Monday, July 5, 2010

At the Beach...

Enjoying the sun this week and pretending to tan. (I rarely even get burnt. It's pale, freckled Irish skin for me year round.) I've been reading some typical beach fluff in between the rather disturbing but vibrantly imaginative poetry of Sylvia Plath, and have come across an interesting contradiction: The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo dicusses Chanel's complete disregard for fads, gaudiness, and pretty much any piece of clothing aside from the classically flattering and practical. Fashion, by definition, however, constitutes the changing trends in clothing/appearance resulting from changes in culture, life style, and sometimes just the personal preferences of those elite enough to be considered influencial. And yet many, probably most of us, consider Coco Chanel to be not only a great pioneer of fashion but the epitomy of style and grace in the clothing industry. It is the timeless elegance of her label that has allowed it to weather all the changing winds the fashion world has blown up over the last almost-century, but then which is more fashionable - lasting beauty and functionality, or the latest trend?

This also brings to mind the concept of Worn Fashion Journal, a twice annual non-profit publication out of Toronto that I recently discovered (thanks, Tavi). They focus purely on the intellectual ideas behind fashion and observations of clothing while completely rejecting "the latest trends" and "what's hot right now." I suppose both Chanel and Worn have simply redefined the word fashion to their own tastes, and I say more power to them, but if the tides were ever to turn to universal rejection of passing trends, which seems quite possible if the economy doesn't make a solid recovery fairly soon, what will become of the fashion industry as we know it? Without the constant cycle of what's "in" and what's "out," fashion houses will go out of business.

I personally am often tempted by the hippie attitude of "dressing to express" or "I wear what I like. Period." But at the same time, I like to be cutting edge, too, and obviously aspire to work in the industry one day. DILEMMA.

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