What is the power of fashion? The fact that it is very accurately and satirically demonstrates the values and the general condition of society of its time. While at the beginning of the twentieth century Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet were inspired by ancient culture, Elsa Schiaparelli created masterpieces of surrealism interpreted in costume, nowadays we see the images of refugees and drug addicts that Balenciaga and Vetements show us. Sports style and aesthetics of the workers, replacing high fashion, not without the help of Kanye West and Virgil Abloh.
Why is this happening? It’s simple. The beginning of the twentieth century marked the decline of class society and the aristocracy, echoes of which were heard until the 80s. An era in which there were families that passed on values, culture, and heritage from generation to generation. They were an audience that created a response to high fashion and high art, which was absorbed with the mother’s milk-the environment of family homes and family traditions. Disappearing, for a while they still left an inertial mark on popular culture and cinema, which finally disappeared in the second half of the century. The 20th century gave the world a wealthy class of a completely different origin, with different triggers and objects of romanticization.
The dying aristocracy and hereditary elite were replaced by rapidly becoming rich entrepreneurs and media personalities. The hero of the new age is from a people who rose up, but remained close to the roots. In the late 80s came Hip-Hop, which began to exploit luxury and luxury goods in a completely different way. The same 80’s-the era of Gianni Versace, who gave the Nouveau riche what was clear and close to them – expensive clothes that looked like all their money-a lot of gold, sophisticated ornaments, frank and extremely sexy outfits. Then there’s the age of glamour and its king, John Galliano.
This is all very far from today’s fashion with images of beggars and refugees. But this is what demonstrated a change in mores, a departure from the traditions and values of the old time.
Next – a very unsubstantiated and dubious observation of mine. It seems to me that the Apple phenomenon has played a huge role in how luxury and fashion have shifted from a priori affluent class to a young, middle-class audience, creating the concept of “masthave”. We do not perceive the iPhone as a luxury item, although it costs as a good monthly salary. Every schoolboy in Butovo goes with an iPhone. The same thing is happening now with fashion – luxury brands have realized that it is much more effective not to focus on a small bunch of rich people, but to build their product into the cult of the proletariat, which knows how to save and take loans. Increasingly, this is a story about ” walking for all the money” or “begged my mother for a five a year”. Hence the corresponding metaphors and the courtyard, impoverished aesthetics that are close to the broad masses, which from now on is a symbol of post-irony and a sense of style.