There is a zeitgeist which rainbows over and above fashion. That news ticker which runs through your head – I should buy a shoe with a chunkier heel, is gingham over, how many shirt buttons to undo? – is only half the story. The bigger picture, in which style expresses the big stuff – how optimistic we feel about the future, what “femininity” means at any moment, what we are nostalgic for – is usually swimming somewhere just out of focus in the background.
Pan out, right now, and this is what you find: fashion has tired of its ivory tower and fallen in love with reality. Fashion’s distillery usually filters the essence of the zeitgeist to create an idealised muse. The more physically impossible the proportions, the greater the power of the image to etch itself onto the pop cultural consciousness. (Think of the elongated elegance and exaggerated gestures of René Gruau’s illustrations of New Look Dior. Or Kim Kardashian in Givenchy.)
But this year, designers turned this upside down, switching their idolatry to the real world. Read more.