In looking over the Spring 2014 collections, I’m alternately enjoying the high art of it all, i.e. Valentino’s operatically inspired looks http://www.wwd.com/runway/spring-couture-2014/review/valentino/slideshow/7388143#/slideshow/article/7388083/7388084 and appalled at the extreme thinness of some of the models. http://www.valentino.com/en/collections/haute-couture/ This particular collection was one of my favourites for the simultaneous lushness and delicacy, not to mention the source of its inspiration. Having grown up a bit in the world of opera, I loved the melodramatic nature of it, blowing every human emotion and situation up to the extremes of love/hate/anger/compassion/tenderness. Since I left, I find myself not enjoying the extremes that much, yet here I am in another world that exalts them.
The comparison between fashion’s high art and extreme thinness is fairly operatic in and of itself, and similar to the things experienced in ballet and other stringent disciplines that require participants to subject their bodies to some serious indignities in order to achieve impossible images. Just like the opera that inspired this collection, I can see the lush beauty in the stitching, careful layering of textures, delicate ornamentation and gossamer fabric. It’s a feast for the eyes with lots of different things to see. I can also see the sadness in a body being used simply as a hanger/mannequin for this kind of beauty, being a kind of slave to the garment.
I wish that the art of the fashion world could extend to different canvases, in fact, I wonder if the designers are even up to the challenge. Instead of making the models fit the garments by starving and punishing them, how about making the garments fit the models and really take up the challenge of creating this kind of high art on a canvas that’s uniquely built? There’s room in our world to see this kind of luscious beauty on different shapes and sizes. Let’s see it start on the runways.