‘No One Looks to the Streets Anymore for the Future of Fashion, and That Is a Bit Sad’

Spring 2010 Balmain and Gareth Pugh.

Guy Trebay laments the recession's effect on the shows in the Times today. The industry is afraid of losing even more money, and the pressure is on designers to present pieces that will sell. “People are all hoping that what is being pushed at the shows is what will be pushed on the sales floor,” Gareth Pugh explained. That commercial pressure kept him from showing the wildly fantastic armored clothing his shows have become known for. However, what the runways lacked in risk-taking, showgoers more than made up for:

At the Bernhard Willhelm show last Friday, there was a woman with a chain running from her nose ring to her ear; a man in a skirt and a Prussian officer’s jacket; another man dressed in a sequined yellow sweatshirt (it was just past noon); a woman wearing Daisy Dukes, a pair of Converse All Stars and an immense Vermeer ruff. Throughout the week one kept spotting fashion followers wearing leggings made from issues of Le Monde lashed to their legs with packing tape, and guys in clogs soled with hardback books or two-by-fours. Whether they were making reference to homelessness or creative reuse or were just being Dada is anyone’s guess.

Shouldn't the models be the ones with bits of newspapers flapping off their thighs and books strapped to their feet?

Trebay continues:

The truth is that no one looks to the streets anymore for the future of fashion, and that is a bit sad. Even designers who seem to favor grit — like Christophe Decarnin, the Balmain designer, whose ’80s glitter rags exerted a lot of influence over the last few seasons — turn out to be posers, like tourists who visit S & M clubs for a few strokes with a velvet lash.

You cannot say that Mr. Decarnin’s shredded T-shirts and glitter militaria don’t look cool and sexy on models like Daria Werbowy, with her boyish body and foxy, hooded eyes. But if you happen to want to look as sexy as Ms. Werbowy in Balmain, you will have to be prepared to spend about $17,000 for a jacket, $10,000 for a pair of blue jeans and $2,500 for a T-shirt that looks like the salad bar at the end of a moth banquet.

Those two paragraphs give us chills because they are so spot-on. Might we add that it all comes back to what we've been suggesting would catch on for months: leaves. With designers sending women down the runways in underwear, pop stars walking around in nipple pasties (along with Lohan's Ungaro models), and everyone and their cats giving up pants, it's only a matter of time before we start leaving the house naked with a few strategically placed leaves, which, rather than costing $2,500, are free.

Taming of the Runway [NYT]