Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fashion Recession or Idea Recession?

These two pictures are from Versace Fall 2009 and Versace Spring 2009.

But take note of the similarities here. Both are jewel toned, short dresses with a revealing back. And both advertisements feature Gisele in direct lighting with little to no props. Is this a fashion recession or an idea recession?

In this weeks Kawamura reading we related how fashion was a large institution that perpetuated the status of its top designers. This relates to our week two reading on designers and their varying ability, input in the design process, and actual creativity beyond being the public faces of their companies.

As we can see with these Versace ads as example, there is a constant recycling of ideas in the fashion industry (though usually not so close together). How many have read that we are currently experiencing an 80's trend, or that designers are producing a lot of "The New Look" these days? What are designers actually making through their own creativity and what are they simply reappropriating from the past?

Donatella Versace recently gave an interview on her opinion of the 80's trend:"I knew that trend was coming. I knew exactly when every designer was going to start doing it. And I couldn't, because I was with Gianni doing the '80s, in the '80s. I have so many pieces in the archives that I could put right out on the runway and they'd be perfect. [laughs] In general, I think, yes, we can look back, but not that much. It's too literal. Like shoulder pads. We belonged to that time. But for me, it doesn't make sense today. You can play with it for one season, but it's not going to be revolutionary. I think we should move forward, not back. To define the era we live in is very difficult. How do we define it? We define it by music. That's different today. We listen to different music than we used to 10 years ago. Fashion is struggling to define itself today. For me, I'm concentrating more on fabrics, on the technological aspect of fabrics."

Well, she may not be looking as far back as the 80s in her design archives for ideas, but.....

There is an obvious disconnect between the star designer and the designs produced in this example. While Donatella would like to appear as the creative designer who is actually innovating, her designs show an obvious lack of change. However, it is her media image which matters. The Versace name still has a worth despite their current designs lack of creativity.

-Alison Tanner
Blog #5

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