A look from Alexander McQueen.
Robin Givhan took the fashion world, and Alexander McQueen, specifically, to task in her column yesterday for, as she put it, chipping away at women's dignity. Them's some strong fighting words. Givhan raises the point that fashion has embraced Michelle Obama, Beth Ditto, and Oprah Winfrey as style icons. They've been wooed, dressed, put on magazine covers (see ours today). If we didn't know any better, we'd think diversity was being embraced. That women of all shapes, colors, and sizes were being celebrated. That is, until we see the runways.
Givhan looks specifically at McQueen's Leigh Bowery–inspired collection and retrospective that walked last week.
There were many things recycled on his runway Tuesday night that one hoped never to see again: metal neck braces, metal "yashmak" or head coverings, hobbling skirts and ankle-breaking platform shoes. One doesn't have to be a graduate of a women's studies program to find these things disturbing.
She goes on to say that the blame isn't solely on designers. We women will do anything for clothes. We wear uncomfortable shoes and dresses just to look good. And if any of you have ever squeezed into a shoe one size too small because it was all there was left, or worn a pair of Loubs an inch too high, you know the pain she's talking about.
Givhan, back on the issue of size, issues this challenge to designers. "To hone their skills so that they can cut a dress in a size 14 as expertly — and frequently — as they cut one in a size 6." And we have to agree. Having seen Beth Ditto embraced in her sequined bra top at the Fendi party last week and on the cover of Love, surely the fashion world is becoming a touch more open-minded? And if not that, think of it from a business angle. You can reach a broader audience if you make clothes that fit what more women are shaped like. If real women have curves, isn't it time we acknowledge those curves? (Cue "Yes we can!")
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