When too little is too much
Sydney Fashion Week is supposed to be about clothes. The 2018 edition of Fashion Week, however, is about almost the complete absence of them.
This is an interesting development, and for many parents a potentially worrying one.
For the past several years the fashion industry has made much of becoming more socially aware, addressing issues such as fat-shaming and eating disorders. Plus-size models are now far from a novelty.
Likewise, the industry has come to appreciate the deleterious possibilities in promoting dramatically slender body shapes — shapes all but unobtainable for healthy young women. The fashion industry knows it has a broader societal role beyond dresses and hem lengths. How, then, do we square that with Fashion Week’s presentation of near-naked women strolling around in clothes so revealing that photographs of them must be cropped for presentation in family newspapers?
What message does this send to those most influenced by fashion — young girls and women? And how are parents supposed to deal with the mainstreaming of nudity?
Even some fashionistas have been startled this week by the absolute minimalism on display.
At the highly anticipated I. AM. GIA show on Wednesday night, reporters noted fashion experts appearing alarmed by the amount of skin on parade.
As The Daily Telegraph reported: “Magazine editors and fashionistas sat open-mouthed as practically naked women sashayed down the catwalk in the resort wear collection.”
One designer, who declined to be named, nailed the issue with one brief comment.
“The taste level was questionable,” she said. “It felt like they were making things shocking for the sake of shocking. It would be hard for the everyday woman to wear a lot of the collection.”
Good call. If the virtue of Fashion Week is measured in column inches and television coverage, then mission accomplished. If it is measured by social worth, we’re looking at a massive fail.
Perhaps that should be the test. Can the garments conceivably be worn as street wear by normal, sensible women?
If the answer is “no” then Fashion Week might be missing its mission.
It isn’t selling clothes. It’s buying stares.