i just purchased Taschen publishing house + i-D Magazine’s joint effort follow-up to their gently-priced reference book, Fashion Now (2005), Fashion Now 2 (2008). while i am satisfied with the former, i’m glad i kept the receipt for the latter.
i guess i should have read the fine print. on the cover of Fashion Now, it states, “i-D Selects the World’s 150 Most Important Designers”. on Fashion Now 2, it says, “i-D Selects 160 of it’s Favourite Fashion Designers from Around the World”. what-ho! the game’s afoot. i was wondering why several recently emerged, highly influential designers were absent from the pages; now it’s not a question of stupidity (although, it’s arguable in terms of book sales & marketing) but a question of taste. DISCLAIMER: if you are sensitive to criticism, and have trouble distinguishing between your aesthetic opinion and fact or the aesthetic opinion of others and an insult, please stop reading now. fashion (or at least, haute couture) is an art, and like art, is subjective.
before i discovered Taschen & i-D’s tricky, arse-covering little blurb on the cover, i was distressed at the book’s failure to cover many notable designers over the past few years. the first two that came to mind were alexander wang and phillip lim. not to pull an “asian invasion” on my readers, but because peter som earned himself a spot between pages 404 & 405, i immediately thought of alexander and phillip. peter som was touted as a “Rising Talent” by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 1997, and debuted his collection in spring of 2001. in comparison, phillip lim founded his company, 3.1 Phillip Lim, in 2004, won the 2007 CFDA Emerging Talent Award for women’s Ready to Wear (RTW), and debuted his first runway show in fall of the same year. alexander wang was a 2008 nominee for the same award, and had debuted his first line in fall of 2007. all these facts considered, why would phillip lim and alexander wang be given the boot? speaking of boot, popular international retailer Forever 21, who reported revenues upwards of $1.8 billion dollars in 2007, offers a polyurethane version that gives a very deep bow to alexander wang’s off-the-runway, leather open-toe fringe bootie from his spring 2009 collection. if a clothing store in the local mall admits the man’s fashion trend influence with a new product, how did he get brushed out of the book? don’t worry, i didn’t forget the europeans… or their descendants. i was also disappointed that newcomer gareth pugh was also snubbed; apparently debuting in fall of 2006, being covered by British Vogue, and impressing the famously difficult to impress Vogue North America editor-in-chief anna wintour is not enough for Taschen & i-D… commence finger wagging. what about accessories? the publishing duo opened the door by including georgina goodman, a shoe & accessory designer who debuted at fashion week in 2003. with this in mind, i wondered why hot new shoe designer nicholas kirkwood was also denied entry at the clubhouse door. well, as they say, there’s no accounting for taste – perhaps Taschen & i-D don’t agree with the masses, or as i prefer to call them, “consumers”. “buyers” works just as well.
on a lighter note, most of the fashion-savvy know that the fall 2009 collections have shown. three of my favorites were givenchy, christian lacroix, and jean paul gaultier. as for givenchy, i must admit i am a bit partial – i love vintage givenchy, and snap it up when the opportunity or my wallet allows. i felt givenchy’s haute couture this fall embodied understated, restrained, but opulent elegance – great color, great fabric (weight, texture, & movement), and great cuts. i do admit i much preferred their spring ’09 presentation over fall ’09. more importantly, it must also be noted that i am miffed about Taschen & i-D failing to mention my favored fashion house in their book – givenchy’s last designer julien mcdonald was honored in the first edition, but new head riccardo tisci was not mentioned in part deux. moving on to lacroix, stella mccartney, who recieved a keyboard-lashing from me a few posts back should take note; past fashion was reminiscent, but redone. i cannot honestly say i liked lacroix, but i was impressed with and very pleased with the amount of original thought that went into the collection. as for gaultier, what is there to say? i strongly suggest those who haven’t to try to find video of his fall ’09 runway show online. the idea of opening like a theatrical production was absolutely marvelous – you can tell the models feel the roles they play, and it makes the clothes so much more real, so much more wearable. the range of the collection was also beyond amazing. gaultier begins in a 1930’s-esque seedy, red-light speakeasy, then takes you from the thoughtlessly draped, carelessly fringed robes of the ladies and the cleverly suited female models to sleek black cut-outs and black crocheted dresses, then to structured tan trenches and futuristic white sheaths, and rounds out the show with a buttery brown leather belted cape. while i must admit the transitions were a bit, well, non-existent, it kept me watching, and kept me “wowed”. gaultier also managed to present completely new pieces apart from his fall 2008 collection, which i also respect. other favorites were australia’s sass & bide (the only really wearable sequins this year, in my opinion), pringle of scotland (a lesson in textures), commes des garcons (what a show!), emanuel ungaro, rag & bone (things i could see myself wearing), and kenzo (very la madeline grows up, visits spain, and brings some back home with her). abaete was plain but likeable, and rochas, costume national, and viktor & rolf showed beautiful pieces, but didn’t make me feel like i was being presented with anything new.
fashion eats my clock like a cookie and now it’s high time for bedtime. bonne nuit!