Fashion Snow Jobs

We’ve just come through an almost record breaking snowstorm for the ages. But that’s nothing for the fashion world because as a group, we have probably all been ‘snowed’ (good or bad)  by fashion at one time or another.

Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty

There have been blockbuster ground breaking exhibitions such as the Costume Institute’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”, May 4 – August 7, 2011 and the glorious “Alaia” Retrospective which ran from September 2013 – January 2014. Featuring 70 iconic models, it retraced the master’s unique career, and was presented in the newly renovated Matisse Room at the Musee d’Art modern de la Ville de Paris.

Battle of Versailles Fashion Show 1973

There have been the hard to forget runway shows, none more so than the landmark “Battle of Versailles” fashion show in 1973 during which time 5 French designers (“old masters of French design such as Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy) were ‘pit’ against 5 American designers (“bold upstarts” such as Halston, Anne Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows). Luckily, as it turns out, the latter group had a ‘secret weapon’: eight African American models.

John Galliano for Christian Dior Haute Couture
Spring/Summer 2007

From time to time (not as often as we would like of course), we’ve been treated to memorable runway shows from such creators as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Alber Elbaz, Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe, Dries Van Noten, Courreges, Rick Owens, Thom Browne, Donna Karan, Geoffrey Beene, Ralph Rucci, Gianni Versace, Nicholas Guesquiere, Phoebe Philo, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Miuccia Prada, John Galliano, etc.

Marc Jacobs always ‘snows’ us with his attention grabbing  presentations

But on the proverbial other side of the coin, seasoned pros and die hard fashion followers alike, have shown that they can easily fall prey to ‘snow jobs’. That’s not to say that they are being purposely deceived, but it proves that it’s not difficult to get caught up in the moment and in all the hype (and what’s fashion without the hype?).

Marc Jacobs Spring 2016 Ready-To-Wear

Case in point: Marc Jacobs might have snowed us (as he often does) with his theatrical Spring 2016 presentation staged at the iconic Ziegfield Theatre this past September, but how are the clothes in the least bit relevant? There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell you’ll actually see women out and about wearing this stuff. Don’t get me wrong, there is no question that Marc is a talented guy, but I often feel that in terms of his relationship with the press, it’s almost always a case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” because of all the hype and overriding expectation that surrounds his collections.

Gucci fur lined mules

Alessandro Michele not only snowed many of us with his renewed vision for Gucci, but from the look of things, he has apparently done a good enough (snow) job ‘convincing’ armies of men and women that life is not worth living (lol) unless they own a pair the kangaroo lined horse bit mules that made such an impact on the runway back in February 2015.

Chanel Fall 2015 Ready-To-Wear

Karl Lagerfeld always snows us with his boundless energy, creativity, and prolific ideas which he spews out at breakneck speed. He made a statement showing only ONE shoe on his Fall/Winter 2015 runway: the iconic two tone sling back pump which was favored by Coco herself. It’s not a stretch to imagine that many a true Chanel addict might have begun to think that it was truly the ONLY shoe she would never need in life. Silly her. Of course, Karl has quickly moved on; for his next collection, there was nary one of them in sight.

Yeezy Fall 2015 Ready-To-Wear

Though perhaps the best example of a fashion snow job is Kanye West’s collaboration with Adidas, Yeezy, which was unveiled during New York Fashion Week last February. Does he really believe that what the world needs is another sportswear collection filled bedraggled clothes, $430 banal sweatshirts and hoodies, and hole laden knitwear priced from $880 – $1650?

Danish street style star Pernille Taisbaek
in black culottes

That being said, no discussion of fashion snow jobs would be complete without talking about the trend for inner wear to be worn as outerwear (just the thing to wear for your subway commute, ha!). And you will never convince me that there is anything remotely appealing, attractive, or flattering about culottes, but apparently, enough designers, retailers, and members of the press, have done a good enough (snow) job convincing the customer that she needs to own a pair. The same can probably be said about unwieldly, exaggerated platform shoes (ugh!). Just the perfect things to wear for a brisk walk around town, or should you want to dance the night away and break your ankle. How ‘modern’ is that?? Not!

Grace Coddington wearing her pj’s to the 2015 Met Gala

Finally, unless you are Grace Coddington, don’t even think about wearing your pajamas to the office, for a night out on the town, or on a transatlantic flight. You run the risk of being mistaken for an Alzheimer’s patient who forgot where she was, and where she was going.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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