It is generally accepted that the turn of the century is the time of postmodernity, therefore, quotes, including self-quotes, "replicas" and inspirations from the past, surprise no one. Recently, however, the citation density has amazed even seasoned fashion critics. Observers sadly write that fashion turns into endless variations of itself at the moments of its greatest success and upsurge - first of all, in the “obese” 80s, when it was bright, impressive and self-sufficient.
Tommy Hilfiger, the embodiment of not just the 80s, but the 80s in America, who was invited to develop a capsule for the major American mass-market brand Urban Outfitters, did not find anything better than to quote himself - all of the same penultimate decade of the last century. And to quote carefully to the point of caricature, with scrupulous reproduction of details - from silhouettes to the outline of the old logo.
The Russian designer Gosha Rubchinsky, who has recently been praised in the West, exploits the Soviet style of the 80s. What is the problem? Why don't designers want to create something drastically new? “The problem is that the fashion machine is driven by marketing, which is the taste of the majority. And most people don't like something complicated. When everything is aimed at quick sales and easy sales, not to originality, not to embroidery and sophisticated cuts,”says fashion expert and stylist Mikhail Baryshnikov, creative director of Anima Jewels. Therefore, for example, rubber sandals a la Crocs, adorned with colored stones, appear, as in the Christopher Kane collection at London Fashion Week.
Another reason for the decline in interest in original solutions in the field of fashion is the change in buyers themselves. Some twenty or thirty years ago, no one could have imagined a massive influx of luxury clients from China. And if the once dominant Japanese were traditionally famous for their love of extravagance and bold in their design outfits (the boutiques of Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood in the 1990s were a place of pilgrimage for tourists from Japan), then the Chinese nouveau riche are drawn to a style that they see as conservative and sophisticated. - that is, in most cases based on memories of the Western catalogs they saw in their youth in the 1980s.
Even more prone to nostalgia are the middle class, who have moved up the social ladder from the bottom and are trying to copy the "high style" of the Western aristocracy - again, the way they represent it in Hollywood films and TV shows. It is worth recalling that, according to analysts' forecasts, it is the Chinese middle class that will account for 34 percent of the total number of buyers of luxury goods in the world by 2020 - which means that there will always be demand for the next version of the Louis Vuitton bag made of Monogram textiles, which is more than 100 years old. …
The luxury market, with all its originality, still obeys the same laws of the economy as less "sophisticated" consumption segments. Therefore, the high-profile resignations of recent times, from the formally voluntary departure from Dior of Raf Simons to the scandalous dismissal of Albert Elbaz from Lanvin, fit into the general trend of simplification and adherence to the tastes of the public. By the way, after the new creative director of this house, Bushra Jarrar, showed her first collection for Lanvin the other day during the spring-summer 2017 fashion week in Paris, fashion critics only threw up their hands: some are contrite, and some are gloating. The best dresses of Jarrar suspiciously looked like Elbaz's things, and the rest of the outfits did not look like anything aesthetic or even potentially commercially successful at all.
The refusal of leading houses from the services of designers with bright and extraordinary thinking serves, albeit indirectly, a symptom of the movement of the fashion industry towards a more massive and less sophisticated buyer. Alas, if you believe the analysts who monitor the situation in the luxury industry during the current crisis, it is precisely such clients that will become the main consumers of luxury products in the next decade.
“Business of Fashion and other readable fashion platforms publish a lot of material about the differences between fashion designers and stylists with merchandising experience,” says Vasilisa Gusarova, founder and creative director of Sputnik Supervision, NYC. - These discussions can be brought to the general cultural level of the theory of ethnogenesis about passionaries and the cycle of birth of new Pushkins can be calculated. But if in essence, the designer modeled in the 50s, and the designer compiles in the 2010s”. According to the expert, it is not so easy to determine the reasons for this. Someone blames the environment: there is too much information, everything is very quick and superficial. Someone says that creating, creating, modeling and "synthesizing" in fashion is related in the same way as the role of a composer and a DJ in music. “The work of a stylist designer takes place not so much at the material level of a thing as at the level of concepts and opinion management. The designer's work could have had a shocking effect, but this side effect was not the main goal of the collection. The work of a designer is now related to taking into account the point of view of the investor, the Instagram audience, the celebrity clients of the brand, the history of reactions to archived models. They know what kind of quotes you will wear next summer,”Gusarova ironically concludes.
Lyudmila Norsoyan, founder of Fashion Factory School, curator of the City and Fashion program, Strelka Institute, also draws attention to the interference of social regulators in the creative process. In her opinion, fashion is a multicultural phenomenon that reflects all the social, economic, and emotional rushes of the “golden billion”. “And in recent years, in the minds and souls of this notorious billion, chaos and confusion have emerged in a successful campaign against habit and order, augmented reality against the analog world, the beautiful against the ugly, the new against the old,” says Norsoyan. - Traditions and "beautiful" dresses familiar to the eye are in fashion, too, polysyllabic speculative constructions are destroyed into unnatural proportions. And oddly enough, conservative adult designers are engaged in this devastation. The majority of young independent designers vote in collections for the purity and silence of images, but who listens to them? " However, Gosha Rubchinsky is both listened to and scrutinized - perhaps precisely because the time for speculative constructions is coming to an end and simple and understandable solutions that are guaranteed commercial success come to the fore.