Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"There is no line at the bank for being ahead of your time"

While it's true that I am friendly with Ralph Rucci I chose his design as my first post for my new blog because it is the perfect example of everything I support when it comes to fashion. It moved me when I saw it and it was just on a hanger. It becomes permanent in your mind and elevates your sense of what is powerful, beautiful, artistic. I've seen dozens of fashion designs that have affected me in that same way in my years in fashion but almost all of them without exception share one other thing in common; the designers who designed them are not as famous and revered as they should be based on their immense talent and stunning designs.

I've always been confounded by who the American fashion media and the CFDA choose to "push". I'm not saying those designers aren't talented because I believe they are. But by my standards, though they are subjective I believe they are measurable & correct, Ralph Rucci is a vastly superior designer to say Michael Kors or Marc Jacobs. As are Reem Acra, Monique Lhullier, Douglas Hannant and a few others. They are more imaginative, innovative, and they possess more technical skill. The reasons that the American fashion media and the CFDA promote the designers they do are obscure to me and I do really wish that someone would some day explain them to me. 

The excuse can easily be given that the marketplace decides who is famous but anyone who has worked around those with large marketing budgets and who can hire truly gifted PR people knows that opinions can be purchased and people can be sold on virtually anything. Branding, marketing and PR do work to increase sales and so the marketplace for the most part is poor at measuring who is brilliant versus who is merely good. I have argued in the past that the only two attributes that can be used to make that judgment are influence and permanence. Which implies, accurately, that history is the only meaningful judge of art. The two problems with this are firstly, as Albert Brooks once wonderfully stated, "there is no line at the bank for being ahead of your time". Secondly it lets those in the present off the hook for the decisions that they make. The job of the media and industry support organizations is to ensure that the industry they cover is a meritocracy and that the best of the best are proclaimed so. This is not currently the case in the United States and the mission of my blog and in fact all of my work in the fashion industry is to be sure that fashion designers' collections are judged on their merits alone. Education about what must come to matter to consumers and an explanation of why X is genius and Y is less than so will be my focus. 

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