The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

06 August 2010

In which fashion addresses the real woman

High Fashion For Real Woman?

Many women have had this experience: a dress looks better on the hanger than on her body. Is that dress then clothing or art? Is the female shape lacking in aesthetics, or is the designer lacking the ability to flatter a woman’s body? Many haute couture designers have the view that their clothes are works of art and are best appreciated under ideal circumstances; very tall, very thin women. Under such precise circumstances, the designer is able to control the exact drape and silhouette of his creation. Beyond the gallery of the runway, in the real world, the challenge is to design beautiful clothes for the real woman – short waist, knobby knees, sloping shoulders, and all.

Instead of addressing (or dressing) reality – the female form as it naturally occurs – couture designers impose an ideal that is uncommon, perhaps even unnatural. They require a form to serve their vision, rather than adapting their art to the form. To meet their aesthetic needs, designers, choose size zero or two fashion models who meet their ideal proportions. By comparison, the average woman in Canada wears a size eight to12 and has neither legs for days nor a neck like a gazelle. While designers create visually stunning pieces that could accurately be called art, the average woman struggles with hemlines, necklines, and panty lines, not to mention her self-image. Is it any wonder the uniform of The Real Woman is jeans and a t-shirt?

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