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MC General Chat - Page 94

post #1396 of 2102
Thread Starter 
Not necessarily about women's fashion per se, but this blog focuses a lot on women's runway fashion, and talks about it in a way that I think many members on this side of SF can appreciate.

http://thecuttingclass.com/

Easily one of my favorite style blogs.
post #1397 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Women's clothing in general is a strange market. There's almost no consideration for material or construction so far as I can tell. $400 for an all-polyester dress or whatever, because "design."

This sort of lines up with what I've found in my limited search so far, but that's also true for much of mens clothing. While This forum may place a higher value on material and construction, I don't think that's a universal maxim for mens clothing. As such, I would imagine that there exists a contingent of women's clothing enthusiasts who place a higher value on such things. This is what I'd be curious to find. It seems pretty generally accepted that the expected lifespan of women's clothing is much shorter than what we expect out of things, but I wonder if such pieces exist. Is it just assumed that women will either not wear their clothes for more than a year (or so)? Obviously this involves making sure things fit over a longer period of time, and from what I understand women have very different fit issues from men.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

If you go to PurseForum, you'll see that the level of education and sophistication some women have when it comes shoes, purses, and other leather goods well surpasses some of the discussion here. Esp since half this board is about kopping and brand adulation anyway. Don't fool yourself.

I don't doubt it, and I want to go take a look. I agree that a lot of this board is about buying and interacting with sellers. Even so, the social norms of the forum place a relatively high value on quality and materials. Because of this the affiliate vendors and others are generally makers of sufficiently high quality. This is not universal, but most of them seem to be.

I'd be interested to know what can be done for women's shoes to make them last and what makers have a dedication to quality that we'd be used to. My brand knowledge is very limited and so that information was not immediate. I know some brands - Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Prada, Gucci, Ferragamo. At least with men, the last three are known to be fashion brands whose construction can be very iffy. As such I'm Immediately skeptical about them for women. The other two I'm less familiar with. I went looking at both and neither seems to have any sort of dedication to classicism or elegance. This is fine, that's not their thing, but I was taken a back as well. When I imagine good women's shoes I imagine sleek and good lines. Jimmy Choo currently has a sort of Chelsea/Jodhpur hybrid boot on their website. I saw it, and immediately compared it to the G&G Burnham, which I found much sleeker with better lines and better shaped. My wife mentioned that with women's toes - especially when there are three inch heels involved - toes are crushed in and so comfort can often take precedence.
post #1398 of 2102
Thread Starter 
I feel like you may be looking at women's fashion with a cultural/ gendered bias. Why must the quality of clothes be measured by how long they last? Perhaps it's true that high quality women's clothes (and shoes) don't last as long as men's (I have no idea, though I suspect this is true for reasons that are partly due to the cycle of women's fashion, and partly because of in-built structure and design), but that needn't be the only way we judge their quality or value.

Take haute couture, for example. I have no idea how long those pieces last, but if they didn't last as long as a Savile Row suit, I can't see why that would make their value any less obvious. We love clothes because we love design, beauty, style, craft, etc. We don't love clothes simply because we want to clothe ourselves with whatever will last us forever.

This is again more runway fashion, but if you didn't get a chance to check out the Alexander McQueen exhibit, parts of it are shown online here. The pieces are beautiful, and if you click around, you'll find some nice audio commentary.

http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/

Here's a video of one of his more famous runway shows: spring/ summer 2001

I know nothing about the making of women's shoes, but here are some video features on Massaro, a Paris-based company headed by Philippe Atienza, who used to be the chief of John Lobb's bespoke operation. Previous to him was M. Massaro, who made bespoke shoes for women such as Coco Chanel.

The values heavily touted on the MC side of SF (classic design, permanent style, longevity in make, etc) are not the only measures for fashion. They're not even the only qualities we look for in men's fashion (as evidenced by SWD). It's just this microcosm of the world - MC side of SF - where these are obsessed over. They're values I share, but they're not the only values I carry.
Edited by dieworkwear - 2/8/14 at 11:29am
post #1399 of 2102
@dieworkwear I'm certain there's a bias because it's part of what I want to address. I don't understand women's shoes (or really women's clothes) because I am ignorant, not because I think there's an unseen incongruity. At the same time, I have to start from somewhere. It seems like a natural question to ask why the standards for women's clothes are different from those of men's. It also seems natural to ask whether or not there exists an overlap between the two somewhere. Is there an equivalent to MC within womens wear? Some of this boils down to determining what knowledge about men's clothes I can transfer to understanding women's.

I agree that there is no a priori reason why the measure of quality in women's clothes should be the same as that used for classical menswear. As we've both pointed out, an emphasis on longevity is not a universal phenomenon. While it seems logical that we could come up with a set of criteria - longevity, design, construction, etc - by which to judge all clothes, I see no reason why the emphasis among different genres should be the same. To use your Haute Couture example, I don't disagree that the longevity of the piece may play little or not at all into judging its value. The purpose and usage of a couture dress is very different from that of a Saville row suit. Context is important.

Going back to women's shoes, I know there are women's bespoke makers out there. Foster and Sons has one. It is also apparent that the emphasis for women's shoes is different than that for men's, specifically the shoes valued on the MC side of things. There are also issues and tradeoffs that don't come up here. My wife has told me that there's a tradeoff between comfort and design for heels because of the way that the toe is forced into the toe box. While something more lithe and pointed may be more fashionable, it's likely to hurt and be unwearable for long periods of time. Addressing this requires - or at least appears to require - sacrificing some of the sharpness to the shoe. My wife buys shoes on both ends for different purposes. I, on the other hand, have options that do a good job of addressing both.

Some of it certainly seems like either the cycle for women's clothing runs faster than men's or that the changes between seasons are greater. I don't know, but that's the impression I've gotten so far. As I said, I don't really know where to look to get a better impression. One thing I have noticed is a mindset that given two options from a given season (say for boots), buying the more expensive thing is less likely to be worth it because there's probably not much of a quality difference and the time of both will have passed rather soon anyway. Something like that. The general mindset seems to be different, and I don't know what that is. There are also issues of shape and fit that brands aren't necessarily going to meet, and so women have to be willing to shop with what they can do.

As I said, I don't know. Some of the things I'm saying sound like they are problems that could be encountered by either gender. The thing I see to do is understand their difference in prevalence and use that to understand how this affects the way that either gender views clothing. Obviously there will be no universal maxims to come out of it, but if there is something general to be known that seems worth finding out.

I will try to watch the videos tonight. The kids are not giving me time to do so at the moment.
post #1400 of 2102
Thread Starter 
I think the reasons why "classic men's clothing" and "women's fashion in general" have such different value structures and measures of quality goes back to the very gendered norms we have in society. At the core, it's OK for women to be into fashion. It's considered a "low" thing, as we live under Anglo social norms where "the body" and "vanity" are considered to be bad. It's OK to look at art outside of yourself (architecture, paintings, music, etc). Those are considered arts of "the mind." But clothes are considered of the body, and touches too close to vanity, which are considered bad in Anglo society (not a view that all cultures share, incidentally).

Anyway, as you know, fashion has always been OK for women, and not OK for men, because they're considered vain anyway, and we're considered "smarter." So it's OK for women to have faster fashion cycles, own more clothes, engage more in "vain things." Men are presumed to only want/ need clothes for greater purposes (seemingly here on this forum only for the purposes of going to weddings, job interviews, and menswear meet ups). I presume there would be a greater emphasis on "permanent fashion" for men, since it's considered something you should buy, wear, and be done with.

Even on this board, you can see people's often knee jerk reaction when it comes to anything progressive. We're conservative partly because we're bought into a very "masculine" value system when it comes to dressing. CBD is largely about looking nice without ever drawing attention to yourself as a clotheshorse or looking like you care about something as debased as clothes. Talking purely about construction makes us feel safer about talking about clothes. It makes it feel more like you're flipping up the hood of a car and talking about the construction of some item.

I think it's a shame. Once you get rid of these social hang ups, you can see how much more interesting fashion can be. There's a reason why many talented designers consider their menswear line as an afterthought. It's because womenswear is a billion times more interesting and beautiful. Just look at those McQueen clips and links I posted above. Women's fashion can have all the craft and skill of men's clothing, but with a lot more open mindedness and experimentation.

I think of fashion as something you can appreciate in three ways:

1. There's the pragmatic kind of fashion, like what Ralph Lauren produces. That's the kind of stuff that'll just make you look good at job interviews, bars, weddings, or any other social situation. It's pretty practical.

2. Then there's a kind of artisanal appreciation - we like things because they took a certain amount of skill. Think of all the obsessive language some people use to talk about handsewn shirts or whatever.

3. Then there's conceptual appreciation - that is, liking something because of how the concept of the thing plugs into a great conversation about forms, art, values, etc. Comme De Garcons can be an example.

Men overly prioritize points 1 and 2, and under emphasize 3 because of gendered norms. It's why the poster above has to put quotation marks around the word "design," as if it's some trivial thing.

And just to note, points one, two, and three are not exclusive. Most brands and their garments are a mix of all three, and many of us appreciate things in a mix of all three. But there's often a focus on one over the other. The only reason why womenswear might seem foreign on MC is because we undervalue point 3 - the value of design - and overly focus on points 1 and 2. The idea of women's fashion would not at all be foreign on the SWD side of the board, where point three is much more accepted.

And again, the reason for all this draws back to gendered norms.
post #1401 of 2102
I recently wondered the same about women's shoes. I am looking to get a pair of Ferragamos for my sister, and have wondered what elements will require consideration. Knowing they are Ferragamos will probably be enough for her, but how well made will they be?

At least with hand bags, it is easier to notice the MC hallmarks of quality, not so much with shoes though...
post #1402 of 2102
@dieworkwear

You know, that makes sense to me. I am in the art field after all, so valuing aesthetics should not be such a foreign concept to me. As such, that will answer my question. Whatever shoe my sister pics will be as good as any other, based on her needs and tastes.
post #1403 of 2102
Thread Starter 
Eugene Rabkin, editor of StyleZeitgeist magazine (a style magazine that largely focuses on "gothninja") penned a piece today in BoF on "what's fashion for."

http://www.businessoffashion.com/2014/02/cathy-horyn-ann-demeulemeester-thom-browne.html

It's basically heavily focused on the third aspect of my list - that is, an appreciation for the conceptual dimension of fashion. He's written a few pieces for BoF sort of like this, where he attempts to differentiate fashion from "regular clothing." That is, one is designed with conceptual intent, and the other is not (think, some designer t-shirt vs. a Costco t-shirt).

I actually liked this piece he wrote against fast fashion, but many people hated it. IIRC, including Fok

http://www.businessoffashion.com/2012/11/op-ed-making-the-case-against-fast-fashion-collaborations.html

Anyway, women's fashion isn't hard to understand at all when you put it in context of conceptual design, rather than just focus on the practical function of clothes (keeps us warm, allows us to be socially accepted, etc), or the artisanal/ craft dimension of their production.
post #1404 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

I actually liked this piece he wrote against fast fashion, but many people hated it. IIRC, including Fok

http://www.businessoffashion.com/2012/11/op-ed-making-the-case-against-fast-fashion-collaborations.html

I was enjoying this piece until I got to:
Quote:
[Fashion] means carefully crafted designs made with attention to detail and aesthetic sensibility.

...then my reflex to switch to another tab upon contact with Menswear Mad Libs words took over.
post #1405 of 2102
Thread Starter 
Yea, but you kind of get what he means ...

It's not easy to cleanly delineate any social thing, but to the degree we can, fashion is more "conceptually" designed than what you'd find at Target. And while costs and sales are obviously important to designer fashion, mass marketing, efficient production, and competitive pricing seem to be the more important drivers for the stuff you see at Walmart of whatever. In other words, you can more easily find commodities at the "mass market" level of clothing (H&M, Old Navy, etc) than you can at Barney's or some obscure boutique.

And his point is that you're not really buying fashion if you're getting the "cheapened," "watered down" version of it.
post #1406 of 2102
My earlier post was too flippant. But WTF is "conceptual intent?" Do Costco T-shirts appear fully constructed by accident? Does Costco scour the universe for these unhappy accidents of quantum physics in the hopes of selling them 3 for $9.99? How much "attention to detail" is required before an item becomes fashion and not clothing? 7?

EDIT: Posted this before seeing Derek's reply...if the dividing line is whether you first try to design something cool and then figure out what you can make it for and what you can sell it for, or alternatively figure out how much you want to charge and then work from there, that may be a decent rough-and-ready categorization. Although I'm pretty sure Kiton designs by first asking, "How can we charge $10k for a suit?"
post #1407 of 2102
Thread Starter 
I don't know how to tag people on StyleForum, where you make a post and they get some notification that they've been mentioned, but someone should "tag" LAGuy so he can come here and eviscerate that article. I think I remember him saying somewhere how much he hated it.
post #1408 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

I don't know how to tag people on StyleForum, where you make a post and they get some notification that they've been mentioned, but someone should "tag" LAGuy so he can come here and eviscerate that article. I think I remember him saying somewhere how much he hated it.

Use the "@" button between the linky thing and the film strippy thing, like this: @LA Guy

I think some of the best examples of design in the 20th century are mass-marketed or -produced goods though. For example, military clothing. Brand logos.
post #1409 of 2102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

My earlier post was too flippant. But WTF is "conceptual intent?" Do Costco T-shirts appear fully constructed by accident? Does Costco scour the universe for these unhappy accidents of quantum physics in the hopes of selling them 3 for $9.99? How much "attention to detail" is required before an item becomes fashion and not clothing? 7?

EDIT: Posted this before seeing Derek's reply...if the dividing line is whether you first try to design something cool and then figure out what you can make it for and what you can sell it for, or alternatively figure out how much you want to charge and then work from there, that may be a decent rough-and-ready categorization. Although I'm pretty sure Kiton designs by first asking, "How can we charge $10k for a suit?"

"Conceptually designed" is when you design for the aristoi, and "not conceptually designed" is when you design for the hoi polloi.

In all seriousness, I don't think designer fashion is less business-sensitive. It's just designed in a way that currently plugs into the conversation of concepts, forms, etc.

People making Costco dad jeans are just making whatever sells. They're not trying to sell you on an image, idea, concept, etc. Nor are they plugging into the bigger conversation on "fashion."

Do you not agree with that?
post #1410 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post


Use the "@" button between the linky thing and the film strippy thing, like this: @LA Guy

I think some of the best examples of design in the 20th century are mass-marketed or -produced goods though. For example, military clothing. Brand logos.

You also need to switch your editor from BBcode editor to "rich text" editor, @dieworkwear 

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