The National - News - Luxury - - HIGHLIGHTS - Selina Den­man, edi­tor

D es­ign, in all its forms, is un­der­go­ing a seis­mic shi . Fash­ion is a prime ex­am­ple – the way we cre­ate it, the way we con­sume it, the way we present it and even the way we write about it, is chang­ing rad­i­cally. The re­sult, at this point in time, is com­plete chaos.

Over the last month, de­sign­ers have shown their cre­ations on run­ways in New York, Lon­don, Mi­lan and Paris. Some pre­sented spring/sum­mer 2018 col­lec­tions, oth­ers un­veiled see-now, buy-now or “Septem­ber” lines that went on sale im­me­di­ately. In Mi­lan, Livia Firth spear­headed the Green Car­pet Fash­ion Awards and cel­e­brated sus­tain­able ini­tia­tives; on the high street, the fast-fash­ion model whirred on un­abated. Some de­sign­ers stuck with the for­mula and sent stick-thin mod­els down the run­way; oth­ers em­braced a more cur­va­ceous sil­hou­ette (the New York shows, in par­tic­u­lar, pre­sented a heart­en­ingly di­verse rep­re­sen­ta­tion of fem­i­nin­ity). Global fash­ion be­he­moths and arch ri­vals LVMH and Ker­ing joined forces to ban the use of size-zero mod­els and those un­der the age of 16. And then, to con­fuse mat­ters fur­ther, Maria Grazia Chi­uri, creative di­rec­tor of Dior (an LVMH brand) pre­sented a show that cel­e­brated fem­i­nist artist Niki de Saint Phalle, but went on to make head­lines for re­mind­ing the world that, ac­tu­ally, “not all peo­ple can be a model … it’s a job”. Her ex­pla­na­tion: “We work on a Stockman dummy. It is size 37 … So we need the girls who have the tal­ent and are nat­u­rally born in this size.”

Clearly, the old sys­tems are break­ing down, and the tra­di­tional prac­tice of creat­ing a sin­gle, sea­sonal col­lec­tion, show­ing it months be­fore it hits stores, as part of a closed, in­dus­try-only event, is dy­ing a slow death. Whether this is a pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive thing re­mains to be seen.

With such dis­rup­tion un­der way, ex­ist­ing value sys­tems are also shi ing. The things we covet, col­lect and im­bue with value (per­ceived or real) are chang­ing. And so pens be­come in­vest­ment items, even though, in a digital age, we hardly use them (page 18); trainers, a long-stand­ing sym­bol of un­der­ground coun­ter­cul­ture, be­come a lux­ury ac­qui­si­tion (page 30); and a pair of crusty Nike shoes cre­ated in 1989, as a pre­dic­tion of what the fu­ture might look like, sell at auc­tion for more than Dh150,000 (page 50).

Also shi ing are per­cep­tions of mas­culin­ity and suc­cess – at least ac­cord­ing to Ger­man fash­ion brand Hugo Boss. The com­pany has an­nounced that Chris Hemsworth is the new face of its Boss Bot­tled fra­grance (page 26). Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Ryan Reynolds and Ger­ard But­ler, the Thor ac­tor and all-round nice guy is fronting a new cam­paign for the fra­grance, en­ti­tled Man of To­day, which is be­ing po­si­tioned as an ex­plo­ration of cur­rent def­i­ni­tions of mas­culin­ity and suc­cess. “There have been times when I’ve done things and it’s felt like a line,” Hemsworth says of Man of To­day. “Whereas this par­tic­u­lar cam­paign re­ally spoke to me. I think it is a great, pos­i­tive mes­sage and mis­sion state­ment about liv­ing your life with in­tegrity and pas­sion and hon­esty, and suc­cess not be­ing mea­sured by the ma­te­rial things we at­tain, but by the ideals you live your life by.”

The world may be in a state of flux, but that’s a mes­sage that we hope will res­onate.

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