Fashion is a delicious, strange cake.
Personally, for me, it’s a carrot cake. I don’t know why; it just is. Whatever the flavor, many ingredients must be included for fashion to foster all of the cake-eater’s needs: taste, aesthetic and hunger.
Think of it like this: every runway season creates a new cake. Chanel suits are the flour –– the bare minimum, bland, but necessary. (Sorry Karl.) Then there are conceptual designers like Viktor and Rolfe, Comme Des Garcons and Gucci who are the flavor. Finally, there are the couture houses, whose elegant dresses make up the frosting. They are the beauty and grace that make a cake cake-worthy. But this season fashion was met with a surprising problem: no frosting. That’s right. all the ballgowns are gone.
Over the four fashion weeks, only a few houses sent ballgowns down the runway. I’m talking fabric-extravaganza, like, nothing-else-matters-in-the-world-except-for-this-beautiful-dress. There were dresses, and beautiful ones, sure. But even the gowns sent down the runway were more toned down, modest, and almost meant for utility.
Our society, at least at the moment, is too practical for ballgowns, which is why there is an absence this fashion month in those frilly, floaty masterpieces.
In general, in times of political and social unrest, such as a Trump presidency, big moves like buying a couture gown become risky for the wallet. Think the stock market crash of 1928. No one wants to relive that again.
Europe is going through similar troubles, with the adjustment of a new president in France and the follow-through of Brexit in England, which has been making an appearance on the runway for the past two seasons.
France, being in the least stressful position after dropping President Hollande of a 4% approval rating, did have more ballgowns than Italy, England or the United States. (Italy is, by default, out of the running since Italian houses’ primary focus is sportswear.)
The brands that are known for ballgowns, such as Marchesa, Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad are all doing their best to stay relevant, some more than others. For an audience that has bigger things to worry about, the brands that will sell are the ones doing their absolute best to remain relevant in the eyes of millennial consumers, even if that means toning it down.
Even more interesting, instead of ballgowns, suits and jumpsuits made a strong appearance –– and it’s not for nothing. They require similar, precise construction, and there is still a workable space for creativity, just like a dress. All the while, they’re more practical and speak to the high-salary millennials, going about their grind.
Maybe it’s sad, or just different to see no ballgowns on the runway this season. But there are still beautiful creations that make fashion just as wondrous and enchanting. Except now, they’re just practical.
The fashion cake, at least for now, is a fashion loaf. Practical, yummy, and still ever-quenching the hunger of fashion foodies everywhere.