Lingerie and the 1970’s was the inspiration behind Jill Stuart’s Spring 2014 collection for New York Fashion Week. Designers have been using innerwear as outerwear muse for centuries.
Josephine waged her own gender power war against Napoleon by making the unstructured look fashionable (and almost bankrupted his reign through fashion when he married someone else). Corset styling was norm across all price points recent years.
Jill Stuart had plenty slip-like dresses, lacy embellishments with safe color palettes of off-white variations and black.
My fellow photographers and I had noticed a noticeable increase in diversity, both in the crowds and on the runway this season for spring 2014 presentations. The exception was this Jill Stuart show. While there was possibly 1 vaguely Asian looking model, I remember the impression of this runway was a lot of blonde, blonde, blonde.
While no designer should be dictated to in terms of who they should cast, the tide is clearly to be more inclusive than exclusive by the leading fashion brands of today. Perhaps the designer is only reflecting her own experiences; her bio clearly indicates that her entry into the industry was based on her parents having already built a successful clothing company before it was handed to her. While I take this with a grain of salt, I have had close friends work for this company and quit in protest of the dehumanizing culture they found there.
This shouldn't have a bearing on what I think of an individual season’s fashion collection, but it is difficult (for me) not to keep in mind who a designer is as a person with their creations. Does that make me see the looks on the catwalk as clothes made for privileged women who don’t work for a living? Is that unfair or exactly the target market, therefore success!
One of Jill Stuart’s bragging rights in her bio is that the brand created many of the looks in the 1990’s movie “Clueless”. This was a cute story of entitled privileged children who have everything handed to them with no efforts of their own. Sure it was one of my favorite fashion films that year, but the fact remains the same.
What do you think? Does a designer’s personal philosophy and who they cast as models affect how you see (and shop) the brand?
Photos by David TW Leung