Tag Archives: Video

Giorgio Armani, 1984

“The Armani look of studied simplicity has such strength it tends to make conventionally designed women’s clothes look overdone.”

– BERNADINE MORRIS, 1983

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If On a Winter’s Night A Traveler

Carly Simon, 1982

Happy Valentines Day

Isaac Mizrahi, 2011

Confectioner’s cakes, colored poodles, giant bows? Mizrahi cheerfully digs into American upper class cliché, activating his signature sarcastic wit, given life through his unique vision of classicism and kitsch. It’s a frightful and delightful amalgam of camp and couture and despite the show dogs and pastry chefs there are some really exquisite clothes, some of his best in years. Transforming his oxymoronic themes into an exploration of subdued turbid color, discreetly ostentatious form, and quietly loud prints, the result is far more complex than a quick gander might perceive. It’s about Mizrahi’s humor; his ability to bastardize the magnificently mundane and make from it wearable, elegant and strange clothes. It’s also Mizrahi’s sophistication, beginning with his initial experiments at subverting couture fantasy and American ease over two decades ago; when he first brought American fashion up to speed with the post-modern currents that would define the 90s. And now 20 years later and in a much quieter spot, far removed fron the roar and din that had greeted his debut, the crowned prince of American fashion still doesn’t have a thing to prove.

Michael Kors, 1993

Kors hesitantly cites the 1970’s as an inspriation but what he really means are the ’30s. It’s an easy enough mistake as the ’70s mined its long lean line, relaxed volumes, and easy casual spirit from that post-depression, inter-war period, and so the two are not all that different. But as it was reprised in the early ’90s, in the form of minimalist luxurious sportswear, the essence is more true to that earlier decade. For Kors and Lauren it served as a refreshing inspiration, especially after a decade of excess, but they aren’t the first to realize it, Armani  had known all along.

The Space Age, 1969

In 1969, West German television program PARIS AKTUELL broadcasted the future through choreographed fashion vignettes set to the tune of Piero Piccioni and Mike Melvoin. The films capture a whole decade’s worth of dreams, built on rocketships to the stars. The Space Age would be a defining era, holding promise for the world of tomorrow. For designers Cardin, Rabanne, and Courreges, it would be a true romance. While their fascinations with the future proved to be no more than a fancy of the imagination, their eloquence and conviction of expression is certainly something to ponder.

Versace, 1994

 

At a certain point Versace’s rococo ambitions would cede to the shifting mood of the ’90s, parlaying his outlandish style into something sleeker, cleaner, and just us titillating. Versace was always an ingenious cutter, even if the years of tromp l’oeil prints and gem embellishments obscured that, and so the shift would only open up another realm of discovery. Most notable is the finale of safety-pin dresses, one most famously worn by Elizabeth Hurley — nothing more scandalous, suggestive, and yet minimal than a dress barely pinned at the seams. Also noteworthy is the young Kate Moss opening the show; a total contradiction of the Amazonian Versace woman, literally pale in comparison to a Naomi Campbell or Veronica Web, she would represent a new ideal for the next decade and then some. The lack of irony and cynicism is remarkable, it’s totally optimistic and speaks as much to the era’s unique outlook in a transitional moment as it does to Gianni’s relentless search for classical romance and celebration of life. There is an undeniable confidence, both sexually and artistically, and an assured sense of joyousness. If it seems vaguely banal today, or even trite, it was only just as fresh and inspiring in 1994.