One of the many things I appreciate about Pattern is that, unlike some magazines, there’s no obligation to speak nicely about fashion brands that are, or might become, advertisers. If I see something coming down the runway that was probably better left on a dress form, I can say just that. My reason for doing so is simple: people work hard for the money they spend on clothes. They want to be stylish, but don’t have a lot of cash to waste so they look to fashion magazines for hints as to what makes the most sense. When magazines fail to flag bad fashion, we get decades like the 1970s where, let’s face it, we all looked bad.
My mother, may she rest in peace, also taught me that if I don’t have anything good to say, to keep my big mouth shut. Obviously, I don’t always heed that instruction, and Mother never met Facebook. Still, her words lingered in my mind as I sat in horror watching what was coming down the runway for Libertine late Monday night. My first inclination was to ignore the show, pretend it didn’t happen. I sent a warning email to Polina and posted brief, snarky comments on social media.
Then, I was challenged to take another look. “Consider it from a deconstructionist art perspective,” said one. “If it confounds you, it has been successful,” said another. “He has an upcoming editorial in Vogue,” instructed a third. Okay. Taking another look. Cautiously. Trepeditiously.
I suppose, if one considers the pieces as separates, and this is truly a line of separates, there are elements that might be workable, especially the jackets. Juxtaposed against a solid, perhaps, the designs might not be quite so offensive to the eyes. The silhouettes are, for the most part, quite wearable and even modest. Were the fabrics different, I quite likely would have had a very different view of the line. And after all, what’s wrong with a little applique here and there?
But no, the fabrics chosen by designer Johnson Hartig are ridiculously loud and obnoxious. The greater majority of the line looks as though someone gave grandma a case of Red Bull and then locked her in a room with a glue gun. Do I know people who would wear clothes like this? Yes, I do, but they would visit the thrift shop, grab supplies at the hobby shop, and do the applique themselves. Spending hundreds of dollars on an outfit one can recreate for under ten dollars defies the counter culture.
Psychiatrists tell us that people who constantly select ostentatious and outlandish clothing have severe self-esteem issues leading them to select wardrobe demanding they be seen and noticed, even if it is for all the wrong reasons. Can you think of any other reason for going down the runway with no pants?