A woman who exists: dress in 2018 as told by Olivier Theyskens
It is romantic to think of fashion in the days of Charles Worth or even Gabriel Chanel: when clothing was built custom by an army of petits mains in white coats with scissors, needle and thread in hand—it was as well made and special as it was fussy, frilly and seemingly uncomfortable.
And so it is no longer a surprise as to why dressing in such a way went extinct with the birth of the department store and ready-to-wear in the Victorian era.
Theyskens wholly understands that about women today. “I need to feel that this girl actually exists.” This is supremely refreshing during a time when many designers are fighting for the limelight with exorbitant design details and outlandish runway shows that are heavy on concept but light on substance.
Are designers required to account for a heady concept as a rule, or is it enough to be guided by their personal ideas about taste and the way in which a woman should dress? Perhaps it is a mistake to favor the former, focusing on theory whilst forgoing the realities that in fact circumscribe daily life. There is, after all, something grossly off-putting about too many bells and whistles on a single ensemble. Sometimes, too much is too much.
Yet this isn't to say that Theyskens is detail averse. He chooses to preserve the art of dress subtly, and minimally. He does it with color—inky blacks and deep wines. He does it with cut—executing a sumptuous curve atop his demi bralettes. He does it with fabric—interplaying the texture between cashmere gloves and leather pants.
These details are enough for a woman as real as Theysken’s and also apropos for ones who are not quite at home with an ultra-glam feminist mystique yet do not wish to disavow their femininity. Eschewing frivolity, opulence, showmanship in favor of the understated, the demure, these are the creeds of 2018 as told by Theyskens. It is this understatement which is his greatest power.
Also understated was his various interpretations of the black turtle neck which was tucked neatly into his assortment amid the velvet blazers and silk shirt dresses. Historically, it is a garment is an emblem of intellectual freedom, fearless existential inquiry, and most of all, the idea that regardless of background, education, present circumstances, one can liberate themselves and create anew.
Which is as real as you can get, in my opinion.