30 June 2011


Fall/Winter 2011

Colours, colours and more colours - Jil Sander solids or Prada stripes.  I have a soft spot for bright colours (you need only see my sock collection), and yet, whilst I have flirted with colourful looks in the past, I find that punchy colour combinations are for me now not something I rarely do (monochromatic looks aside).  In truth, the more fantastic colour combinations seemed verging on costume rather than something personal, and indeed now that I see it as a trend I sit back and smile at it with an odd sense of nostalgia.  It is something I admire looking at more than actually wearing.  I suppose it is that disconnect which so often leads to mistakes in dressing.  However I think it is an important distinction to learn because it inevitably allows you to find, for want of a dramatically less clichéd phrase, a truer sense of personal style.

Indeed whilst I certainly enjoy the more colourful side of fashion (Walter Van Beirendonck comes to mind), there has always been something that has drawn me towards a more subdued, or rather paler, palette.  The idea of faded colours is for me incredibly beautiful.  As a child I remember drawing pirate ships on huge sheets of coloured sugar paper (after all, Hook was the order of the day).  Now either we bought the cheap stuff or it is just sugar paper in general, but those sheets always seemed to display a wonderful colour variation.  In particular, they faded in an incredibly dramatic fashion, especially when hit by the sun.  Piled atop each other, the lower sheets would bear the dark silhouette of the sheet on top, which would stand in stark contrast to the milky edges that had been exposed to the sun.  Those dark, shadowy silhouettes always seemed boring against the spots the sun had so gracefully, if prematurely, aged. 

There is for me a great beauty in age, which is unfortunately so often lost in a culture that so greatly adores the idea of youth and the new.  For me, take a beautiful garment, or a beautiful piece of furniture, or a beautiful person, and let them age gracefully - those lines, those wrinkles, those faded spots, those darker spots, those artefacts of memory.  It becomes more beautiful, and in an odd way, more noble.  I have this rather romantic vision of my wardrobe, my furniture, my possessions, slowly ageing alongside me, and in doing so, becoming all the more personal and beautiful.  Objects become vessels for memories, and I think there is something magical in that process.  Hiding the signs of ageing seems odd to me, it is something to be proud of rather than something to be hidden like a dirty secret.

Most people these days seem to approach almost everything in life as disposable.  You buy a new chair, you buy a new camera, you buy a new coat.  Everything is caught up in the process of supposed improvement and therein I feel we lose something of ourselves.  It is hard to explain, but I think with age (whether it apply to person or object) paradoxically intertwines a sense of permanence with a sense of constant change.  In the person - you have an unchanging core and constantly shifting surface, both in terms of appearance and character.  Or equally one could argue that the core of a person is constantly undergoing change, whilst they attempt to keep their surface role, that character they present to the world, as constant as possible.  I suppose there is the permanence of you as a person, even if your awareness of your own self changes, and then there is the constantly shifting aspects of your surface, of how you and your character change with age.  In much the same way I think that the same type of understanding can be applied to a material object such as clothing.  It changes as we change with it, remaining the garment we bought, yet becoming so much more.

There is the inherent meaning and function, alongside those we have applied to the object through memory, experience and association.  Overlaying this is the process of age - the process that actually allows those memories to be attached to it.  The ageing of an object, the creases it gets and so on, may perhaps seem merely superficial, however I think it inherently relates to the more personal meaning of the object (by which I mean the value it holds to the individual).  We supply the object with personal associations, and it supplies us with personal memories by value of our interaction with it.  As it ages and its looks transform, those associations and memories gain all the more importance.  Each new line, or fade, holds with it implicit personal meaning and memory - an incredibly intimate and individual reflection of a particular segment of our lives.  In much the same way, for me there is something magical in faded colours.  It suggests age, yes, but more than that I suppose it suggests a sense of intimacy.  

With the Missoni collection, the subdued colour palette really evoked that idea of intimacy for me.  The softer colours were already inherently more romantic than a brighter display, and the sense of intimacy I associated with it made that romanticism all the greater for me.  I thought of the close relationship between body and garment, and the passing of time, which in so doing creates a garment that ages and becomes uniquely you.  Of course the inherent contradiction is that the clothing in a fashion collection is brand new, so faded colours suggesting age are in fact pure fabrication.  But then fashion exists as a fabrication.  A successful show is a deftly woven narrative that transports the viewer.  Here, I think it fulfilled that notion perfectly.



  1. This is probably blasphemy, but I'm not a fan of Missoni's print. However, seeing it done subtly here, like the black and white cardigan in the 2nd to last photo and the red and white checked outfit above that, it's actually palatable. I think the main beef I had with Missoni is similar to your dilemma - the fact that they use Easter egg throw up colors, exploding all over their garments.

  2. Really enjoyed reading the article you wrote with this fashion collection.

  3. I am a huge fan of Missoni! Let it be woman or man collection! Perfect!

  4. Missoni's collections are really great

  5. What a great collection and great commentary on it. (The sweater in the second look, and the all maroon look are my personal favorites.)