Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Merry-Go-Round of Minimalism Today

Phoebe Philo's strict, assured Fall 2010 outing at Celine

We've been whining about a need for cleaner, more sobering elements in fashion, and while we fell for Pheobe Philo's recent efforts at Celine, there's come a point to looking at the Fall 2010 collections where one must consider this: how will you be able tell many of these collections apart since everyone's jumped on the minimalist bandwagon and the camel coat brigade? Yes, Philo was on-the-money with her straight-forward, easy pieces after a decade overcome by aggressive "fierceness" & urbania, but with daily sound bites from every editor touching upon a "need for serenity" after they were calling out for "a need for uniqueness" last season, you've got to think that this minimal movement will be as ephemeral as the nature of fashion is itself.

Another thought that came to mind when surveying last season(or really the next, Spring 2010) and Fall 2010 is how three of today's strongest female designers , Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo at Celine and Hannah MacGibbon at Chloe, seemed to have similar trains of thought. Sure they are English, have worked for Chloe, and truly did deliver. However, it seems uncanny that while all three do have varied approaches, they are in the end delivering the same message. That's not to say that each of their past & recent collections are not stand-outs, because they were & are, but it does seem to hit at fashion's bigger problem. That being that fashion moves so fast, and that there are so many designers & labels to turn to throughout the world, that after a while, everything homogenizes into one fleeting message, and that too on a very shaky foundation.

Different Messages on the Same Ground:

Stella McCartney Fall 2010

Looking at Stella McCartney we understand that it takes confidence for a designer to send out a pair of black leggings topped with a slim sweatshirt amidst a mainly minimal outing, but we have to wonder where the cool & quirky factor McCartney is known for injecting alongside her love of lace & tailoring went? What the hell is Alexa Chung gonna wear? It felt devoid of that irresistible insouciance we've admired for so long.

Chloe Fall 2010

While Hannah MacGibbon's been on a roll during her brief time at Chloe, and while she scored again with an acute take on classic & lush 70's preppyness that strikes a chord with next season's "serenity now" cry for minimalism, we have to ask again, where's the coolness? Philo was successful at repositioning the house as if a naive girl was rummaging through her mother's old YSL collections, not her father's Brooks Brothers cache. The ease here felt a bit too basic, but then again, that's not to say that it didn't look good, because it did.

Celine Fall 2010

And while Phoebe Philo has started out with a big bang of wearable separates geared for the working girls of today, grabbing the attention of scores of copyists high & low, her Fall 2010 outing, while beautiful, failed to deliver an entirely new message and a new set of ideas. Take the mix of navy & black or the look we've posted above, which in one of our minds seems to be more an ode to Yohji Yamamoto signatures than a fresh, sensational message. And while the Forever 21's out there will never be able to replicate the beautiful fabrics and precise tailoring of the collection, it's lack of personality and overwhelming strictness made this attempt feel a bit flat and vague.

And that's the problem with the way the fashion winds seem to be blowing for next fall, with so many re-thought basics and no frills fun, how can one stand-out, where is the filler? We aren't all gallerina's, and when you make the sex in severity so subversive you leave little behind to play with and drones of girls around the world in mumsy wool shifts. It's not really going to work, and until then, we feel a little unfulfilled by it all.

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