You know, I get that high fashion — Paris runway-show high fashion in particular — is not about making clothes that people will wear. It’s an art form that works in textiles and is displayed on human models… but other than that, it bears no real relation to what people might wear so they’ll look good and won’t be naked. And it’s not supposed to. It’s an art form. I get that. That’s fine.
But good Lord and butter.
There’s a slideshow of the Christian Dior 2006 Paris runway show that is rendering me nearly speechless in both wonder and hilarity. The outfits look like ideas that the costume designer for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace considered and then rejected as being too over-the-top. They look like what the original Star Trek series was going for with their costume design and only failed to achieve because of their low budget. I have a friend who’s planning to attend the WorldCon sci-fic convention Masquerade in a homemade knockoff of these designs… which I think pretty much says it all.
I’m particularly struck by how unhappy the models look. Of course, runway models always look unhappy. But in the photos of this show’s most extreme excesses, they don’t just look bored and impassive and hungry like they always do. They look miserable. They look actively embarrassed to be there. They look like they wish they were anywhere else in the world. Which, considering that they’re on the runway of the Paris show exhibiting the Christian Dior collection and are therefore pretty much at the pinnacle of their career, is a little odd when you think about it.
What I really like about the slideshow is the ebb and flow of it. The wild flights of absurdity periodically settle down into stretches of something resembling beauty and grace, with clothes that I can actually almost imagine wearing to a fancy party, or to something other than the Saint Stupid’s Day parade, anyway. If I were six feet tall and a hundred pounds, that is.
But then it blossoms again, like a dahlia contaminated by nuclear waste that’s been dormant through the winter, and is now blooming dementedly and attempting to pollinate with peacocks and landscaping equipment. And you remember: Oh, yeah. This guy is insane.
I actually sort of love it.
BTW, thanks to Ruth for pointing this… thing out to me. Good luck with the costume at the Con, and be sure to take pictures!