‘THE THINGS WE COVET, COLLECT AND IMBUE WITH VALUE (PERCEIVED OR REAL) ARE CHANGING’
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.