Clothes, as we know, are more than mere slipcases for our bodies. Fashion allows freedom of expression, and most of us have the right to exercise that freedom however we choose. What we wear, the way we choose to present ourselves, gives off a series of complicated codified signals. Clothes make us feel a certain way, and they make other people feel a certain way about us. Most importantly perhaps, we use clothes to demonstrate our individuality. What you wear is who you are.
All the more jarring then, is Vogue's Catwalk Report for Spring/Summer '09, illustrating the major trends for the next season. Direct quotes are in italics:
Exposure: Designers play with contrast, crafting sensual see-through fabrics into buttoned up blouses and demure dresses [illustrated with frocks you could read the phone book through]
Skyscraper Heels: Spring's shoes are real works of art, bedecked in ribbons and feathers, beads, metallic ruffles and sharp studs. This season's styles are extreme [translation: plaster casts forecast for Autumn/Winter '09]
Exotic Eyewear: Maverick designs are key. Crystal-encrusted geek frames, small goggles and futuristic visors cast no uncertain style shadow. [the word 'maverick' justifiably sets off alarm bells here]
In brief, the trends could not be more out of touch with reality. And it's not only the economic climate, dire as that is. It's the geographic climate as well. In the land where these see-through, 5-inch-heel, visored sunglassed looks are worn, it never, ever rains. For British fashion lovers especially, that is the ultimate fantasy.