January 27, 2009

I love this passage from Cathy Horyn's blog today

Despite the fact that some of us daily reporters were summoned to IMG the other day and asked by Fern Mallis not to write the "Who would wear this in this economy" story -- I love how Cathy Horyn does it today in her blog:
"The way I see it is that all the men’s designers have to prove to the consumers that they need these clothes. There must be a compelling reason, if your standards are high and your budget—well, isn’t budging. Givenchy? Not a believable vision. Galliano? Been there, Jack Sparrow. Dior Homme? Wasn’t this a cool label once? Lanvin? Seductive and romantic, the clear fashionista favorite. Number (N)ine? Crazy delightful, worth it if you have $2,500 plus to spend for one of the Flemish-colored jackets. Saint Laurent? Drab and unimaginative. Rick Owens? Original but I don’t want to know what the wearer’s hobbies are. Raf Simons? The fit is the compelling reason, nothing more, nothing less. Comme des Garcons? A good season for eclectic pieces, including the leopard pumps. Dunhill? Pointless things done to clothes, with the formality of a boutique hotel uniform."

I think maybe this is where the fashion market, maybe not high-end luxury fashion-fashion, but everything else, the mass market, all the way up to the $450 silk shift print dresses girls have been (inexplicably) buying at stores like Intermix and Scoop for the past five years, has gone wrong. Save a handful of designers, so few of the others have actually created a compelling reason over the past five to ten years. Menswear is different, I think, because menswear has had a brilliant run over the last ten years, I think it even sort of outdoes the wow-factor of most of womenswear, if you look at the last few years. It's been hard to find a compelling reason lately, and maybe it's because designers have been lulled into complacency by a flush market. One year, two seasons later, and everything's turned around. This market demands more. It's not enough to buy some fabric, slap a label on it, and price it at $1000, sorry. There has to be a compelling reason. I like that phrase.