So this week H&M broke the news that they would be featuring their first show in over 8 years at Paris Fashion Week’s AW13 shows. I say ‘broke the news’ because while many are thrilled at the new addition to the show circuit, already anticipating what the lookbook will turn out, I feel like I should be lamenting the decline of real ‘Fashion’.
One of the reasons couture has worked for decades is because it is completely, stunningly, inaccessible. When I think of ‘fashion’, I think of the stunning drapery and embroideries seen at shows such as Chanel and Alexander McQueen. The dresses are unrealistic. They are absurd. Yet they are undeniably beautiful. The craftsmanship and the detailing is what I believe true ‘fashion’ is. What we see on the high-street, is simply a copy. There is no mystery or fantasy to the clothes – they are simply regurgitations of current trends. What we make of them, style, is what is important.
Fashion is wonderful because it is inaccessible. When we see celebrities on the red carpet wearing looks that were seen on the runway only weeks earlier – that jealousy and awe equals admiration. For the designers, stylists and fashions created. If it were a simple topshop tunic no-one would look twice, except to ask why one would wear said dress when they have a world of choice awaiting them in a samples closet.
Now I’m not saying Topshop Unique hasn’t done the brand proud. It is one of the most anticipated shows at LFW with a front row of the admired and desired. But again, it is luxury. It is often unwearable (to the daily woman) and unavailable (damn prices). What i wonder is whether brands such as H&M or River Island (collaborating with Rihanna nonetheless), can match up to what we expect from Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou and Burberry.
For me fashion is fantastical. And I just bought a pair of shoes from H&M for £7. Another world away? I think not.