One of the things that made me fall in love with fashion as a little girl was the timelessness of it all. The idea that someone like Grace Kelly could wear a simple off shoulder top with a large tulle skirt and magazines would still reference that classic look decades later. The summer of 2016 will always be remembered as the summer the off shoulder trend surfaced again. This time it was sported in long dresses, or paired with loose high-waist trousers but also elegant wide skirts in a similar style to Kelly’s.
Michelle Obama recently slayed at the final White House state dinner, wearing a rose-gold Versace chainmail gown. It made me think about how fashion has changed over time. Decades ago, women wearing shiny fitted dresses would have had a different label than the headlines Michelle Obama had with her stunning dress. We’re extremely fortunate as women to be living in a time where we get to take control over our bodies, our will, our way of dressing ourselves. Fashion is power – being able to dress to the occasion is power and not letting anyone else tell you differently, is power.
Ever since the 70s, fashion has become a way of expressing yourself. Your voice, your inner you. It is when your alter ego surfaces – the alter you, unaffected by society’s norms – the you you strive to be. Beyonce has her alter ego Sasha Fierce, David Bowie had Ziggy Stardust. We all have a personality style that embodies the qualities we see or long to see in ourselves. That personality can be soft, it can be edgy, it can be feminine. Whatever it is, it’s all about you.
Note to self: how about Iggy Stardust for a name?
Fashion brings an every-day form of art to the world. It starts with an designer’s visionary which translates into fabrics. There’s nothing like a well constructed piece of garment that can make a fashion fiend go wild. Show me a stunning architectural garment and I’ll show you my wallet (kind of obsessed with architectural structures in clothing).
The art doesn’t end there though – it takes an individual level when it becomes part of a fashion lover’s personal style. A much underestimated art really but one of the most exciting corners of fashion.
but most of all…
Fashion has long been a form of escapism. Dutch designer Iris van Herpen has always heralded this aspect of fashion and I love her for that. Through fashion, we are able to escape into a different reality and leave behind the world we know. When I was young I used to dream away in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Alice in her iconic blue dress was the embodiment of a young girl seeking an adventure. All my youth I dreamed that I would one day be whisked away through the looking glass into a world unknown in my own blue dress. Fashion is for dreamers and in dreams we’re wide awake.
Fashion transcends time and space. It isn’t bound by generations or age.
It breaks through reality and makes way for a different one.
A quote from the late Bill Cunningham comes to mind:
“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of every day life.”
Bill is a hero.
So let’s put on that armor – and let’s rule the world.