This is a classic example of a patently untrue headline written to get attention, and lure the reader into the rest of the article. Fashion, despite the importance it gives itself, not to mention our necessity for clothes, could not save the economy alone, and the tents going up in Bryant Park and across the city for New York Fashion Week are certainly not going to do so. But don’t tell that to the designers or newspapers.
Reading fashion week coverage, the recession is on everyone’s (including Diane Von Furstenberg’s) lips. While saying times are tough, designers are also saying that they are necessary to a vibrant economy, that they create jobs, that it is always important for a woman to look and feel beautiful. Sorry designers, this may be a recession without breadlines, but that doesn’t mean people are buying couture.
The thing is, I believe them on a certain level. A recession influences style, both larger trends and what an individual can afford to wear, but it also doesn’t take away a person’s interest in looking good. The need for beauty hasn’t dimished.
From the other side of the tracks, art has been claiming style as it’s own as a result of the recession. The confluence of fine art and fashion, much like art and advertising, is not new. But only recently have I heard someone say that,
“I think I represent the future of contemporary art and the synthesis of so many worlds that include contemporary art, like fashion. We can try taking it into the wider reaches of our culture in general, making it more accessible”
as the young Nicola Vassell does in a recent New York Times article. I have mixed feelings about the synthesis of fashion and fine art. Fine art has never been married to practical concerns of life and daily wear and tear, and a beautiful dress has never moved me like a beautiful painting.
On the other hand, the intersection of life and art is fascinating, and fashion is an excellent example of that. The New York shows have a lot to deliver if they plan on saving the economy, beautifying women, and retaining the art to their fashion on a budget. For coverage of the shows, click here and the excellent commentary of Suzy Menkes click here. Let me know what you think about fashion as art.