Paris 01/23/09. Photos by Francois Guillot/Getty Images.
Fashion likes to play to the odd ball when it comes to picking out new body parts for reflection under the erotic gaze and Spring 2009 showed us the rise of the scapula. Two capstone shows, Kris Van Assche at the beginning of Paris and Lanvin at the end, highlighted the rise of the scapula and perhaps dare we say it the dismise of the clavicle as the new unusual body part for objectification. Perhaps the scapula is less perplexing than the clavicle but it is certainly more daring giving us all a chance to stare at a beautiful woman's back as she goes into her own powerful future. We saw variations on the theme as well at Karl Lagerfeld, Sonia Ryiel and Hussein Chalayan as well.
The art of adornment is a source of never ending interest and intense pleasure for the fashion flock even down to the details and it was that attention to our most intimate bodily features that must have inspired both Karl Lagerfeld and Kris Van Assche to ask the same question about the slim line between tattoos and jewelry. While they approached the issue from opposite sides, Kris Van Assche showed tattoos as necklaces and bracelets while Karl Lagerfeld showed necklaces and bracelets as tattoos, both raise an interesting question about just how much fashion gets under our skin.
Kris Van Assche has said in relation to his own vision of menswear that he is repelled by the "uniformization of sportswear" and yet his womenswear has the distinct feel of being something of a uniform, indeed his Spring 2009 collection was very much the modernist attire of the Antwerp School.
Slim yet unrestricted, simple and and unassuming, the collection was nonetheless exactly the sort of garb a commanding creative woman has taken to be her own. It is almost a cliché at times as we have come to accept a kind of darkly dressed dominant heroine as the acceptable way of appropriating the signals of a man's authority for our own. And few designers are more qualified to riff on the shared set of gender power references in dressing than Kris Van Assche.
Paneled vest like tops, brooding oversized sweaters, Spring 2009's obligatory voluminous sheers and thankfully menswear touches with louche suit jackets made for a collection that we find vastly appealing both in its own right and as the kind of wardrobe we too wish to appropriate in our own struggles towards expressing the allure and power of the modern feminine.