops from which we buy our clothes- only sometimes they botch the execution.
As for the physical inadequacy thing...I shall deal with that too, sometime. Comment space won't work for this one. And certain kinds of high-heeled shoe can be fun, I don't know about anyone else but I love having an extra three inches of the height kind- but only as long as it doesn't hurt.

Yohan said...

[I know people who wear shoes that really hurt...knowing full well that they hurt. Mystifies me]

I understand the sort of fashion that sets the clothes you wear. [I have a hankering for hats and sharp overcoats these days. It's winter.] But the clothes that cost thousands of dollars and only look good on perfect bodies seem out-of-reach to mere mortals such as I. At least we can but prints of paintings, or download mp3s! Hehe.

My dad got me into fabric, and good cuts. I feel good when I'm in shirts that fall correctly. And I like dressing up for the right occassion. So that aspect of fashion is AOK.

Did you see the Audrey Hepburn Gap ad? Any comments of skinny black pants? All the hipsters here (both male and female) wear jeans that look tight, yet unspeakably cool. Don't think I could pull it off though.

Q said...

I know, right? I see even fewer Indian women. I would've included Indians in my post, but I don't know enough about India.

Marc by MJ is so much better than the MJ show; Marc got super serious this season in New York.

Blue Floppy Hat said...

@Yohan: funny you should mention skinny black trousers, because that's exactly what I've got on right now. They look really good with something oversized on top (for me that's a sweater, for you I'm guessing a blazer/jacket/coat thing would work better. Don't be afraid to try new things- for all you know it could look really good.

@q: Hello.. I think there was a grand total of one Indian model working the major runways at the fashion weeks three years back and even she's all but retired. And Indians have odd standards of beauty, I won't go into this in comment space.
And as for Marc Jacobs... I'm not wearing collars that pointy, ever. People were right when they compared it to Miu Miu S/S 07 though- the colours seemed a bit similar, as did the rectangularity of it all, but the collars were just too sharp.

Yohan said...

Sadly I myself can no longer be described as skinny. Pudgy might be more apt. If I go trouser-shopping I'll try on a pair though! Bought a "safe" pair of khaki corduroys recently, so that might be a long time from now!

Blue Floppy Hat said...

I'm no Twiggy either... someone told me the trick was to, if they seem too tight, buy trousers a size bigger than you normally wear so that way they're still cut close to the leg but not so uncomfortable.

It should be ok if there's something oversized on top..come summer and I ditch my skinnies unless I can find more massive boys' shirts to wear untucked.

X & Y said...

Some shit this new blog of yours is...

longdarktea_taker said...

Wow, I'd argue for egalitarian rather than elitist, since the canvas is something everyone starts out with - a body. And clothes are pretty much compulsory too - most of the time. As for the rest of the argument, I've been pipped to the post by vehla interns, while I was out rusticating...

Blue Floppy Hat said...

I have comments! Odd thought...
Thanks for the backup, Puneet. People get put off fashion by the idea of trends and general clothes/shoes/bag-related madness, but it isn't just about that. It's all linked up with what goes on in other areas of activity too- music, movies and even sports. Designers don't just randomly come up with things on their own, whatever they produce is by and large something that reflects that particular time. For instance, how, in the 1920s, did Coco Chanel and Co. figure out that women were tired of corsets? Or how did Mary Quant know to cut four inches off a knee-length skirt and name it after a car (pretty much the origin of the miniskirt)? It isn't as elitist as it appears (it's still super-snooty, but still)

disktop said...

Reading this blog is addictive to the point where I feel annoyed if nothing new is on it. :) Nicely done.

Blue Floppy Hat said...

Are you sure the above comment wasn't intended for some other blog, daddy? :)

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