"Why brilliant fashion designers, a notoriously nonanalytic breed, sometimes succeed in anticipating the shape of things to come better than professional predictors, remains one of the most obscure questions in history and, for the historian of culture, one of the most central."
- late Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm in The Age of Extremes
Actually, amongst the fashion critics actually worth reading, the social commentary that comes down the runway is at least - if not more - interesting than the clothes themselves. Comparing the all-red Comme des Garcons show to "a Jacobean revenge play of sorts," fashion writer Jo-Ann Furniss ended her Style.com review of Rei Kawakubo's "blood soaked" CDG collection with the Hobsbawm quote. "Wherever and whatever that strange site of creativity is that feeds the great fashion designers, that makes them understand what is to come before anybody else and makes them immediately try to transform their unease into something approaching beauty," adds Furniss, "is a fascinating question."
Indeed, I've always found the inspiration behind the collections much more compelling than the fashions. (After all, how many different ways are there to make a dress, a top, a pair of pants?) Take the ongoing military trend. Obviously, the spark was provided by the various wars but what's more fascinating to me is why this trend has proven to have such legs. For Spring 2015, it marched down many of the most influential runways, including Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Rag & Bone and Celine.
Jacobs was looking at pix of Grace Slick in the 1960s, wearing fatigues to protest Vietnam and then comparing it to the way today's civilians willingly suit up into sameness. "Military clothes are part of the fashion vernacular now," he explains. "In the quest for individuality, people start fitting into these flocks and looking the same." While at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld was thinking about what what happens when platoons of people band together to protest. "There was an air of freedom I never felt before in Paris," he recalls. "There was one line I loved: It's not allowed to tell people that things are not allowed. Today, everything is forbidden. Political correctness killed everything."
- Lesley Scott
Note: The overt warlike vein in fashion is a signature of the Apocalytical Fashion Tribe that I track. For more of my posts and podcasts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.