Monday, 21 March 2011

Last of The Great Pretenders?

Allow your attention to be given to the fact that I have used another Queen reference as a blog title; next I'll be ambling around my room with a thick moustache and tight leather skirt on singing about how I want to break free, but that's no reference to Queen...

For the last couple of weeks, and after viewing the reinvention of the Thierry Mugler brand by Nicola Formichetti, I have been the question; "What will happen to theatre in fashion?". The mundane and ordinary are two things we all both fear and savor. We are all a bit scared of blending-in and considering within society we are very small voices, we all like attention at our cores. On the other hand, we cling to routine, familiarities and labels in order for us to simplify and remain comfortable in our every day lives.

Gaga voguing on the runway for the Thierry Mugler A/W at Paris Fashion Week.

In my own opinion, there are two types of fashion designers and visionaries; those who aim to comfort and pleasure the world and those who aim to challenge and take their audience out of their comfort zone. To look back at Alexander McQueen's spring/summer collection of 2001 and absorb the disturbing yet innately satisfying content is in some ways a contrast to many of the catwalks and runways of this year's fashion weeks. This can be applied to other designers such as Thierry Mugler himself, arguably the pioneer of such extravagant and extreme fashion presentations, who understand that it's important to get the ideology of a collection across to his audience.

Throughout the 1990's and 2000's we have all been treated to catwalks that could easily be placed in the same arena and many experimental films or pieces of theatre. A mixture of striking couture, eery and elaborate props and scenery and the most gaunt, and sometimes violated, looking models you would see on a a runway. Some people may choose to describe theses shows, especially in the case of McQueen, as glamorised visions of a freak show or morbid fantasies played out to a hungry fashion press. But 'mundane and ordinary' are two words that you could struggle to apply to these 'happenings' and they have never failed to create buzz and hype about a particular collection or designer. In many cases, the garments speak for themselves.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2001

I don't want to drift off topic and discuss Mugler's new Frankenstein-ish appearance that only Jocelyn Wildenstein could love! But with his disassociation from the Mugler brand, the death of the late great Lee McQueen and the recent shameful exit from Dior by John Galliano, I think it will very interesting to see if the next elites of fashion; Gareth Pugh, Formichetti or even the most recent creative director of Gucci, Frida Giannini, have much offer in the way of drama or theatre. Maybe the future of fashion is a fusion with other genres of pop culture; perhaps music or cinema? We shall wait intrepidly.

If you fancy having a look at McQueen's collections, and like looking at glossy, high resolution photos, I would recommend a book called 'Alexander McQueen: Genius of a Generation' by Kristin Knox. It retails at around £19.99 in places like Urban Outfitters but I got mine for about £12 off Amazon. Definitely worth the money! 

I think I'm going to do another blog on John Galliano for reasons that I will explain at the time. Who knew a cold could breed so much cyber-prose. I do hope I'm not boring anyone, and if I am, KMT!

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