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FASHION OBSERVED

 

Saturday, January 14th 2017

4:45 PM

Sizing Up Our State

N  ow that the holidays are past and a new year is upon us, the Pre-Fall 2017 season collections come back to emphasize current retro-obsessed themes while others give in to experimentation of elements in the unsurpressable urge to grow forward. 

Scale and proportion are one of the aspects of the fundamentals of art. The manipulation of this quality is an intimate communication between the artist and the viewer. Here, the artist can convey a sense of grandiosity or humility, or the point of view of the gods or the child merely by playing with the proportion in relation to surrounding elements. In fashion the effect becomes more personal as the viewer doesn’t just look at the items but wears them, bringing these emotions into ones personal sphere. The success of this execution relies on tapping into matching sentiments. In the 20s the enormity of the world and its progress saw the wearer swaddled in comfort with coats to protect the wearer while helping to identify with the emotional modesty one inevitably faced in such a quickly evolving cultural climate. The 50s saw this repeated under similar circumstances where technological advancements and global political awareness almost overwhelmed the public. The scale of clothes almost responded as a way of offering retreat, again tapping into proportion in a deeply psychological manner where one forgets the comfort one feels when, as a child, one is huddling in a parent’s protective sweater or coat. Similar sentiments fed the 80s while a rejection of the physical design aesthetic as a generational declarative shift found another expression in a more voyeuristic fashion in the 90s when large-scale detail took hold past the mid-decade. In that aspect, a more detached approach found us almost thinking in an existential way to cope versus delving too deep into our personal feelings as we had done before. The clinical, intellectual way of examining our relation to ourselves was held in check under retro foundations to connect us with the antidote of feeling too much; while the obvious retro sources helped remind us of better times to fall on, the details let us safely look at what w knew as looming large.

Now, as we find our intellects tightened with years of access to technology, we are no longer locked in a simplistic model where fashion can sum it up with a few choice influences, although our fears certainly do show its power in trying. The play of scale continues as a sizeable (ha!) component of our personal translation of the times, and it incorporates both intimate and observed components as we are both more aware and self-aware. Be it in proportion or in detail, collections from Christopher Kane, Delpozo, MM6 Maison Margiela, Monse, MSGM, Norma Kamali, Ports 1961, Public School, Stella McCartney and Tome all contain these expressions within to connect to the wearer at large (ha again!).

Soon the Fall Winter 2017 collections will come…as will the haute couture collections…as we enter the next leg of the fashion calendar season and it will be interesting to see how designers take these sentiments forward. Then we can see how much designers feel these influences connect beyond what we have seen so far. Given the scale of world events to come soon and our willingness to express ourselves, we’ll see whether confession or emotional antidote wins out, and for who if we are inclined to look beyond the names to who they speak to.       

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