Holding the memory

January 27, 2022
Courtesy: Christian Dior Couture

The week of men’s ready-to-wear, followed by the haute couture collections, leaves behind the vibrant imagery of Nino Cerruti, André Léon Talley, and Thierry Mugler, along Virgil Abloh and Alber Elbaz last year. Each passing has become a presence that takes on a certain permanence. Fashion, which has always expressed the essence of an era, now sees its hard drive hacked. The question is unavoidable: How to remember the departed without embalming them; how to understand the meaning of a story without losing the thread of what preceded it? This season, anniversaries, tributes and quotations all contribute to this freezing of time. Delivery delays, logistical issues, absences, working from home: what used to correspond with debuts, celebration, tension, vibration, energy, movement seems to be governed by other laws.  The laws of the health crisis, like those of heritage. We keep, we hoard, and then self-righteousness refuse novelty. But the power of fashion designers lies in their ability to transform, to give direction, to provide us with a compass in a rather complicated moment.  It is neither a question of the “recommencement” celebrated by Christian Dior in 1947, nor the nostalgic mindset transmitted by Yves Saint Laurent’s retro style in 1971.We have never been as connected to the moment as we are to the past; but being in the moment perhaps deprives us of what is essential: life.  Indeed, a time without heaviness is what everyone wishes for today: seeking the lightness of being that the Covid crisis and these past two years have taken from us. What we find in movement, construction, the grace given to gesture, to the body, to the way a beautiful garment dresses dreams – while also renewing them.

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