OK. So. I really do get that haute couture is meant, on some level, to be viewed as pageantry, pure art, theater. HC clothes get worn by very few actual people, because very few actual people can afford them. Clothing designers are visual artists, clothing is simply the medium.
I try really, really hard to remember this when I hear the argument for extremely tall, extremely slim models as the ONLY choice for runway shows. When I hear the argument that these women are basically just walking clothes hangers, that their bodies shouldn’t interfere with how the clothing appears.
But I can’t. The more I hear that refrain, the angrier I become. And here’s why.
THEY ARE STILL CLOTHES even if they’re meant to be arty, sculptural, outlandish clothes. Clothes are meant to be worn on bodies, not look great on hangers. If they were just meant to look amazing on their own, they’d be fiber art. Clothing is meant to clothe. Period.
Put aside the fact that models are human beings too, and are often told to their faces that they aren’t thin enough to get work. Put aside the fact that designers and mags claim they’re creating an aspirational fantasy from these luxury goods, ignoring the fact that the women shown wearing these clothes become part of that fantasy. Put aside the fact that the entire industry has shirked social responsibility in favor of economy, claiming they must use fewer materials and standard tiny-person sizing to make a buck. PUT ALL OF THAT ASIDE, and you still have this:
Clothing is meant to be worn by humans. It is not art without humans. If you make it so that it really only looks amazing when no one is wearing it, why call it clothing? Why send it down the runway on a body when you could just hang it up on a wall and let people ogle it? Strides are being made when it comes to model diversity, but whenever this argument comes up I’m reminded that we’ve still got a long, long way to go …
Images courtesy style.com.