People expect clarity of vision from a designer; a lot of people come to fashion for reassurance. Sometimes people just don’t know what they want so the role of the designer is to say, ‘This is what’s good for you.’ But I’m a very intuitive designer, I don’t always know why I do what I do so when people rush up to me after the show to get my references, I don’t always know what to say. I don’t work with grand concepts, I’m interested in cutting, sewing, draping, structure and silhouette. I’m a dressmaker. I’m inspired by gestures and movement. The way a woman zips up the back of her dress, the way she rides a bicycle, or talks, or smokes. It takes time for me to digest and conceptualise what I’ve done. But as a designer you get that one moment – the show – which is over in fifteen minutes, and then you have another ten minutes to explain yourself to journalists afterwards. The idea of success in fashion today doesn’t always allow for someone like me: I doubt a lot, I’m not always sure. It’s normal; I think most people are like that. But the system isn’t set up to integrate it.
Celebrities who are famous for being famous often try to distance themselves from the shallowness of their fame by emphatically articulating what they want to be: an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, a DJ. They turn their hobbies into passions, to add depth to their persona and legitimise the attention trained on them. But they do not originate their own fascination: while they benefit from it, we too are implicated. We desire ‘heroes into which we pour our own purposelessness,’ looking to apparently notable people to divert us and amplify the events of our own lives, celebrities thereby functioning as ‘ourselves seen with a magnifying mirror.’
Cambridge Analytica’s model is based on the premise that fashion has solid, unequivocal meanings that can be used to profile and target you with political messaging according to your clothing choices; that it is a rational universe where ‘Wrangler ergo Trump’ correlations can be drawn. But can it really hold ground today?
‘You have to be relevant’ – thus spoke Suzy Menkes in a recent interview. But while Suzy Menkes remains one of the most publicly celebrated fashion journalists, is hers still a significant voice?
The digital screen and fashion form the cornerstones of modern day consumer culture. Now the two are increasingly fused, but back in 2009, Alexander McQueen was one of the first designers to capitalise on this. The designer brought his creations into the digital sphere by live-streaming the apocalyptic, sea creature-inspired spring/summer 2010 vision, ‘Plato’s Atlantis’, on SHOWstudio.com.