Monday, 1 March 2010

Clothing: what does it say about us?

Today we had the design history lecture where we watched a documentry on 3 designers and their design houses.

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Ralph Lauren for Ralph Lauren and Shawn Stussy for Stussy.

Watching the documentry really highlighted to me how much has changed when considering a catwalk show, especially as London fashion week has just passed, with most of their shows live streamed over the net. The abundance of the usual celebrity clad front row wasn't apparent at many of the shows in the late 80's early 90's (the year of the documentry): the front rows consisted heavily of the photographers who brought to the world all the new trends and showed a glimpse of the glamourous fashion lifestyle. A lovely quote, one which is very distinctive of the times now I loved;

'Fashion became a mingle of the road and runway':

what with all the street style websites and now, famous photographers for street style, Tommy Ton, Scott Schmann and Facehunter to name a few, this idea of the way a design happens has flipped, it now seems to come from the streets upwards rather than the other way around, this idea seemed to be noticeable even at this time.

We were introduced to Karl Lagerfeld, who could not stop working! He constantly drew design after design after design during the interview, which was quite charming to see how he thinks, visually, upfront. The narrator of the documentry spoke of how a certain design piece, here being the Chanel handbag, communicates a certain status and shared values between specific people, which I highly agree with, and after finalising my essay yesterday, the idea of the role of clothing and what it says about someone is still present in my mind. I find the idea of how people want to become a part of the brand, simply by buying a product from the brand no matter how small, one thats interesting to notice.

Then in a totally different design theme if you like, we were introduced to Shawn Stussy the founder of the 1980's company Stussy. His pieces played aeround with Chanel's design identity with their double, interlinked C's. Stussy had, wether obviously chosen (which I belive it was) taken the idea of the interlinking C's and had as a logo on his pieces, interlinking S's. Stussy states that he wants to be a brand that is exclusive, the company hardly did any advertising, as as the narrator says, the customer freely advertisies the clothing literally on their back. Stussy concludes that if your clothing is made well, and doesn't drop off the customer then really, no advertising is needed. The key product for Stussy being the hat, as the narrator says

'The hat is the Chanel bag of street culture'

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