Portmanteau Commentary: Trends and the Direction of Collective Creativity

When I was a kid and discovered the answer to philosophical questions I had never discussed with anyone or read about - merely by sitting and thinking on my own and thinking myself incredibly clever when partaking in sharing said knowledge only to discover in many cases that others had thought much the same centuries and centuries ago as well as that most "grown ups" already posessed the knowledge of said answer. The difference between them and me, I always thought, was that they were taught and told what I had discovered on my own - mere knowledge of something cannot equal the discovery of the same.

Unfortunately, the reality is different, and knowledge amounts to the same level of recognition as discovery - "That's what Aristoteles said" irks me when actually, it's what I discovered myself, no matter how many centuries later. Similarly, I'm sure, as is the case with many an argument I make, including, most likely, this very one you're reading.

When at the brink of completion of a few pieces for a collection finds me discovering other designers having gone in the same direction, I must humbly step aside and deal with the "that looks like something I saw before I saw yours" even if the creation of the latter was not in the knowledge of the former. As you may have noticed in the previous post, I have hinted on the comparisons between Lira Leirner pieces and recently strutted London Fashion Week runway pieces. I'm not going above my head and pretending my pieces are the same, but when you've researched and put into details, fabric, silhouettes and storylines into pieces still in development or almost finished and then see a painfully near enough version strutting down the catwalk in a higher finish, it stabs.

However, I cannot say I'm the only one. Copying is a fickle subject in fashion, where does "trend" go over to plain copying? Does following a feature even if started by a certain brand result in "trend" or "copying" despite differentiating interpretations?

For instance, this season I've seen the thin yet sturdy material version of last season's Miu Miu power dress feature across several collections.

Miu Miu dress with "that" bow on uncountable covers


Valentino Haute Couture Paris Spring 2011

Burberry Prorsum, Autumn/ Winter 2011/ 2012

Is this a trend? I personally think, in this instance, because there are many ways to tie a bow yet it is this particular way that I had not seen around last season apart from in "that" Miu Miu dress that any other designer that uses this way of tying a bow, a few seasons later, is copying. I will forever refer to this style of bow as the "Miu Miu power dress bow".

On the other hand, there are incidents which make me feel bad for the designer whose collection came after - because surely, being within the same season, copying could not have taken place but merely a kindred direction of creativity which I prefer to identify as a trend. For instance, I could recognize an affinity between the lopsided cowl necked gown with asymetric angular skirting of Christian Dior with Maria Grachvogel's black and simpler silhouette, both of which are cringely similar. Unlike with the Miu Mu Power Dress Bows, however, I can see that is merely a direction creativity, a conciousness of seasonal features shared that are identified as trends. Similarly, along the line of these thoughts, I excuse myself for having come up with features and ideas alongside those I've witnessed on the runway this season and wish that I will escape the fate of being accused of copying merely because my creativity is hindered by the costs of production and grand public awareness.

Christian Dior Paris Spring Haute Couture 2011
Maria Grachvogel London Fashion Week Autumn/ Winter 2011/ 2012