A few weeks ago, I attended a four day runway-style fashion show during Miami Fashion Week. The event included the latest collections from over 60 designers from 25 countries and celebrity sightings including the Real Housewives of Miami. The catwalk was bombarded with the Fall 2013 collections including bridal, evening wear, day wear, swimwear and children’s collections.
If you’ve ever been to a couture hi-end fashion show or seen photos from one, you know that fashion shows are more about art then style. They’re meant to elicit a reaction or emotion. From the way the model’s hair is worn to her makeup and even her shoes, it’s all part of the show and not typically something you’d ever wear in that same way in real life.
Each of the shows also has a different walk, different music, and different lights. Some is dark and mysterious, while others are light and happy.
One of my favorite shows was that by Kayce Armstrong of Art of Shade. She uses utilitarian fabrics such as old tarps and sails to create edgy couture fashion. In fashion shows, models are known for their strut, but in this show, that strut was cast aside and instead they came out in flat shoes and added a bounce in their step to a syncopated sort of rhythm identical to one another and perfectly in step with the music. It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch and was really more of a dance than a walk, meant to highlight the movement in her designs.
In another show by Lisu Vega all the models were made to look bald and some had their entire head painted black. This was likely meant to make it all about the designs but in this case, I found the opposite actually occurred. The statement the designer made with the models hair and makeup took away from her beautiful collection and made it hard to really see the clothes. Is this art? Fashion? Will this ever be a trend? Probably not, but it elicited a reaction. And it was memorable. And maybe this is what the designer was going for.
My favorite Fall 2013 collection was from Nicolas Felizola. His evening wear featured gowns in yellow, orange, black and white patterns, and metallics, proof that vibrant hues and head-to-toe black and white will continue to be trendy this fall. The uniqueness of his designs was evidenced in the distinct necklines and intricate details of lace, beads and brocades. My personal favorite was a dramatic navy lace design over a nude sheath that was a complete showstopper.
In the movie, Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep plays a couture fashion editor for a high-end fashion magazine that would have rivaled the likes of Vogue. During an infamous scene, her assistant, played by Anne Hathaway, is watching the editor and a designer decide between two belts that look identical. Meryl Streep stops when she sees her assistant laughing and says: “Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you don’t take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent…who showed cerulean military jackets … And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff. ”
Couture fashion is art and inspires collections, colors and trends for years to come. Collections people like you and I, will eventually pick up on a rack at our favorite boutique.
In fashion, be true to yourself. Wear what makes you feel good about you. Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s right for you. However, don’t be afraid to express yourself.