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The One Place Where Fashion Will Always be Magical
07.07.17
via Vogue Runway

In the comments section of Man Repeller’s recent couture piece, someone said: “[I suspect] fashion is slowly falling out of fashion.” You’re not wrong — but you’re not right, either. There are elements of the fashion psyche and appeal — the insidery-ness, the slow-burn anticipation, the electricity — that, to me, a fashion writer, aren’t what they used to be. It is perhaps why the rise of essentially non-fashion forces, like Supreme, are so feverishly popular at the moment. I recently had a phone call with a person who is very, very famous and very, very stylish. He told me that the coolest kids in the world don’t wear fashion anymore. They wear indistinguishable khakis and, like, white T-shirts. This made me feel as if my gray American Apparel crewneck, which I was wearing at the time, was too much.

It also seems ever less awesome to flex your spending limit, or lack thereof. That sort of thing has become more a form of entertainment, less a form of fashion acumen. I am guessing here, but I think that the wealthy, the legitimately wealthy, are putting their money towards things that are more personally satisfying than publicly splashy. An Instagram of someone with recognizable shoes and handbag, framed neatly while resting on the Poltrona Frau leather of a Global Express flying from Fabulous Point A to More Fabulous Point B, is not the most seductive thing.

But to the point about personal satisfaction: Within couture, fashion is still entirely fashionable — and kind of alchemical. If the public’s perception of fashion overall has morphed into a kind of reality TV gloss of showiness, that’s fine. The more private world of couture still values discretion, especially so if its clients are spending six figures on a dress. Even Céline Dion, who, since this year’s Met Gala, has become a somewhat unlikely industry obsession, just admitted that most of what she wears on stage in Las Vegas is couture. Who knew?! And obviously, with that example alone, couture is not subtle. But it is individual — handmade with jaw-dropping skill by vastly knowledgeable teams, conceived with the most ambitious and artistic strains of imagination, and so on. Couture is wow-factor embodied but without the intention of like counts. It has evolved, too, to become more “street” or “contemporary,” but simplicity or a lack of ornateness doesn’t mean there’s any less work behind a dress. Case in point: Couture is a paradigm where fashion will always be fashionable — it is, by design, near impossible to overly commercialize and expose. It is for the wearer. It is magic.

Fendi

For the purposes of this caption, “HF” stands for two things. “Haute fourrure,” Fendi’s couture fur line, and “Holy fuck,” a descriptor of awe for said couture fur line from Fendi. “HF, look at Fendi’s HF!” All of these little sequins/scales are actually discs of shaved mink. Magic factor: a thousand.

Chanel

Paris is burning… with love for a seriously good Chanel couture collection, which paid homage to not necessarily the romance of its home city, but certainly its cigarette-smoky allure. Magic factor: another thousand. 

Valentino

Of his couture collection, Pierpaolo Piccioli told Business of Fashion’s Tim Blanks: “People think of couture as something beautiful belonging to the past… I want to keep the rituals, but allow them to be for the future.” Here’s a very sporty, street-y example of that. I sent it to a friend who is looking for wedding dresses. She said, “If I could afford it, I’d order it in all white, for a Caribbean ceremony.” Magic factor: I don’t even know, I just love this dress.

Maison Margiela

Whoever handles tulle and diaphanous stuff at Maison Margiela needs an award. This trench is incredible. As was the face-in-tulle last season. Magic factor: real magic.

Christian Dior

Ombré feathering, the palette of a hazy, Big Little Lies sunset: yes. Patchwork coat, an upgraded version of the kind of Calabasas cowgirl Maria Grazia Chiuri presented for Dior’s most recent Resort collection: yes. Magic factor: two solid yeses. 

All photos via Vogue Runway. 

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  • AC

    my god, Dior is my love language.

  • I don’t think I’d ever not want to see the couture lines – they are pure magic.
    And even the styling is always so much more compelling (I have definitely watched too much Project Runway). I love it when a designer goes really bold with their hair and make-up but there’s also something about that Dior hair that is calling to my soul.

  • Néo Bourgeois — Christum

    Supreme is for hypebeast losers.

    Don’t see the correlation with fame and taste in the context of Capitalism, which the proposition ‘fashion is slowly falling out of fashion’ hinges on. Like why should I care what Will Smith, Celine Dion or Kim K thinks about any subject, they dance for their meals. They are someones employee and don’t make independent choices, they function within a well establish entertainment apparatus.

  • allison fargo

    ugh i love couture week. and this article! it reminds me of what i envisioned the fashion world to be like when i was a little girl dreaming of being a fancy fashion designer– magic.

  • Maren Douglas

    Couture to me is art that one happens to hang on a person rather than a wall. There’s such a different mentality when you look at couture shows. You are never ever going to touch or even honestly think about thinking about buying a piece that you see. It’s just something that makes you think and makes you appreciate beautiful things and creativity. I don’t think that aspect will be changing. I also don’t think of rtw as something that’s accessible to me, but it does affect what I put on my body more via trends that trickle down. Thinking of that scene in the devil wears Prada where Miranda goes off on her on the cerulean gowns

    • Maren Douglas

      Reread that first line, please excuse how cheesy it is

  • Leilani

    that dior look is a dream!! if only my hair could always be so perfectly wispy

  • annie holland

    love this. Fashion is magic when we take time to appreciate it. thank you!

  • Olivia Stone

    well you know I am tired of seeing unwearable clothing on runways! as I have read in The Beauty Insiders, it more likely that those weird looking cloths are meant as an art statement and not to be worn outside, great to see this awesome brands marketing their designs

  • Fashion is going in such an interesting direction with the rise of the ease for fashion bloggers, influencers and other voices to join the scene. I take comfort in knowing that these grand fashion houses will always awe and inspire though (as this post shows!).

    xx Pia
    http://gymbagsandjetlags.com