Article: Ross Pollard
Nobody could wear that, why do designers insist on making collections we can’t wear on the street?
It’s something I hear quite often from friends and my social media followers commenting on my latest show reviews and catwalk edits, but it’s also a really good question. The bigger fashion houses show so many times in a year that it may not be as true for them as they will have specific ready to wear shows so they have spaces to explore, but what about the smaller labels of the industry?
It is harder as a small designer to get the creative visions you have across, the oxygen of publicity and exposure is harder and it’s understandable many use their shows as a way to market and give opportunity for potential customers to see things they can walk in and buy or add to the basket online, but for me it’s really important that designers also have a space to explore their ideas fully.
The idea of fantasy pieces that aren’t destined to be worn are still vital. It is the one chance we may get in every six months or year to see inside the mind of the designer, it is their portfolio of creativity, fashion is art, it isn’t just about wearable pieces. It is the opportunity to say I am the artist, this is my canvas. The fantasy they produce each season is their Sistine Chapel ceiling, their triptych to be viewed as an expression in it’s own right.
This is why fashion keeps appearing in galleries and not just museums, our clothing industry is now displayed alongside Van Gogh, Rodin and thousands of other artists. Major retrospectives of designers works have filtered through these places and each has earned their right to be there. It is always ok to create beauty, to deliver the audience the rampant creativity of a mind.
But more than that they do have practical use, these are collections that are full representations of that seasons inspiration and ethos and from those looks there is a distillation into the wearable such as the collections from my favourite designers Vin & Omi. We have to let the atelier live and breathe and work from the boldest of starting points. Would we say to a sculptor well it’s very nice but I couldn’t put it on my mantelpiece, or if only they had made something that would fit I my display cabinet?
We have the ready to wear lines, the big stores that cater to the everyday, the life blood of couture it’s very essence is in the unique and the creative, the reason that we would choose the small boutique or custom made is purely because it is individual, it is special. We can’t handcuff the creative thought process of the person with scissors and pins in hand. At the heart of it isn’t that why we fell in love with the legendary fashion houses, they were bold, they stopped us in our tracks and made us say wow who made this and where can I see more.
There is a continuous battle between desire to have something and wanting to see inside the soul of the person behind the label, the collections that were never destined to be sold direct from the show are that window, they let us gaze in, it is the only chance we get as we’ll never be in the room or see the sketch books, let’s celebrate the creation of these fantasies, enjoy them, and hope they let us understand the vison and ideas that will be translated to commercial sale all the more clearly.