Hello Everyone, hope all are well. It’s been awhile since I’ve been here and I have a couple of post in mind to keep my blog actively going. With a new career comes with a lot of responsibilities. Alas, let’s get this post going..
This post was inspired by a conversation with a friend of mine about Alber Elbaz’s sudden departure from Lanvin to Raf Simmons resignation at Dior. My friend brought up Alexander Wang’s exit at Balenciaga but since I wrote about that, I will not write about it in this post, and also because to me, Wang was a bad fit for Balenciaga. Not discrediting his skills or vision but Wang, again to me, if not French fashion. The pattern that we kept coming to was, “Is fashion moving too fast, that all these designers are getting burnt out?” My friend and I are both in the fashion industry, although a designer herself, she agrees with “women’s wear moving too fast” It is the same thing Tom Ford said, watch Vogue Voice, and he says, “Menswear is easy, it all about finding the right fit and then altering certain things to it… Womenswear is fast and changing with each season that it is hard to keep up.”
For Alber, to take a French House like Lanvin with a rich history of 125 years in fashion and make it relevant in just 14 years, that is magnificent work. I am going to say that his collections were a hit or miss to me. As an admirer of fashion and a person who looks at 85% of all the seasons collections, I liked most of what Alber presented. I did like the lightness, the very feminine lines, the cuts and the overabundance of heavy jeweled style. At times, I felt like he was repetitive but still liked the overall collection. I will give credit to Alber for making Lanvin relevant in these times, I believe is was Bianca Jagger that said it best, “There is French Fashion and then there is Lanvin.” He transformed Lanvin into a powerhouse once again. Alber was pushing Lavin into the future. Taking the house into the next phase and surpassing the 200 year mark. I just hope that the one to take over can fill his shoes and be able to push the house forward.
Raf Simons at Christian Dior Haute Couture debut collection was magnificent. Raf went back to the roots of the Dior house and delivered a stylish show. I loved it to pieces. I was a bit sad to see Raf leave Jil Sanders. Raf, really popularized the brand something that Jill herself struggled to do at times. Not discrediting her but she missed the mark a few times. Raf in an emotional designer. He said it himself that he injects his emotions in all of his designs. I did like Raf at Dior, I felt like he understood Christian’s vision as a designer. He often is crediting on many interviews that he could never identify the Dior woman. Like the following statement: “The Chanel woman? I don’t even need to see, I smell her from round the corner, but I don’t recognize the Dior woman,” Simons told Vogue UK in 2012, shortly after debuting his first Dior collection. “I want to work on that fast. Chanel has the deux-pièces with the pockets, or the bouclé, but what is it for Dior nowadays? I can’t say.” Which I agree with his words, the Dior woman was a bit lost under Galliano. Now the lookout for a new designer to fill big shoes of three years will be tough to do.
All this research and conversation about fashion moving too fast. About these famous fashion houses competing with these big retailers that are the core of fast fashion like H&M, Zara and Forever 21. Why are these houses looking into being like them? Or are they simply trying to be a step ahead of them? I think the point of fast fashion is about timing, they can take about 6 weeks to shoot out the following seasons trends and have them now, “why wait?” is the overall mentality and the real reason behind “fast fashion”. So is that the reason designers are running out of gas, creatively. In one year, they do 2 ready-to-wear collections, 2 preseason (if you’re lucky), 2 Haute Couture collections (if that is an option you offer) and lets not forget if you also provide bridal that’s another 2 collections per year. So all in all it’s 6 collections a year, maybe 8 if you also do menswear. On top of that, as a creative director/brand owner, you have to deal with advertisement, accessory designs, handbags, perfumes etcetera. I mean I am already tired by just listing the many things that are need to keep every project moving forward.
Alber has always been vocal about the pressures of being creative on demand. In an interview with Style in 2010 he is quoted saying, “You can’t do six collections a year. And I think this is actually what is making fashion be the way it is today. I know a lot of people complain that there is not enough change and that fashion in the past was much more creative than today, and I think a big part of this phenomenon is that we don’t have the time to think, we don’t have the time to project, we don’t have the time to digest.” and in all isn’t that what we are taught in school or even in our respective career, to process each idea fully and to build on it?
Then again it makes me wonder if this the reason on why many established designers with their own brands always end up leaving their second job, sort of speak. When Oscar de la Renta was at Balmain in the 90’s, Michael Kors at Céline, Alexander McQueen at Givenchy, Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton and even Tom Ford for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. I’m sure they experienced stress. Then let’s look at the other designers who do multiple show a season. Giorgio Armani does his own line, Emporium and Prive and menswear. Muiccia does Prada, Miu Miu and menswear. I mean these are like 4 different sister categories on their own.
Let’s not forget the Grand Master himself, Karl Lagerfeld, that at one point was designing for three houses at one time and collaborated designs for his own brand Lagerfeld Gallery. At one point the Lagerfeld was designing for Chloé, Fendi and Chanel. So, just imagine of all the things that have been mentioned on this post and times it my 3, that is a lot of work. Yet, I’m sure Lagerfeld had an amazing team for each house. Chloé, is currently off his list but Lagerfeld is active in the fashion industry that he is always doing one thing and another. Just go online and research his projects.
So, is fashion moving too fast? or a new designers loosing their passion? How can one designer, at one point, helm three famous fashion houses and make it seem like a walk in the park? How can the one designer not be able to helm one house with so much history? It can be the board members, it can be their own in-house team, it can be this or that. In my opinion I do believe that fashion is moving too fast. As consumers, we are demanding new trends, more advanced technologies and we are grown impatient. I think we should go back to the basics. Make fashion more of a fantasy, that is what I like, that is the reason I decided to go after a career in fashion. When you lose the fantasy in fashion you also lose the creativity. And after all fashion is about fantasy.
Sorry for this long post. the more i researched the more i wanted to add.