As the Autumn-Winter collections arrive in the London boutiques, I’m reminded of the reviews of the shows back in March and particularly the warm welcome for the opulence of fabric and design in contrast to recent seasons in which minimalism has been the prevalent trend. Brocades, velvets, sequins, lurex, prints of all kinds (often combined), rich tweeds, embroidery – bring it on in spades!
The Dover Street Market has put three beautiful lace Comme des Garcons pieces in its window and seeing them there made me go back to Vogue’s review of the catwalk show in Paris in March. What was it all about? Well, I’m not sure that Vogue quite knew. The models were so encumbered by exquisite explosions of lace and bows that they had to manoeuvre slowly around each other. It seemed to be a comment on emotion and on our individual need to accommodate others; to exercise and relinquish control.
Perhaps it was also about the role that our clothing plays in simultaneously hiding us and displaying our feelings. One of the pieces in the Dover Street window display is this incredible black lace, bow-strewn cocoon. It seems to evoke baroque religious traditions of Europe – the black lace mantilla covering the female head in church or the heavily embellished skeletal relics of saints. At the same time, its oversized proportions make the wearer seem childlike.
What is it saying? Perhaps the true genius of these clothes is that we cannot know what they are expressing until the owner wears them and gives them their meaning.