simply & completely infuriated.

i am. i really am.

seething, really.

i have been fashion blog-hopping, and an ever-growing annoyance this past fashion season has finally reached it’s boiling point today. (please note i am not bashing any blog authors.)

on one popular blog, i came across runway photos of the Stella McCartney Fall 2009 collection, and of Isabel Marant studded leather boots.

McCartney presented large blazers over black leggings, and dolman/batwing sleeve dresses. these “new” designs were complete, COMPLETE ripoffs from the 80’s. i have a silver silk thread Neiman Marcus blazer from the 80’s and two black silk batwing dresses in my closet right now. i could have thrown on a pair of black leggings, my blazer, and walked straight down that runway. the only way people would have noticed me would have been the fact that i was 5′ 1″ and 125lbs. also, the last time i checked, black leather, studded and cuffed ankle boots (once again, paired with black leggings) is not the newest idea either.

how DARE these designers send such copy-cat items down the runway?! how DARE they assume we are [all] stupid and fashionably unschooled? if you love the over-sized, broad shouldered, extra long women’s blazer from the 80’s, use it – but add a new twist! pair it with something new, alter it, put your own touch, idea, or spin on it, for god sakes! to send a straight-from-my-mother’s-closet blazer down the runway with nothing else but a pair of black leggings is just lazy, and more importantly, INSULTING.

not to pick on McCartney, Calvin Klein and YSL have  been doing the same thing as well. angular, strong shouldered looks in monochromatic shades are things of the past. i am not damning designers who pull from fashion past; i am simply trying to clarify the line between “imitation” and “inspiration”. at least when Project Runway contestant Kenley Collins was verbally slapped across the face for her nearly identical Alexander McQueen creation, she was oblivious to its existence. other violators include Balmain’s sequined mini dresses, another back-in-time theft from the 80’s…or that vintage look-a-like hanging in my closet, and Tommy Hilfiger, who should stick to his all-American, classic looks; his plain jumpsuit in March 2009’s Harper’s Bazaar is straight from the 70’s, and Dolce & Gabbana, my pick for this year’s biggest flop. pajamas? are you SERIOUS. the cut of these jammies are the same as the cotton ones my dad has been wearing to bed since i was born. did i mention my dad is 65 years old? in addition, their  leather sheath with chains hanging sloppily off the hem both gave me deja vu and a headache. last and most certainly least, was their advertisement featuring three women in laughably large, structured puff-sleeved cropped coats. not only are they completely unwearable, they are also disturbingly reminiscent of, once again, Project Runway’s Kenley Collins’ plaid puff sleeve outfit in Episode 9. might i remind you she was berated for it? what in the name of good taste happened here? what happened to avant garde? i’m very disappointed to say one of the more inspiring pieces in my closet is a VINTAGE cream wool & silk Carolina Herrera dress. the present needs to step it up.

it’s not all bad – before i get a “negative nancy” branded on my forehead, let me present my winners. Bottega Veneta is doing a beautiful job this year; i especially love their new-but-old, unexpectedly draped, soft leather sheath dress. Dior is also bringing new life to nude mini dresses with embellishments and innovative details. other designers that seem to have a better grasp: Nina Ricci, Fendi, Gianfranco Ferre, Derek Lam, Celine, Alexander Wang, Lorick, and Philip Lim are all presenting top notch work this season. i’m also awed at a lot of the work featured on some fashion blogs, either DIY’s by the authors themselves, or their posts of work from upcoming designers or recent fashion school graduates. bravo!

here i reach the end of my rant. please allow me to clarify.

designers may look for inspiration anywhere they like, without incurring my literary wrath. however, if they cross the line into imitation, they should just sit themselves out of the season, and not waste the fabric, or our time. if a designer wants to pull something from closets past, do so with some imagination. you are an artist. show us something new and beautiful – something YOU. i’ll respect you so much for it, despite my aesthetic opinion.

balmain takes on a completely handmade, 100% silk find in my mother's closet.

Balmain vs. a 100% handmade, 100% silk dress from my mother's closet.

Stella McCartney Fall '09 vs. Vintage Ebay Blazer.

Stella McCartney Fall '09 vs. Vintage Ebay Blazer.

Dolce & Gabbana Ad vs. Kenley Collins.

Dolce & Gabbana Ad vs. Kenley Collins.


5 responses to “simply & completely infuriated.

  1. hey it’s johnny! I just read your rant. I’m actually digging Lims, Wangs and some of galliano collection this year. I also like what PPQ has been putting out too in terms of womens clothing. To be perfectly honest, the new designer for YSL is kinda bland.

    Anyways, about the jackets. It’s obviously cyclic but you could tell this was coming back and it’s making more sense these days. I think we have to apperciate the lines of the coat…it’s done really well and it falls more like a dress. The lapels are interesting.

    I feel like it’s a limited scope in terms of fashion due to the requirement of long legs and a good proportion. The jacket end actually hits the inner palm while the jacket is obviously long. This girl was built for the jacket, not the jacket for her. So I don’t forsee it really making a comeback, especially with shorter girls….unless they force it on themselves.

    Jacket lengths are a huge ordeal for me since I’m only 5’6. I have yet to find the perfect jacket.


  2. epluribusgeenum

    I can already see you furrowing your eyebrow at me for this opener, but with the onset of the Obamanomics, our country– no, our world– has entered an era of change when it comes to consumerism. That being said, rip-offs of old anything is not change. It’s pretty exasperating to see big-time designers get so much money for doing so little in terms of progress and innovation.

    The designs can be appreciated yes, Johnny, I agree. But let’s say you were “appreciating” the design of a cute girl from afar: she’s beautiful. Her legs are long and lithe. She’s got it going on. But… she’s totally vanilla. You’ve seen it all before, and it’s suddenly not appealing.

    Voila the conundrum I feel we have at hand here in the fashion world. The issue is not whether the clothes are good enough to wear. It’s whether or not they merit the high-seated costs ($-wise) as well as the cost of production and contributing to an over-fed, flaky trend-driven market.

    Using old stuff, actual physical vintage stuff, would be acceptable to me. That’s the type of cycle I’d like to see; recycling old fashion shouldn’t be about recycling whole ideas. It renders the high price tags ridiculous, insulting, and unfair. If Plato just regurgitated what Socrates said and passed it off as his own, he’d be a nobody. But no. He asked questions. He altered a few things. He cut and re-sewed ideas to make his own philosophy, so to speak. I think what Gloria is asking of the creme de la creme is to change the creme up, for pete’s sake, otherwise it just becomes sour milk.

    I’m actually working on this myself. Using vintage clothing, I’d like to change (there’s that magic word again!) the face of fashion by yes, recycling old materials and making something new. Not only does this help the environment– begone crappily made clothes that are a) non-fair-trade and b) are going to be relegated to Goodwill the moment that several stitches inevitably come unraveled as well as c) clothes that simply won’t be loved because of the sheer variety and consumerist pressure to buy, buy, buy. And knowing that I can get something terribly unique and true to its era from a thrift store without resorting to eating Ramen everyday to be able to pay my bills is both serendipitous and satisfying.

    Don’t get me wrong. Please. I was a compulsive shopper, and I still have a little of that in me. I’m impulsive in general. But instead of throwing these things away and replacing them with bygone-influenced bullshit, let’s see some other form of materialism: profit off of old materials, not old material! It’s hard enough watching our fellow citizens get fat off fast food and lack of exercise. I really don’t want to watch socially and economically privileged citizens get fat with money bags off fashion plagiarism. It goes straight to the thighs, anyway.


  3. johnny, i think proportion is a whole ‘nother can of worms. while fashion IS cyclic, it doesn’t identically repeat itself. at least, good fashion doesn’t. for example, remember those bug-eyed sunglasses circa 1970? well, the pairs my mom has are heavy tortoise shell and dark plum lucite, with coinciding heavy smoked glass lenses. i’m sure you remember the recent trend of similar bug-eyed sunglasses last year? they were huge, either all white or all pink or all plastic tortoise print, with black plastic lenses. similar, but not identical. i actually found a vintage pair that were left in a department store, and just looking at them could tell they were vintage, despite a whole rack full of similar new ones a few feet away.

    either way, my point was imitation with a twist = an inspired work = the truly highest and most genuine form of flattery. copying to the letter is just cheating.

    geena, my silence is my compliance, you like-thinker, you.


  4. Pingback: Recycling is green; stealing’s just plain mean « E Pluribus Geenum

  5. Pingback: RIP, Alexander McQueen. « Gloria P. Cheng

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s