I have a bone to pick. I don’t like being told what to wear, and particularly from people who are getting paid to post things on their Insta account. Yes, I’m talking about influencers, who have changed the way we think of style. Style is something abstract to me, it’s how you wear something, and it can be the least expensive outfit or something that has become your trademark. Rockstar black, all over white, giant rings, things like that. That’s not something that anyone getting dollars in exchange for mentions on social media can teach me about.
And I see it all around me, that kind of everyday glamour. If I want high fashion, I turn to the designers and if I want street style I turn to the streets. No middle man — or woman — needed.
But social media and the scores of self professed “influencers” have been undeniably changing the look of fashion and IMHO not in a good way.
What I found most interesting during my visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, to view their latest fashion exhibit, was how my fellow visitors decided to dress for it. While Christian Dior as a brand has been known for impeccable, lady-like style since 1946, in 2019 London I was surrounded by a cacophony of sloppy, unkempt and dull outfits, worn by women who didn’t give their mirror a second look before leaving their homes/hotels/offices that day. And some men, trust me guys, you didn’t fare that well either.
Lately, I’ve also gone through a personal rethinking of my own way of dressing. Loss has played a large part in my more minimalist wardrobe and I believe, from looking around at the V & A, that we are all turning into a depressed-ly dressed society. We have given up on life, as the late Karl Lagerfeld used to say, because we wear things to be comfortable and even when we dress up, we don’t pull it together. Not fully, not to impress anyway.
So ‘Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams’ couldn’t come at a better time! Seeing those dancer-like tulle evening dresses by Maria Grazia Chiuri, the latest creative director at the historic fashion house, the glamour of John Galliano’s ethnic couture collections for the Maison Dior, and the unapologetic femininity of Gianfranco Ferré’s suits while he designed there in the early ‘90s made me believe in glamour once again. And the power of style. Personal style, which has nothing to do with how much money you spend but everything to do with how much positive energy you give out through the way you choose to look.
Another rediscovery was Raf Simons, a designer near and dear to my heart, since I saw his fashion retrospective during Pitti Uomo in June of 2016. Simons had a way at Dior, an undeniable personal touch all his own, which combined old time glamour with new world chic. It was an exceptional time, those short three and a half years he was there starting in 2012 because Dior was at a crossroads and for a moment, the Belgian designer looked poised to take the Maison into a futurist 21st century look. Could that have been a great thing?
Perhaps, but now that I look at the collections by Chiuri, I wonder too. She’s definitely added her own rockstar appeal to the brand and for me, she’s got it down to a T. Actually, a T-shirt with the words “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” drawn across it.
So I leave you with these thoughts, some questions and perhaps more to come. But in the mean time do dress well, even when you dress simply. It’s not about what you’ve got on anyway, but how it makes you feel inside. And the look you’ll project to the world will be the feeling that is lit deep inside you. If you feel better in Dior, go for it. But you can discover that same exact sensation in a Forever 21 jacket or H & M pair of jeans.
Just don’t forget to look deep inside your heart.