While fashion designers today reach the heights of celebrity status, the roots of the phenomenon lie in fin de siècle intellectual salons in Paris, where fashion first became an autonomous discourse and a vehicle of contemporaneity. As popular haunts for bohemia and artists alike, literary salons favoured the cult of personality and, along with parties, performances and gallery openings provided artists with the opportunity to socialise with peers and potential buyers. This new necessity also reflected a shift in the production and dissemination of art. Its creators were increasingly forced to embrace democratisation and to negotiate their position within mass culture.
In November this year Louis Vuitton raised an epic suitcase-shaped pavilion in Moscow’s Red Square to celebrate and promote the history of the brand. The project was ambitious, but ultimately controversial and arguably an unsuccessful one since after just ten days the brand was ordered to dismantle the structure by local officials due to its size and positioning in the square.
The power of fashion as a purveyor of possible selves has long been documented and discussed in fashion literature from a plethora of vantage points. Yet with the fashion weeks in full steam around us, I couldn’t help but contemplate this phenomenon; fashion savants in all their glory vying for uniqueness whilst simultaneously maintaining a firm identity as ‘one of the gang’.