26 November 2009

Made To Be Worn


When I first saw this Alexander McQueen oversized knit cardigan in stock at oki-ni I believe that the photograph made me laugh harder than I had in quite in while. In fact if my memory serves me correctly, tears may have actually cascaded uncontrollably down my happily creased face. It worked beautifully on the runway, and yet placed so ungraciously upon the model it...well the photograph speaks for itself. I was somewhat confused as to why somebody would be willing to pay £1,599 (around $2,600 for those of you across the pond) for the pleasure of such a piece.

I suppose that the dangers of theatrics and the balancing of costume and dress upon the runway is something that all designers have to deal with. A designer wants to tell a story during their collection display, and yet at the same time they need these pieces to work once removed from the context of the runway. After all the majority of designers show primarily as a form of advertising, and the economics of fashion are never too far from their minds. A piece ultimately needs to be able to integrate into some form of a closet, even if it be a closet where the wearer may have a particularly avant-garde or specialized taste.

I personally loved how the piece was styled on the runway, and yet the stocked image just did not translate the nature and beauty of the garment for me. It is perhaps one of the better examples of why fashion can never truly be understood when considered in isolation. Context is important to all design, and nowhere is this more important than with fashion. Garments need to convey the designer's meaning, however at the same time they need to be able to be part of a greater meaning - that of the person who wears it.


Velvet Magazine
December 2009
Photographer: Matthew Brookes
Stylist: Nik Piras
Model: Timothée El Kaim

In isolation the garment looks invariably ridiculous, however sumptuous the fabric and patterning may be. As such I was rather excited to see the piece in action in an editorial for the December issue of Velvet. Given a context the garment made sense, and not only did it make sense, it looked beautiful. Regardless of how wearable the piece may be for everyday, it worked in the shoot because it was given a meaning, both by being worn, but also by being seen in movement. It is always hard to understand that which is meant to flow across and move in intimate unison with the human form, when inspected on the hanger, laid flat, or indeed with such a voluminous piece as this, simply swamping a model. The action and movement made the piece, if I may use such a cliche, come to life.

It is also rather interesting to note that the context created for the piece in this editorial lies in such contrast to the McQueen runway show. I have always felt that the wearer gives a garment its full meaning, and that this meaning is fluid and constantly evolving. One can take the original source of inspiration and create from it, building out to almost anywhere the imagination of the wearer could wish to take it. Indeed I was pleased to see the styling of the shoot, where the McQueen piece was placed alongside earthy leathers, denims, flannels and wools. It created a wonderfully classic and romantic scenario, and yet although it was the ostensible dichotomy of the McQueen collection (with its sharp tailoring and smart finish), the piece worked seamlessly. I suppose this editorial goes to show that it really is a matter of wearing a piece the way you want to create your own meaning.

Currently playing: Ballade No. 1 - Chopin

xxxx

31 comments:

  1. Haha that first photo...well the thing that came to my mind was that it rather looked like the model was playing fancy dress as a cobra :/
    Either that or egyptian winter wear, and do they even need that over there?

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  2. Certainly looks so much nicer on the runway...the price is really something though, I think my neighbor had a sofa blanket similar like that!
    xo*

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  3. i think the piece looks great on the runway and editorial, but yah laughable awful on the shop picture. i think it's all in the styling.

    what i like about this piece is that i could imagine someone wearing it people thinking, "okay, why is he wearing his grandpa's sweater/blanket..." and then as the day goes on and they see it closer, they see the skulls, and all the different patterns and realize it something modern. it's something that the more you look at it the more interesting it becomes.

    with my trousers, i kept it classic. if someone feels like im breaking some fashion law that's their problem! LOL!!!

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  4. I'll be honest when I saw that first image, my first thought was 'what the?', I didn't even recognise the piece lol. It's true though I think garments often need something almost like a function in order to be 'real' they need to be worn in such a way that gives them a meaning, and dumping the knitted cardigan on a model, just makes the peice look useless, rather than beautiful. Almost the weekend eek!

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  5. I liked the outside shoot best. you know, to see it alive..so to speak..in an outdoor setting. Like how can it really be used. I guess I'm that way with my clothes.

    Thanks so much for the note. Thanks so much for reading.

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  6. catalogue mugshots can only look so nice.

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  7. it reminds me of these ponchos I saw the other day. All warm and fuzzy!!

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  8. The guy in the first photo looks like a cobra the way the cardigan is draped over his head! By the way, thanks for translating into US dollars! I never know the difference =)

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  9. Fashion really is quite immersed in both art and commerce. It's really bizarre in that respect. It yields some amazing things because of it, though.

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  10. hahaha it does look like an Egyptian headdress crossed with a Mexican poncho. The catalogue photos are eons better and make it look earthy and chic! Great synopsis of encapsulating this oft hard to describe concept.

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  11. Wow you are sooo right! That stock photo at the top totally killed the garment for me but it looked incredibly chic when it was sent down the runway though.



    www.thestarvingstylist.com

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  12. Looks stylish in its own way....


    joolliieess:-)

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  13. loveee the 3rd photo, he looks so stylish, damm there all good looking :)

    xx
    danielle

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  14. You have such an amazing perspective on fashion! I loved the runway styling too. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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  15. It's a little Anakin Skywalker pre-quel Star Wars-- I LIKE IT!! =)

    Gorgeous weekend to you as well, Dear!




    xx

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  16. such different interpretation. i like the idea of making it our own in what ever is out there to wear.

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  17. it is almost like they weren't sure how to style it. this cardigan is quite amazing though.

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  18. Mmm I love the hats further down!

    And Chopin of course! <3

    Got "Alice" in the mail yesterday. Thank you! I've posted photos and about the "Pay It Forward" tag (which I'd forgotten all about... sorry!) in this post

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  19. I truly enjoyed reading this post and you made me laugh :-) I think this piece is gorgeous but I would only recommend to wear it for those who can :-)

    Purchasing and wearing this item by someone who doesn't "understand" it can be a big (and funny) revenge on him from the side of fashion LOL.

    Have a great Sunday, cheers: Evi

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  20. I stumbled upon your blog and I love it! I just created my own, if you get a chance I'd love for you to check it out! www.antiquatedtreasures.blogspot.com

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  21. I would totally splurge on one of these - would be perfect during NYC winters ;-)

    XOXO
    Amy

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  22. Brilliant as ever. You're so right about how the person wearing the piece has got to 'feel' it and give it an identity. That stock photo just makes it look a bit bizarre and unwearable...but it looks awesome on the runway and in Velvet mag!

    I wonder, what's happenned to your around the world project?

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  23. ooooh! i SO love!!!

    and lovely! you're listening to chopin.

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  24. "I suppose this editorial goes to show that it really is a matter of wearing a piece the way you want to create your own meaning."
    agree!

    some people can afford and buy those branded stuff with big bucks, but doesn't meant anything.

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  25. I get what you mean. Not few were the times when I would completely hate or disapprove of a garment when seeing it on the runways and then falling in love when watching the exact same piece in an editorial or a look. I guess it falls down to perspective :)

    Also, I simply adore that sweater, on and off runway!

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  26. Agreed. The garment is exquisite in motion.

    ♥ from suckmysavvy.com

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  27. Brilliantly said - I think more companies would do well to have editorials for their catalogues.

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  28. I agree... context is so important when it comes to a designer's pieces. This reminded me so much of my feelings towards Balmain. I find the blingy clothes to work very well on the runway and in editorials, but I was actually shocked the first time I spotted a woman wear one of their glittery military jackets in real life. In broad daylight. Out to do some shopping. It just didn't work... she looked ridiculous, overdressed and like she was on her way to a costume party. I think people really do need to think of a perfect occasion and setting to wear something to, otherwise it won't look natural.

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  29. To be honest I like that coat! Will keep you warm over the winter months!

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  30. I love the thematic idea of this collection - an updated old western theme with some strong middle eastern undertones. It feels like Iraq meets Arizona via NYC.

    Very fascinating indeed.

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