The true meaning of fashion

February 16, 2012
Today, I woke up early and I remained in bed for an hour or so, reading A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff, a deliciously comforting girly novel about vintage clothing, love, and friendship. Given the fact that I love old curiosities, I drove to Kensington to take a look at the stores on Antique Row; to summarize this experience, now I know from where I'll be furnishing my own home when I move out from my parents'. Unfortunately I had neither enough time nor my camera to take pictures of the most interesting finds and cutest boutiques (people still find the DC area boring and empty... tsk tsk), but I will go back there soon and spend more time looking and shopping (yes, vintage clothing and jewelry, I am coming!)

Both the antiques and the novel left me lusting for vintage clothing, although this time, more pre-World War II rather than from the 1950s and early 1960s. (maybe now is the time to hint that my birthday is in less than a month... hihihihihihi)

(photos via: 12)

For example, this Elsa Schiaparelli jacket from her 1938 Circus collection. I'm in love with the acrobat buttons, the pink colour, the horse embroidery (and no, I'm not the type of girl who LOOOVES HOOORSES! AS IN HORSES ARE THE MOST AMAZING CREATURES EVER AND THEY UNDERSTAND MEEE!!!)

(photo via 1)

Or this silk blouse, also by Schiaparelli. It's interesting to think of the historical context of the time where she launched a circus collection. The world was still recovering from the economic crisis and at the eve of a second, murderous world war. Also, some parts of the world were seeing the rise of dictatorships, such as Germany and Italy to mention a few. The circus collection is a claim for fun, joy, colour, magic, ivresse during dark times. It's interesting to see that this, and the Surrealist movement also influenced fashion.

(Photos via 1, 2)

And these two dresses by Alix Grès. Just look at the wonderful way the fabric comes down like a waterfall. I can't help but think how the light pink of the first dress would flatter my red hair. And the second dress can make any woman look like a Greek Goddess. This is beauty, this is art, this is fashion. And this is the only thing over which Anna Wintour and I wouldn't agree, since the latter says that fashion isn't about looking backward, but looking forward.
When I look at these pictures (and wish I heard of Alix Grès before my prom, just for the sake of inspiration), I realize there is fashion and fashion. There is the latest trends that people are lusting over at Fashion Week right now, and there are the Louis Vuitton purses that every middle school girl will babysit for or request for her birthday, and there are the designer suits that are imitated by affordable chains. There is the fashion that you think may buy you a social status. You may pick up a Chanel purse from a store or Ebay, and think of yourself as fashionable and chic. So are thousands of other women. 
But true fashion is owning a piece of history, not merely immersing yourself in stylish luxury. It's seeking the rare, the precious, learning from the journey, the treasure quest, not merely have it made in a factory and then sold to you at a high price to give yourself an illusion of luxury.
Some people say an interest in fashion is superficial. I myself haven't revealed to some people I know that I write a fashion blog, in the fear of being judged. But as I think about it, I am realizing more and more the schism between the side of fashion that is superficial, and the one that isn't, but rather deserves a place as important as art and music when it comes to studying and understanding history and society. 

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Monika said...

Thank you for your sweet comment. I'm Polish but I live in Denmark :p.

Monika -

Crystal Haines said...

The Elsa Schiaparelli jacket is insane! :O

Nah Amaral said...

Hi dear! Thanks for visiting my blog! There's no need to speak Portuguese, don't worry!! I just love that first dress by Alix Gres! It's gorgeooouss! *-*


E said...

First, I absolutely adore these last two glamorous dresses! Second, I really want to read this book now!

Flashes of Style said...

loveee the dress! <33



Sweetie K said...

I love the first dress and love vintage shopping to bad there aren't many places where I live.

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