Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vogue: Fashion as the Last Gasp of Artistic Success in the Twenty First Century

Another break in my series of reviews on my favorites from the most recent Spring 2011 fashion weeks, this week I want to talk about Vogue.
American Vogue, specifically, as it is the most important, universally respected and admired fashion magazine known to the industry. There is absolutely nothing I love more than chillin on my couch drinking coffee, flipping through Vogue, drooling over the intensely beautiful styling and photography throughout the publication.

From my perspective, there are three major pillars that make up the fashion industry. First, runway shows not only exhibit the clothes themselves to a live audience of excited buyers, but when theatre and character are built in, the shows can actually be responsible for the entire concept of the collection and concequentally, the brand. The second is convincing some person of social, artistic or other notable valor to wear the clothes, thus, making the clothes look cool to admirers of said person. This occurs most frequently with designers and celebrities, obviously, but on a lower, more local scale, it’s nice to see the bartender at the best bar in the city wearing Petey the Troll. ;) The third and most relevant pillar on which the fashion industry stands is fashion photography. Fashion photography has become an art in itself. Since the 1970s when photographers like Annie Leibovitz introduced a new, more intimate and personal style of photography, stylists in the fashion industry have used this technique to entice viewers to desire the clothing they are looking at. The power of a good photograph, one which can move you to your bones, is being used by fashion to exhibit clothing as works of art.

I started my post-secondary training at art school. Prior to that point I was very into drawing, painting and the creation of images on a two, or sometimes three dimensional level. When I started to take fashion more seriously, I realized that I had better stop thinking of fashion as clothes and and start thinking about it as art. This is what I love about Vogue magazine. As opposed to other magazines that are loaded with makeup ads and bullshit filler articles about how to do your hair and impress your man, Vogue takes fashion seriously. They realize that it is an art form and a very important art form at that. “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.” Says the immortal Coco, “Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

This November 2010 edition of Vogue magazine features Anne Hathaway on the cover. She’s in a ridiculously elegant red gown and diamond jewellery and her smile is 8 miles wide. This photograph is evidence of what I think about Vogue. They really get what luxury is. They understand wealth and privilege and beauty and elegance and they arern’t afraid or ashamed to show it. The fashion industry suffers a lot of criticism about promoting their overtly extravagant lifestyle in an insensitive manor, considering the “economic crisis” or whatever. What’s true remains true – the people who live in and for the fashion industry will never be affected by such a lul in the economic state. Realisitically, they have enough wealth already that they could sustain themselves for decades by circulating the money in a small netowork of people. OH! How I long to join them. ;)

The highlight of this month’s Vogue is without a doubt the Anne Hathaway section. She is seen in several photographs dressed in a late 50s, early 60s theme of elegance. She’s seen wearing Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Miu Miu, to name a few and the actress looks quite well fit in the era. Shot by Mario Testino, one of the greatest fashion photographers of our time, the images are so beautiful that I literally want to go out, buy a bunch of fabric and recreate each and every one of those perfect dresses.

Perhaps one day.

I'm going to get more into this topic the next time I write. Let me know what you think :)

Until then!