Sunday, December 03, 2006

Too Much Information

Dovima with Elephants by AVEDON, 1955

Information is power….....but....information in the wrong hands is disastrous. Also, wrong information in powerful hands, is equally disastrous.

An interesting comment was made in reference to my last article, Where have all the models gone?, about real models being a myth, to someone of the younger generation. My response to that comment is a statement I heard from Bernardine Morris, (New York Times and that really struck a chord in me.

“It is not what’s new that is beautiful….but what is beautiful, that is new.”
The times have indeed changed, for better or worse. However, the classics and the masters will be with us, no matter what. In 50 to 100 years, for instance, the indelible pictures of Avedon will still remind us of the art of Fashion. The art is what I really miss – more than the faces.

For me, whatever reflects the times cannot be denied. It is in the hands of the fashion editors to guide us on what is beautiful. They know the history of fashion and they are well informed as to the chronology of events in contemporary fashion. They are tuned in to the pulse of fashion and use their exacting taste and 'personal style' choices to filter, sift or interpret everything new and feed it to us. They hold the power to educate us.
When present day media takes that power from those 'in the know', because the media holds the numbers, then the art suffers.

In this day and age of google and blogging, ET and emails, Utube - Fashion is strewn all over. Who is to guide us on what is good taste and bad taste? Who will show us who are the innovators and who are the ‘pretenders’? Are we to sacrifice quality for quantity?

In my humble experience, it took 2 to 3 years for fashion to go down to the streets. A garment of a prestigious designer that is hailed by the fashion magazines, will be copied and sold en masse in the department stores (not in the designer’s name), 2 to 3 years after.
A good example of this 'trickle-down effect' is Azzedine Alaia - a creative designer who has been designing body hugging clothes from the very start. His innovative and creative art is picked up by influential fashion editors and is featured in the fashion magazines. He signs a contract with a huge Italian manufacturer to produce his ready-to-wear clothes. His design is copied by other clothing manufacturers and watered down for mass consumption. Three years after, every garment in all the department stores is body hugging. The consumer does not know that it is because of the influence of Azzedine Alaia – they only know the department stores are flooded with it. Sort of, the pyramid effect of fashion. I can only surmise that in this day and age...this process will go a lot faster.

I am one of those who believe that fashion from the top is an art form. The many artists and creative people in this industry collaborate to come up with something beautiful. (Designers with their ateliers, fashion editors with their stylists and photographers, stylists with make-up artists and hair dressers, photographers with the models, and so on). That is not to mean that street fashion is not creative - some are.

Art, of course, is for everyone - but at it's inception, it still has be discerned by people who know.
We should recognize that the fashion industry is an exclusive industry because it protects the interests of the artists and the many people who work in that industry. To a certain extent, this industry is also elitist; it is for people who understand it – the fashion editors, the stylists, the fashion press, the make-up artists, hairdressers, etc. I believe that to put it in the hands of people who don’t understand will have ramifications.

These days, it is great that Fashion reaches far and wide – that a lot of people see it, first hand. But in the end, if they don’t understand what they see…. that, in fashion lingo, is called a fashion victim.


Blogger Ernest Schmatolla said...

Give em hell Anna! You are without a doubt "The Supermodel That Thinks".

-Ernest Schmatolla, publisher

12:45 PM  
Blogger Ernest Schmatolla said...

Give them hell Anna! You are what I like to say is: "The Supermodel That Thinks"!

Keep up the great work!


Ernest Schmatolla, publisher

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly do you think people need to understand, though. I'm with you on the fashion-as-art thing but you lose me about halfway through. I'm of the opinion that art, in all forms, should be for the people, for the masses. Art is one of the absolute most important aspects of human life and should be accessible to all. I think that if people are interested in it, as so many are in fashion these days, that's going to lead to a deeper appreciation and understanding of the medium. The industry is absolutely elitist and it's one of the biggest problems with it, imho.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Gautam said...

U r the best & numero uno,
Gautam Chaudhury

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

these days, in reality it seems that there is a very thin line delineating artisans and artists amongst a throng of self declared geniuses and characters who see themselves in the league of the masters...claiming that they are "designers".."make-up artists"...and the way they are marketed or given the floor make it sound legitimate that they truly are who they believe sans the test of time....there are strokes of the phenom of Basquait in visual arts...but never quite like Phillip it Mcqueen or a street prostitue wearing his hat..the outcome comes off in the same impact. It seem that the truly respectable designers nowadays care less about explaining themselves..they let their work baffle/disturd or attach to wake up the thinking individuals involved or not in fashion industry,,,this is perfectly personified by Rei Kawakubo (who only explained her work one twice with full press release...because of the uproar it caused touching on the sensitivity of how it was interpreted...her "bumps collection" and the time she had the "Utilitarian:" look...blah blah...she worked on, enjoy and be amazed..its one is like her and she is not dependent on the figures of her "sales this year".. which is becoming the measure of the "new Designer" title nowadays)..
your blog Anna in its little way help readers like me validate who is worth following and who do we watch out for...or put a big X on the ones who talks with an exclamation point in every sentence.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you must give credit to the fashion photographer who transformed fantastic models like Kristen Mcmenamy, Guinevere van Senuss..(forgive the ws..but show me their work or a part of their face and i can tell you who they are..), Shalom Harlow, Veruschka...into GREAT models but greater personalities..(needless to say Lida Evangelista is a better print model..EVER! because of these photographers..hey even Karl Lagerfeld wants to be one!)
and ANNA you are GREAT in those Mugler photo fashion book...
more power..
Filipiniana Magnifica

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Anna Bayle blog is, I believe in the views of discussions on fashion, art and taste..let us put a line on what is fine art and massive "K-mart" art or in terms of commercial patronage...

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is the most interesting, inspiring fashion? the answer to that question is greatly subjective because there are varying levels of taste which naturally stem from varying levels of interest and sophistication. there is always bad taste as there is always good taste (now THAT is purely subjective). agreement will never be quite unanimous. especially in this day and age when women wear short skirts one day and long ones the next, pegged pants yesterday, palazzos today, and clam diggers tomorrow! truly, never has there been a time of such un-uniformity, of such sartorial freedom. fashion has become so very varied AND so very fickle. whatever is a girl to do?...

i guess the challenge for any designer nowadays is to create work that is SIGNIFICANT to current lifestyles, trains of thought, activity, and sensibility. each designer has an interpretation of all these things and the one whose work resonates most effectively is the one who is celebrated. mary quant and the youthquake of the sixties, dvf and ysl and halston and bra-burning in the seventies, mugler's and montana's shoulders coupled with calvin klein's easy american style as women marched into the workplace in solid power-assertion of the 80's, armani's sobering minimalism againts versace's flamboyance and tom ford's sexy gucci amid the personality and image and sex obsessed, dichotomous nineties, marc jacobs' luxury cyber-youth granny chic spin hand-in-hand with the vintage-pre-occupation and dollar signs of the early 2000's... blah blah blah... fashion has become very mainstream because people see it more. there are so many magazines, there's, project runway, the ubiquitous red carpet, on and on. it's like a van gogh ran through a xerox machine and you end up with 10000 copies. there doesn't seem to be anything special about fashion anymore.

maybe this is why they say haute couture is dead because everything is truly now for the masses. but i think it's not quite dead yet because we still see some of it around, thank God! an inny-inny-tiny fraction of the world buys haute couture but it has always been the playground of the true designer. of course lesser mortals scoff at couture offerings but you and i know it's only because they simply do not understand (funny how they finally "get it" five years down the line; they always do or at least one would hope). however, i don't blame them because a lot of the stuff is truly pretty far out and it hits you right in the face when you first see 'em. but if only people could see couture for the "idea," you know...

couture is an art form. beyond intelligence and creativity, haute couture is for the brave. not only does it take true talent to come up with something new, innovative, unique and beautiful, it takes guts - to do it, to show it, to celebrate it, and ultimately, to share it. some people say that couture is insignificant but i beg to disagree. if there were no couture, we all might as well be wearing potato sacks everywhere, everyday, forever and ever. most people don't realize (especially before miranda priestly's wonderful monologue; some of you readers understand what i'm saying here) that what we wear now evolved from an ensemble sashaying down a designers runway eleventeen hundred years ago. you know what miranda means?

personally, i do not care what the critics say, particularly those insipid so-called "style gurus" on tv who in their self-agrandizing and uncreative cataract perceptions are kings and queens of mediocrity. i'd like to see chalayan make more robot dresses, and more armor from galiano (i love the new stuff he did!; that armor is the new montana shoulder pad! talk about the empowerment of women!). i want my heart to beat fast. i want to get excited. designers who are intelligent and brave do it for me because they have vision and oh how inspired they are...

cheers anna and take care...

juan miguel

4:22 AM  

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