These Boots Were Made For Stepping

(featured image from nowfashion)

Two different videos today.

First is Rick Owens’ S/S 14 Womenswear show.

I’m going to preface it by saying that while I love both fashion and shopping, I love them for different reasons. They’re close to being two entirely separate things for me. Of course the two are inexorably linked, but fashion is much more provocative art than it is wearable goodness. Really great designers produce work that makes you think and feel in ways you had never thought toIt’s a different kind of aesthetic attraction than how one might feel towards more wearable (and affordable) clothing–although of course the trickle-down from runway to retail store is ever-present.

So all that said: Rick Owens’ Paris show is a must-see. Like most fashion, I don’t see the clothes as being wearable so much as a tool to shape the way we think and feel. Susie Lau of Style Bubble offered contextual information and a solid recap of the show:

Four troops of women, thumping their chests, grouped up by their attire [(into] white, sand, brown and black – well they are classic Owens’ colours but read into that what you will) came out in perfect unison.  They were the Soul Steppers of New York, Washington Divas, Momentum and Zetas of Washington D.C.  This was stepping, rooted in African-American college sororities – described by Tim Blanks as a combo of “step dancing, cheerleading, and military drill”.  They scowled, they growled and they looked like you would not want to fuck with them.  This was their “grit” face intended to scare competition.  They be stepping like mad in Owens’ layered garb that allowed them to move – vaguely Grecian and draped – as a nod to sorority origins.

Many just cheered it on [and] thought it a pure aesthetic and cultural showcase and celebration of what stepping is about.  And somehow, most that have written about it has skirted around the issue of what a performance like this means in the context of fashion at large.  These steppers were mostly black, not of the “ideal” body size that fashion puts on its runways, in its advertising, editorials and generally consider to be attractive and they looked vicious – they’re not conventional “beauties”.  A plaintive statement of diversity, that is sorely lacking in fashion across all areas – media, models and designers.  I was incredibly grateful that the steppers were the stars of the show as opposed to the bit part intro to the “real” models – that would have been a mooted statement.  Instead, most of us who weren’t just thinking “Oh, isn’t this FIERCE and exotic?” were invited to examine the state of fashion as it stands in its undeniably warped attitudes towards size, race and beauty.  If Owens’ “outsiders” and “fringe figures” have always found solace in his clothes, then that feeling of inclusion could only multiple after this show.

I’m one of those people who watches things for aesthetics and cultural showcases and celebrations of what our world is about. Susie is right when she speaks about the importance of the show’s subtext, but for everyone outside of the fashion world (people like me), Rick Owens’ show was, ultimately, just goose bump-inducingly cool.

The second video I wanted to share was Kate Moss’ most recent Stuart Weitzman advertisement. Now, while being a highly successful brand, Stuart Weitzman is not quite the fashion powerhouse that Owens is. It fits much closer to the “wear me; aren’t I hot stuff?,” not “think deeply and critically about what I’m presenting to you,” part of the fashion-consumer spectrum. And, you know what? I like it. It doesn’t create an intensely transformative experience like Owens’ show does, but it’s fun. Makes me want to pick up a pair of over-the-knee boots, for sure.

Oh, clothes. Oh, shoes. Oh, consumerism!

And amidst enjoying all that the industry has to offer, I rarely pick up items that trend, not because they’re popular but because they don’t fit my own personal aesthetic. It’s interesting, how there are so many layers to what pleases our eyes, and what feels comfortable on our own skin.


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