I experienced a strangely judgmental moment looking at Carolina Herrera's Fall 2009 collection. Of course, I always make judgments about the clothes I see, but this was less about that than it was some sort of sniffy, PC, reverse-snobbery thing about the overall feeling of the show. It boiled down to, "Well, I guess she & her friends are doing okay!" The general impression I was left with after looking at these clothes was that apparently the recession, if it's made a dent on Herrera's consciousness, has not been much permitted to influence what she sent down the runway. And like I said, it made me weirdly judge-y. Of course, Carolina Herrera is perfectly welcome to design whatever she damn well pleases, and we're all free to like it or not, and buy it or not. But there was something about the in-your-face luxe-ness of this entire collection that did hit a bit of a wrong note for me. See? Weirdly judge-y.
This right here was probably the closest thing to daywear that Herrera sent down the runway. Don't get me wrong, that is knock-me-down-and-call-me-stupid gorgeous, but these are not the clothing choices of someone making allowances for the dire economic times we're living in. And why should she? And why should I even care? I mean, it's not like the other designers I've shown you so far sent urchins dressed as though they'd just escaped from Fagin down the runway. (Okay, well, many of them are pretty urchin-y, in the sense that they look like they haven't eaten or slept for weeks, but that's neither here not there.) I dunno why it struck me so. But we have to admit -- this?
But ya know what? I'm just going to let the pretty pull me under, because the show really was gorgeous. It was a little sleeker than Herrera's usual, the detailing was all in the fabrics and the chewably delicious colors
Even odds this dress shows up in LA Sunday night, perhaps on Renée Zellweger:
I didn't love all of it:
I still haven't been able to work out why, despite the clothes being very lovely, the whole collection gave me a bit of fashion indigestion. I don't necessarily think that clothing design has to be a slave to the zeitgeist, I like to think I have lots of room for iconoclasm in my outlook on design. But. Clothes are what you wear to go out into the world -- their very existence is necessitated by contact with the outside (if we all just stayed at home, we could be naked all the time) and do they affect and are affected by what's going on out there. It's one of the things that makes fashion so endlessly fascinating for me, the sociology & semiotics of it. There is a palpable response to the spiky economic realities we're living through in much of what's gone down the runway in New York, and there were a lot of different ways that response manifested. I think on the whole I found a certain arrogance in these clothes that was distasteful to me. It wasn't "we're all going to hell in a handbag, we might as well have fun," it wasn't "times are grim and so we need to lighten things up a bit," it wasn't "this is the moment to invest in things that will take you through the hard times and back into easy ones." It was more like, "I'm fine, so I'm going to buy some $1200 suede pants." Like I said, I really have no right to be offended by that; but honestly, somehow, just a little, I was.
More runway is coming! Stay tuned!