Image: Chloe Collection S/S 2007
In the passionate debate about too- thin models, no one has really reached the nub of the matter: Why would grown women yearn to resemble pre-pubescent girls? Yet one of the Olsen twins boasted from her front- row perch at the Dior show this week that she was wearing a child's jacket; and the streets of Western capitals are filled with women well past middle age squeezed into drain-pipe jeans.The answer lies not with fashion designers, whose vision only mirrors the complexities of their times, but with a psychoanalyst who has to decode the reasons for this strange desire to eliminate a natural womanly shape, to the point that the greatest compliment paid to the young mother Katie Holmes was editors cooing that she had got her figure back. The recent success of Chloé, when it had a young woman designer, Phoebe Philo (who left a year ago for motherhood), was both to play with pregnant volumes and to capture a world of innocence in which a woman seemed to get in touch with her "inner child." Since this was played out at a time when "girly' looks, pulsating with in- your-face sexuality, was the leading fashion culture, Chloé acted as a fashion counterpoint. But Chloé's regression into infancy this season was a step too far into the thick-heeled version of Mary Jane shoes. (They are, of course, footwear that no self-respecting kid wears in a world of sneakers).
The program notes cited the American heiress Gloria Vanderbilt as a primary influence, but then specifically stated that the show was "inspired by childhood." Hence, there were pants suspended from a high waist below a flat chest that seemed grotesque for a grown woman, while a jumper dress over a blouse with billowing sleeves was charming.
By Suzy Menkes International Herald Tribune
Published: October 8, 2006