Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Going out on top
Valentino, Lagerfeld, Versace, Armani....these men came to prominence during the age of couture, when fine embroidery and detail were admired and exalted.
Today, fashion, on the highest level, is far more 'accessible' than ever.
It's no longer uncommon to see a Louis Vuitton bag on a teenage girl, or a pair of Chanel sunglasses on a Mom in a suburban shopping mall. These products are mass produced and available all over the world, whether you're on the streets of Tokyo or at the Mall of America.
The days when only the elite - celebrities, models, actresses and royalty - adorned themselves with fine clothing and accessories has long been over.
But, then, what say you for couture?
It lives on, but there simply isn't a large enough market for it to thrive. Ready-to-wear clothing is what women want. It suits our frenetic lives and aligns with the relaxed, American sportswear aesthetic we've come to embrace (and that's me being kind).
After all, how often does a 25-year old, entry-level office worker have an opportunity to dress up for a ball or attend the opera? Besides prom, or any sort of high school-related dance for that matter, when have most American women had a chance to wear a fine, floor-length gown of any sort?
So it is with great nostalgia that I watched Valentino: The Last Emperor tonight. 45 years of work as a fashion designer. He was a true artist and visionary who built one of the world's greatest fashion houses in history.
In his last couture show, he showed the world that despite how much has changed in fashion, women still desire beauty.
(Images of final Valentino show via Style.com)