I recently wrote a blog post, where I commented on an article on Vogue – an interview with Anthony Vacarello about his new role as creative Director for YSL, and how his interpretation of the brand was more a question of the YSL attitude than the actual clothes. As I also ended up concluding, this is perhaps wiser, as it’s hard to imitate a Grand Styliste, and as also design aesthetics and women’s needs have changed, there’s in any case a need of doing something new (no surprise). What continues to fascinate me, though, and turn around in my mind, is this notion of attitude before clothes, and it makes me reflect upon, why fashion street style and photo shoots in magazines are so popular.
Let’s start with last-mentioned; photo shoots. We all know, how great it is to flip through a glossy fashion mag! Wise people predicted that hard copy editions were dead with the rise of online media, and the online format has indeed taken its part of the limelight, but hard copy prints are far from dead. It’s an excellent example of how we humans don’t always prefer the practical and cheapest solution, but are driven by irrationality and feelings – with other words emotions. This is very practical for the fashion industry, which lives on emotions.
Despite the amount of fashion photos available on all sorts of platforms in all imaginable expressions and styles from all over the world, we never tire of a great fashion shoot, do we? Fashion photography is a celebrated art form, and so are the big photographers, who have celebrity status. Photo shoots have a certain attitude – or mood it’s normally called in this context – and it’s just great to discover and be conveyed of what’s being proposed. It’s a mix of styling, location and the model; their individual mood/attitude and the blend of the components.
During fashion weeks, there are numerous features also on fashion street style, and they’re normally ordered by location e.g Seoul, Paris, London. Street shoots may not have as long a tradition as photo shoots, and the tendency was mainly born with digital technology being available to everyone as smart phones with decent cameras and social platforms for instant uploads. While I’m not going to argue the delight of seeing a new fashion collection from an exciting brand during fashion week, I do think, it’s just as exciting to check out the street style of the fashion crowd, models and other cool cats and also saying for where fashion is heading. It’s a more independent voice, and you see a lot of different proposals by fashionistas, who sit somewhere between consumers and trend-setters. No doubt they mix garments, and clothing is the language and communication form, but it’s as much about the attitude of the wearer.
There are numerous quotes on how fashion shouldn’t steal the attention from the person, beauty comes from the inside etc., but it really is exciting, how much of a look is actually the clothing, how much is the styling, and how much is a cool looking individual with a great attitude.
I recently stumbled upon another Vogue article of how Claudia Schiffer had launched her own knitwear collection. I looked over it and fell in love with a red sweater. It looked great on the photo and with Claudia’s super blond hair. If you look closer, you realise that the sweater is fairly plain, which is fine for everyday use, but the interesting point remains, how much we actually fall in love with the sweater, and how much we fall in love with Claudia in that sweater in that shoot. As Schiffer is fairly famous, we may have associations about her that seduces us, but if she was an unknown face, it could be her attitude that attracts us. In this case, my associations were positive, but they could have been negative too, and it sometimes happen to me that I see great fashion pieces by brands, I love, but featured on models, I don’t associate with, and therefore I end up not really liking brand or product anymore.
So, there are a lot of emotions to take into account, and it really questions how much fashion today is actually about the garment (as we’re not really short of garments with the offer in all price classes), and how much it’s about attitude – or the intangible allure that lies around it. I guess, the word ‘attitude’ could be replaced with marketing, and in that case no one can argue its utmost importance. The question then remains, if it’s about the clothing or the marketing?
Cover photo of Luna Bijl.