I’ve been doing some fashion writing for online magazine Dalliance. It’s an excellent concept, young people aged 13-25 around the globe all contribute well thought out ideas about fashion and trends, and it’s put together into a free online magazine available via issuu. Lucky me had two stories published in the most recent issue, read the story then check out the pages below!
THE MODERN MUSE
Just as musicians strummed strings and sang sweet melodies, so too does the designer bestow beauty upon his muse. The centuries old bond shared between creator and inspiration transcends time and trends, stretching as far back as Da Vinci and his Mona Lisa, the muse serves to inspire and captivate. No place is this profession more relevant and necessary than the world of fashion, where couture lives in imagined lands and ready-to-wear is the escapism of the people, channeling street style and It Girls. However, some may still be baffled by the purpose of this illustrious creature, what does the Muse do? If we look to our dictionaries and trust in their definition, a muse “is a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.”
Within the fashion industry the Muse is a force that captures a designers creative eye, giving them the necessary stimuli to produce a reaction so beautiful as to capture this very force into a garment or collection. An example of this phenomenon is the relationship between Anthony Vacarello and Anja Rubik; the designer responds to the attitude Rubik gives out, turning her intelligent sexiness and fierce attitude into clothing equally fierce and sexy. While critics argue Vacarello’s capsule collections cater only to a particular women during cocktail hour, Rubik wears it naturally, disproving the myth. Vacarello has spoken about Rubiks ability to wear his clothes as naturally as some women wear jeans, referencing the confident way she wore that barely-there white gown that made her hip bone famous. Rubik has become a directional and conceptual marker for Vacarello’s designs, giving him the sight to create on-the-cusp risqué clothing without losing that intelligence.
Ever since Hubert de Givenchy discovered Audrey Hepburn and laid his label at her feet to create the iconic Little Black Dress in her image, the role of the Muse has become integral to designers. Just as the Muse serves to inspire, she is also an attitudinal force behind an aesthetic concept for a collection, she is the woman they design for and the lifestyle their clothes live. The Muse becomes a personified representation of a brands direction while also shaping the path a collection takes. Over the years this relationship has evolved from creator and inspiration to collaborators, morphing from the role of simple clothes horse to stylist, consultant, model and friend. No clearer can this new partnership be seen than between Alexander Wang and his Muse, Erin Wasson.
When the pair met during a neighbourly exchange at their New York residences, Wang was captivated by Wasson’s unique brand of bohemian beauty and laid-back rebellious style. Her simple approach to fashion and minimalist aesthetic suited perfectly to his nostalgic yet tailored collections that pay homage to 90’s style and laid back attitudes. While Wasson begun as a simple picture of inspiration, walking in his shows and donning his creations, she quickly became a trusted friend and collaborator. While Wang designs and creates, Wasson styles his shows and consults on his aesthetic decisions, a process which has led her to designing her own jewellery line – Low Luv x Erin Wasson, an endeavour undoubtedly made possible due to the time she spent working with Wang and the knowledge he has shared with her.
The Muse also acts as a marker of change. A change in direction, style, taste or influence, the Muse is a personification of the elements that have worked together in order to bring forth a new collection. Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection saw a shift from a rich opulence to minimalist east-asian aesthetic, a new twist on an old trend. In similar style Karl Lagerfeld chose Yumi Lambert to feature in the campaign, her unique blend of asian-european features sitting cohesively with the unique combination of minimalist and east asian influences. Lambert represents a new direction for the upcoming collections; previously Lagerfeld has indulged his love of colour-rich japanese-pop, evident in his collaboration with cosmetic company Shu Uemura and past collections. Now, his interest in minimalist euro-chic has come to the fore-front, bringing with it a face that represents a wonderful combination of the two. Not only does Lambert act as the face of this change, she will become the change, her particular look inspiring challenging combinations and risks for the fashion house while also adhering to Chanel’s ‘look’ of unusual models and conceptual designs.
However, the clearest example of Muse and designer lays solely upon the shoulders of Lady GaGa and Donatella Versace. GaGa has become Donatella’s protege, her outlandish sartorial choices share a symbiotic relationship with Versace’s daring designs, the two elements working together perfectly to continuously inspire fresh looks and challenge trends, similar to the way in which GaGa approaches her music. Since the collaboration was announced, Lady GaGa has been transformed into a young Donatella for Versace’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Her long blonde locks reminiscent of the fashion house’s Vice President, Donatella, who recently told the press that “She [GaGa] is like family to me, the embodiment of the Versace DNA.”
It is within that quote that we truly find the essence of what a Muse is within fashion to the designer. She embodies the brand and grows it, just as our DNA grows us so too does the Muse grow with the designer, reaching fashion heights that without inspiration, would never be conquered.
Visit Dalliance Magazine HERE
Read the newest issue HERE