The whole thing was like an electric shock straight to the women’s nervous system. The models’ slightly tousled hair, backstage at Rub the balloon on their head, as a perfect cover of our fried energy, the problem of finding a balance between our work and our needs, I felt that it was impossible to stop even for a second. And those women wearing perfectly bourgeois miniskirts, stuffing their cute little handbags forward in the arm flaps – but wait, they’re only wearing underwear and tights? That felt like a shared fantasy. We are so busy we don’t remember to put on our pants.
(Personally, I caught the show in an airport lobby after two weeks of traveling, half trying to nurse a really bad flu, and as I watched I felt like I heard slow-mo, the fun-house version of that Kim Kardashian interview, “Get your ass up and work on these.” Days nobody seems to want to work.” Heheheeee!)
As I wrote earlier this week, When reviewing Loewe and Comme des GarçonsMany designers seem unsure of what to say this season. What made the Miu Miu show amazing was that it showed exactly what a designer can do in such a moment: don’t tell us how to be or look, but simply show us ourselves. That is not a common instinct for a fashion designer, but it is very appropriate for our time, which is both extremely vain and extremely aggressive. Every political movement now, in every section of society, seems to boil down to one thing: Look at me. So the Miu Miu show has identified and revealed to us some facts about our lives that have never been told before. It allows you to breathe – there is relief in the runway. One understands how strange and corrupt and impossible this world is!
In fashion, the airport is a sort of sanctum sanctorum. I thought a lot this season when I noticed that designers from Rick Owens to Saint Laurent to Miu Miu were returning to the once-passionate runway. Better to show clothes on the ground, like a model walking down the street, the idea went. But the runway faux pas is where the coolest stuff happens, where the boldest and funniest ideas are christened just by walking back and forth. Placing the models on that raised sidewalk emphasizes that it’s a magical place for change. (A year and a half ago, the designer was famously baptized and had a playful take on casual workwear!) and by showing these stressed, busy, tired women resisting the possibility of being beautiful, Ms. Prada seems to be telling us that our weird and sad feelings are A-OK. I mean, how are you supposed to feel right now? We are all doing our best!
It may seem ludicrous to think that a luxury house on the scale of Louis Vuitton could evoke such deep emotion, but that’s exactly what I felt when I saw Nicolas Ghesquière’s Fall 2023 show at the Musee d’Orsay on Monday. The designer took the encyclopedic style of the French woman, which is one of the most popular concepts in the world culture, but the results were very common.
Instead of sailors and tiny leather jackets and ballet flats, the clothes were at once crazy and imaginative and completely real, like the instant fashion whirling machine of Ghesquière’s inner circle. Once sharp as ice, like a solid purple glittery plaid dress with a cashmere collar or a pinstripe skirt, the skirt was startled into a fearsomely straight trapezoid, and after a while they became so soft, they practically kissed down. The runway. (Gimme!!! (I’ve seen the most stunning slinky kismier plaid jacket and bulbous herringbone trousers.)
Their authenticity seemed like a commentary on collections that try to capture the style of culture—how we try to make the unknown precise and defined, and that quickly slips out of our hands or is interrupted by the noise of life. Several of the model’s sweaters are embroidered with flutes or tubas as a reminder that we’re all weird little instruments playing our part. Agreement. Ghesquiere has certainly been in the bag these past few seasons, and as I watch all the glam celebrity guests around me take on a plunging dress in what looks like a frenzy, there’s no soundtrack to it but exaggerated screams. I wondered how to punk out this crazy show in a very corporate fashion environment with high heels! And in our ever-increasing world, almost every creative person has had to compromise or sell out in order to survive, which is treated as a hero.
Rachel Tashjian is the fashion news director Harper’s BazaarWorking across print and digital platforms. She was before GQHe worked as the first fashion critic and deputy editor. Garage and as a writer in Useless fair. She has written for publications including Book platform And ArtforumAnd the invitation-only newsletter is a generator of great tips.
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