I don't particularly like charts, so this is definitely not going to be a chart but a sort of bullet point style list of puzzling things that recently happened in fashion (from the latest) and that somehow mark the end of the year and, who knows, the end of the world if we believe the infamous Mayan prophecy.
Mario Testino and other photoshopping disasters
Well, the actual news was that Romeo Beckham appeared in Burberry's Spring/Summer 2013 campaign (as usual accompanied by a cringing soundtrack - you wonder why Burberry doesn't invest in a DJ...). Unfortunately for Testino who shot the campaign, the focus ended up somewhere else. Romeo displays indeed a rather unnatural pose, while Edie Campbell and Charlie France also look excessively airbrushed (Campbell's leg is as smooth as a Barbie doll's...). Is this the last Testino photoshopping disaster for 2012 after Karlie Kloss displaying three armpits for Vogue España (View this photo)?
H&M and MM
No, the news is definitely not about the H&M and Margiela collaboration but about it being unsuccessful. This year has actually revealed us that collaborations aren't about actual sales but about "media revenues", so it is (almost) irrelevant if the garments are successful or not. But why were sales not as expected in this case? Too expensive in times of crisis or too avant-garde? Maybe the key to the mystery is somewhere else: H&M doesn't have a clue about people's sizes, so producing oversized “avant-garde” garments wasn't maybe such a smart solution when half of their ordinary selection of clothes just doesn't fit. Their next collaboration? Investing in a team of professional pattern cutters wouldn't be a bad idea.
Dita von Teese - burlesque icon of style and now, unfortunately for us, fashion designer.
In an article appeared on 10th December on vogue.co.uk, Dita candidly recounted her discovery of her new vocation (fashion students cover your ears and eyes now as this could be extremely damaging for your careers):
"I saw a very famous designer, who shall remain unnamed, in a vintage boutique in LA. He was there with his whole team and they were taking pictures for pieces to inspire his next collection. I just thought to myself: 'There's no reason why I couldn't do that.' Vintage stores are where I buy all my clothes - I love the thrill of the hunt."
Amazing. Such wonderfully intelligent comments about ending up in a vintage shop and realising that – like all the other fashion designers out there – you can now essentially freely copy and steal from the past deserves an award. Somebody should have explained Dita there is a difference between stealing, copying, assimilating, researching, being inspired and actually being a fashion designer. After her holy revelation in LA, it was only natural for Dita to produce a collection of “retro-inspired trans-seasonal” clothes remixing French Haute Couture and Hollywood glamour. Did we really need her? No. PS If, in 2013, you ever meet a famous designer in a vintage shop with their entire team, feel authorised to beat them violently and tell them to go back to work in their studio.
Along the “did we really need her” line - Yoko Ono + Opening Ceremony
Love her for her activism, hate her for being the woman who broke The Beatles (even though recent interviews claimed it wasn't her fault...), Yoko Ono came back this year not as obnoxious artist, musician and peace activist, but as fashion designer. Our heroine found some sketches she had done for John Lennon in 1969 as a wedding present and used them to create a limited capsule collection for Opening Ceremony entitled “Fashion for Men, 1969-2012”.
The collection included puzzling trousers with cut out motifs around the buttocks area, plexiglass necklaces with bells attached over the breasts and inscribed underneath with the words “Ring for your mommy” and other assorted and more or less cringing designs. Not having the guts to say it was simply ridiculous, the media called it cheeky, playful, whimsical, fun, exuberant, boundary-breaking and forward-thinking (well, for 1969 that was forward thinking; in 2012 it's just plainly ridiculous...). Somehow, though, it's uplifting to know that, while previously you could buy mooning party shorts at $8.99 (View this photo), now you can have proper mooning trousers at $250. Yet there is one lesson behind all this: never ever let anything you did for a beloved one in private (and that includes art, clothes, porn videos and other assorted materials) become public 40 years later.
Last but not least – the most puzzling fashion event of the year: Alexander Wang appointed by French conglomerate PPR Creative Director of Balenciaga.
Let's put it in this way: if the world ends today we will be spared Wang's collection for Balenciaga.
Yes, you got it, Cristobal Balenciaga the architect and sculptor, the designer who exalted fabric and who was influenced by the dramatically lit draperies of Zurbaran's paintings, against, erm, Wang and his co-hort of partying hip customers in slouchy tees and fancy $150 croc embossed rubber yoga mat with lamb leather strap (well, in case you're one of the armageddon survivors, you may find new purposes for this absolutely necessary object...).
Critics say it will work, and one will benefit from the other, even though the choice shows this is not a century for research, but for churning out garments without much substance behind them.
Who knows, maybe Wang will truly learn something from this experience, after all he already started copying - pardon - getting inspiration from French masters such as Vivier in his latest collection. Yet in a fast world of revolving doors in which one day Donatella Versace states you remind him of her late brother and the next she decides she had enough about you (see the end of the Versus/Christopher Kane "collaboration"), this choice may be the umpteenth example of rapid rise to success and fast fall into disgrace. Time will tell, but for 2012 we had enough cringing and puzzling stories that clearly prove the fashion industry will probably never redeem itself or change for the better in future.
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