PHOTO OF THE YEAR. Tommy Ton, 2012.
I know, I know. We are already 7 days into 2013 and we are all a little sick and tired of hearing year-end recaps. But this one’s worth it.
Let’s discuss the photo of the year. When that wise old man with a long white beard on the top of a mountain once said, “A picture is worth a thousand words” he was without a doubt referring to this one. It encapsulates so perfectly where fashion has traversed this year. Athletic-chic. High-low fashion. Single sole pumps. The color white. Allow me to elaborate, will ya?
The red track pants signify the “athletic-chic” look that was all the rage this past year. Wearing baseball (cozy) caps, bomber jackets, wedge sneakers, and of course track pants was a surefire way to be captured world wide on the cameras of fashion’s greatest street style photographers. Other than the obvious Olympic influence, I’d say this has something, or even everything to do with women embracing the menswear trend. There is something so sexy about seeing a woman pull off a menswear look with a sense of ease and I see the sport trend as an absolute extension of that.
The coupling of casual track pants with dress pumps is another major statement about what makes fashion interesting these days. Let’s recall a major fashion moment that ignited this high-low phenomenon. Anna Wintour’s first cover as the editor of Vogue was one styled by Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele featuring model Michaela Bercu dressed in an haute couture embellished Christian LaCroix jacket paired with stonewashed Guess jeans. It was provocative and controversial for breaking many rules. It was a statement of modernity and that juxtaposition of mixing high and low fashion is still extremely relevant as evidenced by this brilliant Tommy Ton photo.
The biggest story in shoes this year was the abrupt movement away from the platform and towards the single sole. It’s a huge deal people! It’s about so much more than a new “trendy” silhouette. It speaks to a change in women’s tastes. It says that women are tired of clunking around in sky-high, chunky platforms. It says that they’re ready to embrace a more delicate, understated and feminine look. It says they care less about height and comfort and more about polish and femininity. Maybe, possibly, perhaps after pushing the pendulum so far forward in gaining equality, women are finally ready to go back to celebrating their feminine elegance once again. Better yet, we have the undoubted authority to bounce around the masculine and feminine look seamlessly. Who run the world? Girls.
And finally, the Photo of the Year verifies the freshest color in fashion this year, white. To remix Jay-Z’s lyrics, “All black white everything.” Again, in my semi-humble opinion, this is more than just an “it” color. The white trend, for lack of a better term, speaks to the over-saturation of “it” colors. How tired are we of seeing “Color-blocking!” “Oxblood!” “Emerald!” “Cobalt Blue!” taking over fashion headlines? Our obsession with the color white is possibly our way of expressing a need for cleansing the trendy-color-of-the-season overkill. It makes us crave something neutral, uncomplicated, fresh. It represents a longing for simplicity. A longing for clarity from all of the static.
The reason I feel the need to explore this trend so deeply is because this one feels different to me. There are times when I will buy into a trend simply because it looks new and fresh for the season. In this case, at least personally, it’s so much more than that. It’s this intense craving, this emotional longing (which I’ve had since July 2011) to adorn myself in all white, or at least white accents and therefore begs the question “WHY?”
Fashion is and always has been a reflection of the times. Take any art history class and you are guaranteed a discussion about the clothing depicted in works of art revealing important observations about the times.
Today, we live in a world that is constantly becoming more demanding, more complex, more exposed and I think deep down, we are hungry for white, again, as a cry to the return to simplicity. White in historical and literary symbolism signifies purity, innocence, goodness and absence. Absence. I don’t know about you but to me that sounds like the perfect way to describe the status quo. Between technology, social media and a round-the-clock work ethic, we are feeling a sense of absence more than ever. Absence of focus. Absence of patience. Absence of healthy communication. Absence of fulfillment. Could that be part of the reason why everyday I find myself desperately searching the world wide web in hopes of finding the white 3.1 Phillip Lim 31 hour weekender bag on sale?
As I write this, I realize you may think this is all a very big stretch. A fashion trend is a fashion trend! A Tommy Ton photograph is just a pretty street style picture! What is all this rubbish about fashion representing anything more than a designer’s mood for that season? You may be right, but what if I’m right too? That is the beauty of a photograph or any piece of art; it’s openness to interpretation. Wouldn’t it be awesome if my interpretation of this street style shot was one day, say in 3013, studied in art history textbooks? A girl can be delusional dream.