Exuberance, 2011

Oliviero Toscani’s talents for Esprit simulated a Utopia within the brand’s own visual culture, suggesting a better world, a fresher one at least, for their customers to consider.

Spring 11 looks by Jil Sander, Missoni, Prada, and Matthew Ames

The Spring 2011 collections have revealed a similar outlook, not surprising that it was prevalent mostly in the Milan collections. Clear color, bold graphics and prints, an abstracted silhouette, and a heavy dose of humor are new ways to move on from the incorrectly labeled “minimalism” that has defined fashion in the past season. Of course the look is clean and pared down, but it finds enrichment with an entirely different vocabulary, an entirely modern one, actually.

Jean Louis Scherrer Haute Couture, 1991

Versace Haute Couture, 1991

Emanuel Ungaro Haute Couture, 1991

There’s been several takes on optimism and humor, Schiaparelli, Capucci, Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Moschino, and Isaac Mizrahi have all given their celebratory spin on life, adding to an evolving discourse. But its most pertinent iteration is perhaps in the Haute Couture of the very early 90’s, just as the recession challenged its relevance and provoked it to come up with something to say, that despite its excess it still had a message worth taking note of. As much as fashion needs its palate cleansed it cannot deny the wonders that a cheerful perspective and certain amount of richness can grant, even if it is only laughing so that it won’t cry.



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