Now You Know: The Role of Clothing in a Woman's Life Today
“Every designer in the world that I know hates doing pre-collections,” said the designer Alber Elbaz on stage at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday evening.
Elbaz, the artistic director of Lanvin, is actually partly responsible for the current frenzy of resort shows happening in New York. He invited the press to view some of his pre-season clothes more than a decade ago, interested in editors’ reactions, and inadvertently kicked off what is now a full season, since every other designer followed suit. It’s more work for everyone, but also lots of enjoyable clothes, and, as he noted at his presentation earlier in the week, the pre-collection is time for reflecting on the season ahead, and the role of clothing in a modern woman’s life.
“What is the life we are living today?” Elbaz asked at the Met, where he was interviewed by the journalist Alina Cho. “More and more I realize people are not really talking today, they are posting. They are not really listening, they are taping. And they are not really looking, but they are filming. In that world of taping, and filming, and posting, I thought the one thing in common to all of it is that we want to capture the moment.”
His pre-collection, more than any other over the last two weeks, acknowledged that reality with clothes that were designed, he said, to be photographed. Vibrant colors and vibrant prints, “and everything that was actually a little bit loud.” His stage was the set of a reality television show, with rooms created entirely of paper (fake furniture, animals, a crushed car – all sculptures made by the artist Cyril Hatt using photographs that are stitched and stapled together in the shapes of the objects they are meant to depict; pictured, above). It was a nod to the Instagram culture, and even the models spent the duration of the presentation texting on their cellphones.
“Today, it’s not just going on vacation and enjoying the moment, but you have to go on vacation with photogenic friends,” he said, calling out all of his fashion editor friends who post from their always marvelous-looking destinations. “When you go to a restaurant it’s not really about eating, but does the food look good? When you dress, it’s not how comfortable you are or how beautiful you feel, but how it looks in a picture.”
The resort shows, in fact, have been filled with Instagram moments (and they all appear here on this page). Stella McCartney, as is her tradition, threw a garden party, where models in melon and citrus colored parachute gowns danced to Cuban music, twirling nonstop for editors and the camera phones (pictured, above). Sonia Rykiel’s artistic director Julie de Libran took over the garden of Ladurée in SoHo for an outdoor café showing, where, unfortunately, it started to rain, but fortunately, her designs included all the colors of a happy rainbow, and many fantastically textured pieces that looked like bouclé, but were, in fact, tweeds of the designer’s own creation (pictured, below).
Marc Jacobs, too, showed a highly decorative collection (pictured, below) in which ornamentation appeared as mirrored lace and dazzling doodads on tweed jackets laced with silver threads, an extravagant and exuberant fashion rush that called out, "take my picture."