Years ago, before I really had any artistic appreciation for fashion, I had a love-hate relationship with magazines. I've always been a reader, so I loved the articles, the interviews, the photography. What I didn't understand were the editorial shoots. Impossibly skinny models with a hair style that likely took hours and expertise, garish makeup–but that wasn't the most puzzling. It was the clothes. A shirt with a sweater and a jacket and a coat and tights and socks with a mismatched skirt and an armful of jewelry? Would anyone in their right mind ever wear that?
With a few exceptions, the answer is no, and for a number of reasons. The first is the impracticality of dressing like a fabulous, fabulous clown. So few can pull off an over embellished and strikingly on-trend ensemble. The second deals with budget. It's not rational for any given person's everyday outfits to add up to a ballpark total of $10,000. (This would exclude jewelry.) I think there are very few people in this world that can wear head-to-toe Chanel, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton on a daily basis.
So these editorials, they are works of art. They're not meant to be taken literally. Yes, if you wear that exact outfit on the street, people will stare at you and take your picture. (Yet, if you want to, you certainly can.) They're a launching point for an outfit, for a purchase.
The same can be said of runway shows. The looks aren't necessarily meant to be worn all together, at the same time.
Joe Zee, the creative director at Elle magazine, is frank about the disconnect. “Is every single look that you see going to be accessible and wearable? No, but that’s not the point. I would like to think that our readers are smarter than that. We’re the thinking woman’s fashion magazine. No one is going to rip out that page and re-create the outfit exactly as shown. Instead, the image will provide a point of reference.”
Photos: All courtesy of Women's Wear Daily