Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Good taste versus design led marketing.

The formation of taste derives from a group of people responding collectively to the zeitgeist of the times therefore factors of taste develop and change as seasonal preferences allow. However if we view something to be universal tasteful which is seen in favor by the mass public how far is our ability to distinguish what one favours tasteful because what we are viewing the designed product is merely a factor of how it is marketed, distributed and consumed that allow us to make judgements of taste.  Therefore the relationship between something being viewed of good taste is directly dependent on the marketing of the product.

Fashion responds and directs attitudes to distinguish whether something is viewed as tasteful normally by the trickle-down effect which is when the upper class start wearing something which is deemed as tasteful, which then trickles down to readymade copies by middle and working class so they can copy what is of good taste but by the time it reaches lower class it is no longer deemed of good taste and the whole cycle is thus repeated.

"Fashion is not properly a matter of taste (for it may be extremely antagonistic to taste), but a matter of mere vanity in order to appear distinguished."
-Immanuel Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View

Examples of fashion deemed as being of good taste –

Chanel’s Little Black Dress.

Launched in 1926 it was nicknamed by American Vogue, ‘Chanel’s Ford dress,’ for being so easily ready made by its simple design of high neckline, long fitted sleeves, cut to above the knee and made with no adornment of frills or embroidery. It was marketed as the uniform for the modern woman; it was launched at a time of the Great depression so it was in fitting with the time and became a symbol of practical chic. It was therefore deemed as being of good taste as was functional to the period, Chanel has been reported of saying, ‘Really they are so badly dressed, I will put them all in black to teach them good taste.’ What was once launched as a practical example of clothing has been over time marketed to become an indicator of elegant good taste. 

Dior’s ‘New Look.’

In the post war era of 1947 Dior aimed to capture the imagination and hope of women in launching his ‘New Look’ which consisted of nipped in waists and billowing full flowing skirts. It created instant attention due to its excess it became a symbol of taste by its affiliation to the upper classes as they were the only ones able to buy it and could not be instantly copied as fabric was still being rationed therefore it was marked out as an inspirational look. It was marketed as an antithesis to war time and inspired from women returning to more passive roles in the home so it was shown as step away from utilitarian clothing and a symbol of glamour and femininity. Dior was not alone in his venture it was a collaboration between himself and Marcel Boussac who was also known as the ‘cotton king,’ therefore by introducing a style deemed of being of good taste which used full billowing skirts it was in favour of Boussac’s business of supplying fabric, therefore promoting textile industry at the same time. The way it was marketed and distributed only among the wealthy at first ensured it the stamp of being of good taste, but in reality it was not in good taste of the time as it was a period when rationing was still in place until 1953 so was insensitive to the needs of the collective public, it was banned in Britain as was seen as symbol of extravagance. 

Calvin Klein boxers.
The launch of Calvin Klein boxers in 1982 transformed men’s underwear market, previously just known as functional object almost over-night it was re-launched as sought after fashion forward product. It was at a time in the eighties when emergence of new man was becoming prominent in seeing not just women as objects to be admired but men were being viewed as objects of admiration and in taking pride of themselves. Calvin Klein’s were marketed by a sensual portrayal which would appeal to men and women and were instantly sought after as symbols of fashionable taste. They still are seen as indicators of good taste by their numerous celebratory endorsements, how they are marketed and consumed by the public still relies heavily on the symbol they represent of increased sexuality. 

However nowadays we no longer are so reliant on how something is marketed to be deemed as tasteful, it has become more subjective by the dissolution of trickle-down effect and by the emergence of mass media which enables word of mouth and online consensus in favour of just the solely marketed image. We are wiser and open to the impact of marketing, taste has become subjective. 

Sinuous Magazine

Have a look at my recent article for Sinuous Magazine based in NYC which is a magazine that offers a diverse mixture of culture, art and design,music, events, technology, fashion and more from around the world.

'The fashion upsurge of the Jolie-Laide - 'Pretty Ugly.'


Monday, 21 January 2013

Investment scarves

A true investment piece to look out for is launching from February 6th online at doverstreetmarket.com it is the unison of avant-garde designer Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons and the French heritage brand Hermes. A range of six silk scarves will be made in limited edition of 200 of each design.

My favourite design shows the collaboration of Comme des Garcon and Hermes iconic signature styles, polka dot and horses retrospectively. I like how both brands are represented but not overpowering one another, they’re working in unison. A true collaboration. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Amazing blog FashGIF where they transform fashion collections from runway into surreal moments, worth checking out!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

SS13 menswear is all about living in the Hipster’s Paradise

It’s time to progress from the humdrum of cold winter nights and the subsequent layering of bleak colouring and lust after spring’s menagerie of tropical Hawaiian colours.

Menswear biggest trend for Spring/Summer is the revival of 70s disco mixed with 90s UK acid house scene to create a futuristic explosion of print and colour, definitely only for those that aren’t scared to push the boundaries of fashion, think Leigh Bowery performance art but with a street wear vibe.

Moschino, Gucci and Roberto Cavalli have shown influence this S/S in pop art with bright block coloured suits. Versace mixed it up with double breasted suit jacket cut off at the shoulders teamed with bubblegum coloured short shorts. For a more avant-garde futuristic vibe for the season look to Margiela and Lanvin use of metallic tone.

Tip for establishing that you are wearing the most trend worthy colours think fruit but with a surrealist twist – watermelon, tangerine, acidic apples, banana.

For inspiration for S/S trend look to Tate, Liverpool upcoming exhibition ‘Glam! The Performance of Style’ which opens 8th February. It offers a look into the visually extravagant pop glam style which is all about bold colours and the pushing of fashion boundaries which S/S 13 is all about. Also V&A exhibition 'David Bowie opening 23rd March one sure to pack the most meatiest of colour punches.