What’s the BIG IDEA?

Take a look at storied fashion icons through the years, such as Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, who is the subject of an upcoming exhibit, “The Art of Style”, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute (November 19 – January 21). They all have one thing in common: they understand the concept of precision of cut and fit. We are often reminded of how important it is to find a reliable tailor in order to insure that our clothes fit like a glove. But on the flip side of the proverbial coin, there have also been those who have considered this sentiment to be highly overrated. And, in fact, it’s in direct opposition to a continuing or growing (pardon my pun) trend towards Bigger is Better.

Comme des Garcons Fall 2014 ready-to-wear
Photo: Vogue.com

Creators such as Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, Martin Margiela among them, have long experimented with conceptual, art to wear clothing with exaggerated shapes. Buy while there’s nothing new about this, it’s especially relevant and of the moment thanks to the recent announcement of Demna Gvasalia (a Margiela alum) as the new creative director of Balenciaga.

Vetements spring 2016 ready-to-wear
Photo: Vogue.com

The 34 year old Georgian was head designer of Vetements, an up until now under-the-radar Paris based 7 person design collective. In business for a little over a year, they have quickly become known for their unapologetically 90’s anti-fashion streetwise sensibility; well-constructed deceptively simple wardrobe basics (which are more often than not, off kilter); and perhaps most importantly, their gargantuan, monstrous sized outerwear which have become signatures ( their tan over sized trench $2390, is available on ssense.com; and their oversized black leather biker jacket, $4185, is currently available on net-a-porter.com.

Rihanna wearing Vetements’ oversized sweatshirt
Photo: Tom and Lorenzo Photography

Unsurprisingly, Rihanna who loves to push envelopes and experiment, is a known fan, having been photographed around town wearing Vetements’ cultish logoed sweatshirts and baseball jackets. But let’s face it: she can pretty much get away with anything. Which is more than I can say about us mere mortals. Admittedly, this is not the easiest look to pull off and it’s hardly for everyone.

Dries Van Noten spring 2016 ready-to-wear
Photo: Vogue.com

I “get” the appeal of tweaking proportion and wearing things nonchalantly oversized sometimes (Dries Van Noten and J.W Anderson are two designers who do this particularly well). But call me old fashioned I just don’t “get” the concept of spending a fortune to look as though I rummaged through a thrift shop for men’s castaway coats; decided to raid my husband’s closet just for the fun of it; or went on a drastic diet losing half my body weight then too lazy to get my oversized things to the tailor. None of which are bad ideas if you want to play around with the look without a major financial commitment.

– 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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