What is modern?

In Fashion on July 26, 2010 at 6:08 pm

In January of 1984, American Vogue made a tribute to modernity. Sally Ride was the first woman to head into space, the Olympics presented more opportunities for women and the runways liberated our bodies with men’s clothing. Hair was also significantly shorter. Athletes and models were praised for being womanly rather than emaciated. As with the clothes, the ideals of ‘men’s’ attire meant we preferred a looser, more serious wardrobe to that of the glitz and sex from the `70s.

Giorgio Armani made jackets in masculine cuts, while Donna Karan and Calvin Klein capitalized on minimalism.  Grey jersey dresses and wide-leg trousers meant we were tired of the fuss. Could this have been a much-needed women’s revolution?

Fast forward to 2010. Giorgio has launched Armani Privé, a sparkling collection of evening dresses and gowns, and Calvin Klein, while still true to minimalism, is severely feminine. Floral was ubiquitous by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Erdem. Viktor & Rolf bathed their collection in Tulle and Michael Kors laced his runway with furs. Models are now a size 0 or smaller. Hair is longer, braided and tossed to the side, or, free flowing and playful. If there is a hint of womanly, it’s in the form of the sultry Lara Stone, who, despite being a buxom blond, possesses the face of an innocent Lolita. The closest thing to grown-up on the runway is a dominatrix sashaying in leather as seen in Hermès. Then there’s the complete morbidity of Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh. No matter which way you look at it, fashion appears to be going through puberty. It’s taken ten steps back.

Michelle Obama is a cultural step forward being a woman of colour. But she is essentially a traditionalist: her physique is powerful, but she revels in the frills of pretty. And our heroes of today, hard as it is to believe, are girls from the flimsy world of reality TV – it’s no wonder fashion is in such a state.

If fashion is influenced by current events, it’s surely stuck in a rut. There’s a need for that modern-essence that gave it such clear direction back in 1984.

  1. Mrs Obama definitely inspirational, she has great fashions sense and brains!

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