The Work of Fashion in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Has last season's new minimalism already given way to the new maximalism? Some critics observing New York Fashion Week think so. But perhaps there's more than a mindless swing of the fashion pendulum going on here.
The presence of passementerie and paillettes at the fall collections this week may be more indicative of a need to distinguish ever-more-expensive designer items from fast fashion knockoffs at H&M, Zara, and the like. As increased interest in (and decreased availability of) true couture indicates, there is a stratum of customer willing and able to pay for handcrafted detail and elaborate tailoring. At the next level, the high-end designer ready-to-wear customer still seeks a connection with authentic creativity (rather than mere copies) and the ability to display her discerning taste. Whatever the appeal of hi-lo styling or "masstige," appreciation for artistry remains. Hence, the explosion of craftsmanlike detail on the Fall 2006 runways. from the deceptively simple work of Narciso Rodriguez to to the elegant confections of Oscar de la Renta.
Call it the sociology of sequins.