Dries Van Noten speaks with care and reserve, like someone well aware of his privileged position in the fashion industry. In Dries’ case this is a standing that has been deftly and meticulously carved over the years, a feat which, in the eyes of many, makes it even more well deserved. Today he is one of the few remaining independent designers, an accomplishment that makes his brand somewhat of an anomaly in the contemporary fashion industry. Nevertheless, Dries, as the designer himself coyly intimates, has to start thinking about his future. Could it be that another of the enduring bastions of fashion sovereignty is about to end up in the hands of a business conglomerate?
Spending time with Nigel Cabourn is a little like being carried along by a minor tornado. He talks a mile a minute, makes friends with just about everybody, and is, by his own admission, ‘like the fucking Pied Piper’.
When I first met Jean Touitou he was giving a presentation in the A.P.C. showroom about the latest collection to a room full of press and buyers. He was cracking jokes and treating his audience as if they were just a bunch of old friends.
Irene is one of the fashion industry’s many éminence grises. In the late 1980s she became the fashion editor of Vogue Paris where she pioneered the work of photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber and Paolo Roversi, at the time all young and looking for a break.
We have seen how the vintage aesthetic can be employed in order to reconnect with bygone times, how it can be seen as a way to hold onto the past, whilst simultaneously remoulding it in the image of the future. In new vintage clothing past, present and future seem to converge in a manner which incarnates each element in equal measure, whilst concurrently not embodying any of them.
It’s an open secret in the industry that advertising brands dictate editorial content, sometimes explicitly, often tacitly. Stories of reporters being banned from shows after unfavourable reviews belong to fashion folklore, but accounts of PR people demanding final approval of articles, interviews being cut short after an uncomfortable question and designers bringing their own recording devices to interviews are surprisingly common.
That fashion is constantly on the move, shifting and changing as soon as we think we have a firm grasp on what it is telling us, is nothing new. But rather than being a pointless sign of debauched times, as its critics would have it, we could argue that the role of fashion is instead to hold a mirror up to our culture.