I was pillaging the show archives of Style.com last week for a forthcoming project. I was particularly impresses that the ready to wear and couture archives do go back to 2000 and I'm sure if I put in a request there would be a few for the end of the 20th century.
One thing I got struck by - possibly with the exception of Galliano was how under styled most of the shows were. Now a runway show has to not just sell the clothes but a whole look to boot. I'm not saying that shows didn't focus on hair, makeup, shoes or necklaces before but I was struck how the shift has gone more to creating ideas than garments. Not every designer resorts to this, Balmain is a case in point. The A/W 2009 collection was the most translated to the high street and it is no co-incidence the presentation of the collection was almost peachy clean in respect of the clothes doing the talking.
Balmain A/W 2009
It seems the stylist has blurred the old school routine of catwalk to editorial to consumer. Now its is collection to consumer (partly due to blogging) with magazines having to shoot fashion in more creative ways. Most consumers are not blogging and still get their collection visions from a wealth of fashion magazines, and those who don't read anything other than Country Living or the Boden catalogue, don't. (I did buy this months Country Living, it seemed the right thing to do on a shop in Waitrose) For some clothes and dressing passes them by.
I'm not suggesting for one minute that the spectacle of a show shouldn't happen but I was transported back to a time, not that long ago, when quelle horreur the front row was comprised of fashion editors and buyers and flat shoes were on some of their feet. Although the designer was presenting a collection for you to buy into, there seemed less of a desire to control the overall interpretation.
Don't get me wrong I do like a shift in makeup and hair but I'm beginning to understand why Wintour stays within a look that not only transcends the vagaries of design but enables her to access the merits of a collection with a more dispassionate eye.
I became beguiled by Dries Van Noten's 2000 Fall Ready to Wear collection and was reminded why I fell in love with Marc Jacobs with his collection of the same year. I've failed to embrace 'fierce' and these collections remind me why - I'm just a Bloomsbury set gal meets Park Ave Princess.
Whilst most of you have no need in your daily toil to look back in detail at collections, if you do find a few moments then go back in time and see what inspires you for a clue to your style preferences. It helps to create a wardrobe of style not just high fashion.