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infinity {but not quite beyond}.

4 October 2009

Valentino Fall 081

{Valentino Fall/Winter RTW 2008}

Existence and progression is cyclical (or so theorists and philosophers have proclaimed within the past century or so). If life itself should be depicted as something tangible and two-dimensional for our brains to process, it would resemble a circle. Perfectly round, perfectly shaped, perfectly perfect as the inky black line never ceases in its cyclical path to the beat of the “Circle of Life”. Undeniably cliché but wholly suitable for the occasion, no? And since life encompasses (no pun intended) everything that exists on this Earth, we assume all else within the boundaries of life follow a similar, circular pattern. History repeats itself as we are born and dying; it would only make sense to speculate so.

As beings bound to the Earth and our humanity, we fall within the realm of what is defined as life. Our materialistic selves need to be clothed in the least for humility’s sake, and since clothing is a part of fashion, we then deduce that fashion is cyclical. The process, however far-fetched, is no logical fallacy. But where most analyzers of this world of fashion (if there is such profession) would declare fashion to be circular, I must beg to differ, as I always have been a bit deviant from the norm of beliefs.

Fashion is no circle. It is a figure eight of  i n f i n i t y .

At one point in time – in the very beginnings of the development of fashion far before runways and catwalks and Fashion Week were invented – it showed no sign of being cyclical. It was headed down a one-way avenue of unbelievable innovation and creativity that sometimes was so unique it seemed to veer off of this particular path – forming a slight curve away from its starting point. Now if fashion were supposed to be a circle – it would have shown the beginning stages of overlapping or similar characteristics. But it had shown no sign of going backwards. Instead it strut forwards, hips a-sauntering and so caught up in all its avant-garde progression it continued off track of the predicted path.

Buckle up, mes chéries, for a long ride.

alberta ferretti ss 09 21

{ Alberta Ferretti Spring/Summer 2009 ad campaign}

The roaring twenties was duly noted as fashion’s beginning on a large-scale stage. Rest assured this comes not out of my own bias, as the 1920s were my favorite time period; it was during the twenties when corsets and other such mechanisms meant to bind and oppress women were shed and a new era of fashion and lifestyles began. The risqué and unabashed luxuriousness overturned completely what women (and men) and once known. Coco Chanel brought the LBD into existence, and Paris was enlightened as the future coeur of fashion.

Then came the forties. Practicality and conservatism reigned back those drop-waist fringed skirt and slinky jazz bars with the war; there were only one practical efficient means of providing a solution. Thus the tailored and lean silhouette was born to replace the decadent drapery and excessive opulence of the decades past – evidence that we are most creative when we have the least. Fast forward a few years, post the War Board’s strict regulations, and couturier Dior has invented the “New Look” – the A-line skirt, cropped jacket, and tiny nipped waist. A new take on femininity.

The sixties and seventies defied what was once fashion. The latest fashions were products of the anti-fashion, anti-material hippies and/or raving discos and platforms and “tackiness”. It was an utter change in course from the conservatism that, according to these fashion experts, left a tainted stain in fashion’s name. But it was this unreserved insanity that made it different. And different is what makes fashion  p r o g r e s s .

But fashion begins to take a turn that begins to form the upper loop of the figure eight of infinity. Fashion has made a name for itself as the likes of Alaïa, Jean Paul Gaultier, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein. Enter the world of Parisian couture, however crude in comparison to the extravagant likes of Galliano’s Dior. An extravaganza of luxurious fabrics from afar, layered and draped and draped and layered without regulation. At the same time Japanese couturiers prevent fashion from a seemingly circular path; they brought with them a new chapter of innovation with origami-inspired knots and pleats and ubiquitous holes in sweaters to a rather surprised Paris.

Jak & Jil - roitfeld crew1

The crossroads and the makings of the lower loop of the figure eight begin in the nineties. Simple, minimalist, nostalgic nineties – a decade defined by a relapse towards the less ostentatious fashions of years past, back to it’s starting point. But here is where they say fashion as at the start of its continuum: lap two, so to speak, of a rather circular track, for are we not back to seventies boho, and eighties Japanese-inspired slashed fabrics meets Grease biker chic? Surely if today’s designers re-marketed nearly precise copies of vintage fashions, calling it cyclical would be more than sufficiently descriptive. Despite its similarity, it is being re-styled with a touch of modernism that does separate fashions revisited from the past.

So it would only make sense that the nineties would resurrect into coming runways (if we should trace our fingers along the, literal and figurative, infinity insignia), leading us to the crossroads path once again. I do have faith in our ability to create, rather than simply restyle the past – I do. Already I see such little explosions of uninhibited creativity that will lead us upwards in progression in technology-infused clothing – a surefire sign that fashion shall abandon its recycling of styles years past to recreate a new path.

But until then, fashion is simply infinity – but not quite beyond.

bisous, xx

30 Comments leave one →
  1. Hannah permalink
    4 October 2009 8:40 pm

    very interesting post! i’m interested to see which nineties trends will come back and which will be left in the past. i’m excited for all the fashions of my childhood to come back – jelly shoes, anybody?

  2. 5 October 2009 1:26 am

    My favorite post of yours so far; you are a very good writer. Love the semicircle analogy and as a 90s child myself im loving this resurgence.

  3. 5 October 2009 1:29 am

    O.k., I guess I see the logic here, how it all loops back to a similar silhouette. My god, you really tracked it all down, didn’t you? I love the spiral theory, btw.

  4. 5 October 2009 7:13 am

    What an illuminating post ! It’s one of the greatest you’ve ever written !
    I love the philosophic aspect of fashion ( in Mallarmé, Barthes, … ), it’s very problematic and fascinating !

    And that Alessandra Facchinetti show… I miss her so so much !

  5. 5 October 2009 9:58 am

    Love these pics!


  6. 5 October 2009 10:18 am

    Hey La C. This is an incredible post. I really loved it. Hope you have a fantastic week. Cheers!

  7. 5 October 2009 2:16 pm

    what an interesting post!
    have a lovely week, xoxo

  8. 5 October 2009 3:04 pm

    I love it! Very interesting and intriguing. One of your best posts yet 🙂

    – laur @ neonmango

  9. 5 October 2009 7:01 pm

    Great post, and such GORGEOUS pics!!!

  10. 6 October 2009 5:05 am

    Chère La C., quel talent de pouvoir écrire aussi bien des conseils de tenues que des articles comme celui-ci, pensés, fouillés et passionnants. Décrire les évolutions de la mode ainsi relève du tour de force, tu as saisi l’essence de chaque époque. J’ai pris beaucoup de plaisir à te lire.
    Vraiment, bravo. Bises de Paris, cœur de la mode 😉

  11. 7 October 2009 11:58 pm

    WOW! As always your words FASHIONABLY MESMERIZE ME !!!:)
    p.s. Thank YOU for such a FABULOUS post!

  12. 9 October 2009 9:41 am

    Beautiful writing as always!


  13. 9 October 2009 9:10 pm

    This is my favourite post out of all your wonderful reviews of fashion! I love how you presented the logic of fashion, thank you for this marvellous post!!! 🙂

  14. 11 October 2009 6:50 pm

    Wait. I went to and thought that was the link to your blog and then I googled it and see it is this instead. Am I confused or.. !?

    Love that last picture!

  15. 12 October 2009 9:45 am

    Very interesting point, I quite agree! A well written and interesting read, thank you! x

  16. 12 October 2009 1:40 pm

    Italians do it better! That’s right! They rock!Valentino is one of my favorites ever!

  17. 13 October 2009 1:02 pm

    i agree with you. fashion is a continuous evoluation, drawing inspirations from the past to further improve and innovate.

  18. 14 October 2009 12:30 pm

    What a great feature. I’m thankful that most of the rehashing of older trends comes with a modern twist and bursts of innovation. I’ve also loved what the Belgians and Japanese have done with fashion and the fact that it’s so widely accepted, especially in Paris, a place associated with a completely different type of chic, shows just how much people yearn for different looks.

  19. 15 October 2009 8:28 am

    wow, how gorgeous are these images!

  20. Alize Morand permalink
    15 October 2009 10:43 am

    This was such an interesting, insightful and refreshing post. Mixing new ideas with clever analysis and accurate research. Don’t you also think that some houses have designs that are sort of ‘stuck’ in an era and that make their trademark signature pieces? Although they evolve, their iconic status remains and it is often the power of marketers that just revive them to influence trends. In the same way, buyers choices from a runway, or editorial choices, completely mould the trends to come, the availability and production of pieces, and the copying from high-street, which is the main trend-setter force, that will ultimately set the tone of who wears what and what the STREET looks like. In other words, if powerful fashion opinion leader X or Y is nostalgic of an era, he or she can make it come-back! The theory of evolution of fashion? With survival of the fittest!

    BTW, did you know that I was the one who, last April, sent all the clothes for the London shooting of that Alberta Ferretti campaign you chose to illustrate? Ha, I guess that’s one contribution to the making of fashion imagery and history! 😉

    LOVING your blog as always dear! xx

  21. 15 October 2009 8:10 pm

    I miss you. Where did you go?
    Where ever it is, I hope it’s a good place.

  22. Cleo permalink
    16 October 2009 1:43 am

    i absolutley worhsip your blog! i am really new to the blogging world, so i would love it if you could stop by and check my blog feedback is totallyyy welcome! xo Cleo

  23. Adela permalink
    16 October 2009 10:29 am

    such lovely pictures!

  24. 18 October 2009 5:54 pm

    this is gorgeous<3

  25. 19 October 2009 9:55 am

    You write beautifully, Kim darling. 🙂

  26. 20 October 2009 11:42 pm

    Hey again – I gave you an award on my site. looking forward to your next post!

  27. 24 October 2009 3:08 am

    an amazing post. i love your blog, it’s one of the few i still read! thank you!


  1. shall i introduce myself again? « la couturier
  2. defining style | part I « la couturier
  3. a bit coquettish » defining style | part I

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