A few weeks ago in the bathroom at my extremely diverse high school, I eavesdropped on two girls talking while seemingly fixing their makeup in the mirrors. (Why their makeup needed refreshing at nine in the morning on a Tuesday is beyond me.) The two girls seemed to be underclassmen, probably freshman, and were dressed in black leggings, UGG boots, and sweatshirts. I try not to discriminate, but wearing that boring of an outfit, even in freezing weather, does not translate to admirable sartorial adventure-ism and style. Granted, that is the opinion of a girl who wore a swimsuit in place of a bra just this past Friday, but please read on.
The conversation was short albeit eye-opening. One girl exclaimed loudly to her friend, "You have the best sense of style! I can't wait to go shopping with you this weekend!" to which her friend replied, "Right? I want to be exactly like Taylor Swift. She always look so cute." The first girl concluded, "I mean, I just love shopping, ya know? Like, these leggings make our butts look so good. Lululemon leggings are just perfect. I need more." The girls giggled playfully, as if they were discussing a hot boy rather than overpriced workout pants, and then exited the bathroom. While I was listening from my squatted perch in one of the stalls, emptying my glorious bowels, I strained myself to silence my laughter; they couldn't be serious, could they? Forget that fact that their distinct obsessions with Taylor Swift and Lululemon leggings dictate their sartorial choices. Did these girls actually surmise that the essence of admirable style lies in the love of shopping?
I was taken aback. Hopefully you, reading this with any sense of conviction, are aghast as well. Truly I do love and actively participate in the act of shopping. Isn't there a song by Kreyshawn that bylines Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada, them basic bitches wear that shit but I don't even botha? Certainly I am not "basic" by any standard (not to say I am not a bitch; you can ask my mother and possibly my boyfriend for backup on that endearing statement) and I would most definitely bother to wear Gucci, Louis, Fendi and Prada if I only had the means to do so (anyone have a sugar daddy they'd like to share..?). Seemingly so, Kreyshawn seems to profoundly allude through her improper speech that it doesn't matter which brands she is wearing because she knows that no matter who she wears, she will look good. Can't that be said for everyone? No matter how much you love to shop - to endlessly browse the aisles of stores and admire the pretty things on the hangers - your sense of style cannot be branded with a price tag. Fashion is the effort, the design, the intricacy that goes into creating a beautiful garment, not the ass-enchancing capabilities or the materials and not even the icons that wear it. Fashion is understood yet never too contrived or confusing; shopping is a task some like to participate in. But let's get to the point.
FW 2014 Paris Fashion Week just wrapped up with a bang, not only closing its own week of luxurious shows but the entire "Fashion Month" itself, complete with fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, respectively. The collections showcased this past grueling month are all targeted for fall and winter, so they will not be available for purchase for at least six months. Why does this pertain to anything I am saying in this article, you may ask? Well, let me answer that for you. Since these extremely intricate and amazing collections cannot be purchased for a long period of time, the whole conceptual desire of shopping for these clothes is disabled, making it impossible to even equate shopping with fashion or style in this common sense. These collections can only be idolized and examined time and time again, making their winter arrival so much more special six months from now.
Don't believe me? Check out my all-time-favorite collection showcased at Fall/Winter Paris Fashion Week 2014 (and possibly favorite collection of all time) below. You can't be that bored yet.
Above you will find Balmain. If you are like me and pronounced Vogue as "VAH-GUH" for the first thirteen years of your life, you will pleased to learn that Balmain is also near impossible to pronounce. Let's say it together: "BAL-MAH!" Get it? Got it? Good.
Now that we can utter the glorious name of one of my favorite fashion houses, let's take a look at Balmain Creative Director Oliver Rousteing's (his name is even harder to pronounce so we're not even going to take a stab at it and try) unbelievably perfect FW 2014 collection. Rousteing has made it possible for every woman in the world to be a modern day Tarzan tribal warrior, save for the loincloth, lack of literacy, and, to put it bluntly, penis. Models from several different ethnicities were selected to walk the runway for this FW14 show, which not only exemplifies the diversity of the brand but also the modern-day realness that Balmain injects into their entire brand. For proof, check this: backstage at his show, Rousteing gushed, "I am twenty-eight years old. I am proud of having Rihanna as my friend. I'm proud of having all those girls of different cultures modeling for me. Sometimes, it's not necessary to to go Miami or Vegas, or the fifties or sixties for inspiration - you can just look around you. I'm showing that this is me. I'm part of my generation." Not only is he in love with Instagram, but he is in love with the world around him; and if that doesn't make you fall head-over-heels in love with Balmain, the slideshow above will.
Case in point, the FW14 clothing is made for strong, confident women; you cannot possibly wear Balmain if you don't think you're hot shit. Hello, every woman is hot shit, and Balmain just makes us menstruating miracles look even hotter. Complete with leather, biker jackets, combat trousers, nipped waists, rope and stud embellishments to form form-fitting silhouettes with military and safari-chic inspired ensembles, Oliver Rousteing and the rest of the Balmain team proved that it's time to take a trip to the wild side. We can't shop the collection yet, but we sure as hell can lust over it. Who's in?
Images courtesy of Vogue.