Monday, October 3, 2011

Credo » "Elegance," Harper's Bazaar September 1992

"We are at a time of crucial change in fashion: in the look of clothes, and our attitude toward them.  Unlike the lip service paid in seasons past to miniscule, marginal differences such as skirts being draped instead of falling straight, hems have suddenly dropped to mid-calf.  Double-or single-breasted is not the issue: now, the jacket has a completely new curvy, fitted shape.  Unifying all the excitement of fall's substantial changes: a refreshing new thinking about dressing.  The decade of conspicuous consumption, the days of clothes screaming their price and designer are gone.  What's offered, and appreciated, today are designs that stand on their own with a certain dignified ease.  It is a welcome return to elegant, refined dressing–inspired by the timeless classics of fashion's most influential eras–that makes the season's transition with an unshowy grace that is wholly contemporary.  Unlike the past, no woman will, or should, consider these changes a command to clean out her closet and start from scratch.  While these clothes are very different from what's come immediately before, they're options–and as such, diversify, not displace, an existing wardrobe.  They introduce a real spectrum of choice that's long been missing from fashion, signalling that we are indeed free to wear whatever we like.  Women today are savvy enough to deconstruct fashion's elaborate role-playing games–and extract what's real and relevant to them: If you feel like striding through the office in men's pinstripes, or showing up for dinner in a tie-dyed silk chiffon skirt, the choice is yours.  Every woman is composed of many personas.  And the options are available now to indulge them all...."
Back in the early 1990s, when I'd about outgrown Seventeen, Sassy, YM and the other young glossies, my mother gave me a subscription to Harper's Bazaar.  This was the first issue edited by Liz Tilberis, under whose editorship the magazine was to become instrumental in shaping my aesthetic, appreciation, and understanding of fashion.  Almost twenty years later, the passage above rings just as true – and sounds just as right – as it did to my impressionable pre-teen self all those years ago.

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