Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dressmaking 101


The one body area a woman is most worried about is her hips, thighs and butt. Right?

So why would a designer ever make a dress that specifically brings more attention, weight, and bulk to that area?

This is a perfect example of the disconnect between fashion and real people. I mean, if you only have 30-something looks in a show to tell your story for that season why waste any of them on designs that would never sell (especially in this economy) or even push the “art” of fashion in a reasonable direction. That ruffle detailing is great (and, to be fair, Preen did offer other options with that detail), but there must be other ways to use it so that it doesn’t strongly detract from a woman’s body.

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145 comments

  1. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Love your fresh and brave perspective on this!

  2. Brian

    September 12, 2009 at 9:22 am

    I agreed, who is this designer?

  3. beths

    September 12, 2009 at 9:37 am

    These are crazy. It's good to have fun playing with different combinations of luxe materials, but back to the workshop for this half-baked idea! Lace + Persian lamb do have some kind of potential-please find it.

  4. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 9:38 am

    It's true, I would never wear anything like that.

  5. juju ariel

    September 12, 2009 at 9:39 am

    sheep-farm fashion? the navy ruffles are ok; the beige reminds me of the old sheep that nobody wants to touch at the petting zoo.

  6. quinara

    September 12, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I don't agree, actually – like a lot of British women I'm pretty pear-shaped, so this sleek-upper-body/bulkier-round-the-hips look is a much more natural silhouette to aspire to than many others. Adding the ruffles really helps smooth out/conceal the lumps and bumps of that area. If I had the money I'd definitely buy the dress in the second picture (and it's very similar to the way my wardrobe's going at the moment).

  7. Brian

    September 12, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Yes, very direct comment from Mr. Schuman, I'm tired of reading "reviews" from style.com (men), sometimes, i have no idea what the reviewers' comments are, so vague and so "deep", I felt like an ESL student all over again.

  8. SallyO

    September 12, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Those ruffles are beautiful, but I think they could be better placed on the dresses.

  9. Origami mon ami

    September 12, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Why so much hate in one post for a dress which is probably the strongest look of the fashion week so far? The rest is so bland …and boring …and black …and nude. Of course ladies worry about their hips an’all, but when the rear-part is alright I also like to worry about educating myself, staying open to new ideas and challenging myself in search of new proportions, new silhouette and new ways of embellishment if it comes down to fashion. This dress looks like a cosy cocoon, but the frills are mounted onto the most delicate and see-through lace – isn’t this the spirit of nowadays – the constant play of the opposites. We are off the what-you-see-is-what-you-get hook, we like to be mysterious, extraordinary and sometimes misunderstood – for the fun of the game, not for the show. And really, ‘this economy’, the crisis, the recession – leave it for the style.com show reviews.

  10. Hellwafashion.com

    September 12, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Well said, couldn't agree more!

  11. jocelyn

    September 12, 2009 at 9:59 am

  12. madeleine

    September 12, 2009 at 10:00 am

    really beautiful

  13. aggy

    September 12, 2009 at 10:00 am

    They are made to look good only on models, not "real" women. I guess it is for the "art" of it. You have to admit the craftsmanship is amazing.

  14. Katy McDevitt

    September 12, 2009 at 10:03 am

    bahahahaha! In that first shot, the model looks like she's wearing a merkin. The biggest, scariest merkin of all time.

    And yes, I agree. The ruffle detail in and of itself is gorgeous. But good lord, why handle it this way? An attention-getting measure, I guess, which is fair enough, on some level, if we believe the conventional wisdom of all publicity being good publicity.

    But these dresses are still unnecessarily unflattering and unattractive.

  15. The Photodiarist

    September 12, 2009 at 10:07 am

    I love the details of the ruffles, but I have to agree with you, especially with respect to the first shot. Too much ruffle on the sides and stomach. You have to be rail thin to wear it. That said, I like the second dress shown. It probably suffers from similar problems, but the way it's shown in the photo makes it more attractive.

  16. NY, NY

    September 12, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Bottom line? it's ugly. "Thats all"

  17. inkywasfat

    September 12, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I know I want ewe hips. Ewww.

  18. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Fashion at this level is art and art can be anything. I think that the designer is trying to express his creativity, … so lets try and not quell that spirit.
    The store versions will will be paired down and consumer friendly. I think this is a fresh way of thinking.

  19. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Scott, you argue something I always have to counter. All fashion is not for all consumers. Preen has a certain customer who does not want to look generic. We have H&M, Zara and other retailiers for that. While you admire the workmanship, you fail with to understand the complete concept. A "certain" type of woman will wear this. A confident and independent women, who does not want to follow the trends, but lead them for herself. American women are too self conscious to appreciate this concept. This dress will sell, because the INDIVIDUAL who appreciates Preen will buy it.

  20. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Brave and fresh as the designer may be; it is still God-awful.

    I enjoy how heavy this makes the models appear, though. Takes a lot to make 5'11 and a size 2-6 look like a walking disaster.

    Bad publicity is still publicity, right?

  21. BARGAIN BEX

    September 12, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I just have two words to say to you (in a little trio): Thank you, Thank you, Thank YOU!

    I have only ever been able to look at couture pieces (not touch) for style inspiration of some sort because Heaven knows I would never be able to afford any of the items that walk down the runway, but it makes it very difficult when they are so fantastical and 'non-wearable' for me to sing their praises.

    It is very tedious to love fashion and then see such oddities that you know no woman in her right mind would ever wear in daily life and it's just really nice to hear it from someone brave enough to say it.

    I live on a budget and a bargain-y world (hence my moniker) and it's nice to know that my feelings are felt elsewhere too.

    Thank you again!

    Kindly,

    BB

  22. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 10:39 am

    She actually does look like a carcass, which I don't think is any woman's intention when she gets dressed.

  23. Dat NEW NEW

    September 12, 2009 at 10:40 am

    yeah i know what u mean…i was really disappointed wen i saw some of these pieces…i mean if ur gonna make it unwearable then make it look good or interesting or really gorgeous..but no dat dress was just fail..even da model looks weird in it…and not in a good way

  24. Raquel

    September 12, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I agree with you 100%, but runway looks are a lot about fantasy, editorial or of course Björk. Being a girl with absolutely no hips, I usually like something to give me shape… the top dress however, a bit out of control.

  25. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Wrong. The one body area a woman is most worried about is her body. Heehee. Pertaining to that dress, I agree with your comments though. I venture to suggest that real people would not easily wear that lopsided first dress in the second picture… a wardrobe malfunction can easily occur exposing the right boob.

  26. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 11:04 am

    thank you, we need more people like you in the industry to openly critique what many fear to.
    - a 16 year old

  27. Brooke

    September 12, 2009 at 11:07 am

    I can't decide if I like the ruffles, or if they look too much like shag carpeting gone terribly awry.

  28. Katy McDevitt

    September 12, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Art? Sure. But art gets critiqued so these clothes will too.

  29. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Tim would have you packing your scissors with this carpet bagging look.

  30. Style Geek

    September 12, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Sadly, maybe regular women weren't their intended customer. The asthetic is pretty – you're right about the ruffles and I personally would like them in the form of a jacket or vest.

  31. Austin

    September 12, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I'm okay with this runway choice, and I'm all right with these conventionally 'unflattering' shapes. See Beyonce Knowles's recent music videos for exaggerated silhouettes.

    On the negative side for these, an actual silhouette would be lumpy and bumpy. The skirt in focus looks like it could have been made from car interiors.

  32. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 11:34 am

    women don't all dress to compliment our bodies to look hot or traditionally attractive to men. while you can see it as "detracting" from a woman's body, it can also be a form of expression. lets not stifle others' creativity.

  33. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I have to disagree with you here… I don't consider it a "waste" when a designer expresses a vision, even if I don't care for that vision. On the contrary, carefully designing every single piece in a collection to be "marketable" to the masses can also be dangerously close to cynical and intellectually lazy.

    There should be more room in fashion for ideas even if they are not marketable. When Rei K did it she was lauded as a genius. Granted, very few people walked around wearing her garments with oddly placed bumps but she was respected for expressing a vision.
    There's also the fact that in many cultures, the very areas you point to as problematic are actually considered a woman's most beautiful.

    Frankly, I find our march toward a prescribed and standardized aesthetic rather sad.

    –cheers

    Vive la différence!

  34. Hannah

    September 12, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I agree in principle, but these dresses are the wrong example to use. Most women are less concerned with appearing pear-shaped than they are with looking bulgy and flabby under tight material. Obviously these dresses don't create an hourglass but the major offenders are Herve Leger dresses which don't allow for an flaws and short, longsleeved Balmain frocks which force all the attention to our legs. At least these allow us to distract the eye with our cleavage!

  35. Jennifer

    September 12, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Aside from completely enlarging the hips and thighs in their silhouettes, they also managed to completely flatten the bust in most of the collection. I don't know any women (myself included) who strive for a figure like that.

  36. Dee

    September 12, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Although I understand the point you're trying to make, I think the problem is not so much the clothes that accentuate the hips, but thinking that having large butt, hips and thighs is wrong or ugly. And that is a thought that has been in people's minds for a long time now.

    To be completely honest with you, I know that if I had a large butt, etc, I would be reluctant to wear clothes that draw attention to it. But still, knowing that there's such a especific conception of 'what the body has to look like in fashion', is annoying!

  37. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks for that!! you have a platform and I like how you use it. I don't think you have to wear Alaia to or minis to show off your body but the disconnect between fashion and the public is crazy sometimes!

  38. caelen

    September 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    What we see in the catwalk, don't need to be sold necessarily. You can show a concep at catwalk and survive with bags selling, for exemple!!!

  39. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly.I think most of today's young designers have a problem with self editing. They either do too much–to the point of making their collections bland—or too little.

  40. Michelle Gabrielle

    September 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    These are some of the most fantastic pieces I have seen in quite a while. They aren't like what you've been seeing lately -they definitely have a pure and original essence that has been lacking in my opinion. Really, they're great. I love the vibe. Very positive and inspiring. Thank you for posting this.

  41. Bambie

    September 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you!! Finally someone said what no other fashion blogs seem tbe brave enough to say!

    (Or is it just bc many fashionbloggers are as railthin as the models that it would look good on them?)

  42. Michelle Gabrielle

    September 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    With that said.. I guess we don't agree! I believe the ruffles celebrate the woman's body in a special way.. I don't see it as accentuating areas where woman feel most uncomfortable.. I think it balances out the pieces of fabric that are think and almost paper like extremely well. Perhaps the first is a little bit too much on the thighs.. But honestly -what's the difference between accentuating the hip and the shoulder (besides that women may be self conscious of their thighs?). I think both are symbols of a more masculine look. Personally, also, I think the think area around the thighs would make a woman whose thighs ARE big look extremely small and therefore their legs would look skinner. I believe that's the purpse. I also wish you would've posted a picture from the front and not only the side as you cannot get the complete and true feeling. Additionally, the other pieces look tarnished and well worn, I like that look. I also think that without those embellishes the dress would be MUCH too plain. My favorite is the skirt. I really think this is great it's unfortunate more people can't appreciate it.

  43. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    This is probably one of the most exciting photos on the blog this week. The rest is so repetitive, I’ve seen it all before.

  44. Everyday Life of an Up and Coming Fashionista

    September 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Such a valid point you made. Great concept, but I am not too thrilled on how it was executed because I personally would never wear it.

    However, for everyone one person that would not wear it someone will. Just a thought.

    Yanni D.
    (www.yannid.blogspot.com)

  45. Emma Howard

    September 12, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    When I look around, I am in awe that every single man-made object began in someone's brain.

    Architects,menu/book/article/ writers, photographers, fashion/car/furniture/food label designers,artists,etc. all create from a place in their mental world –sometimes their products resonate with my energy or yours.Hopefully enough people can relate to their work to create a demand for it.Not easy at all to ask people to exchange their hard earned dollars for a creation!

    It takes a lot of nerve to put one's work out for the public to scrutinize. Creative people are extremely sensitive also,having to spend time alone in their process.

    Personally I relate to very simple,clean lines with an architectural look; it strikes a good balance with my feminine nature.

  46. Lina

    September 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I understand what you're saying, but, maybe the designer thinks we shouldn't worry about our "hips, thighs and butt". Maybe in fact, we should be proud of them, show them off? Trying to do what Rei Kawakubo does; forcing us to reflect on why a body can only be beautiful in one particular shape?

  47. beths

    September 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this thread. Thanks, Sart for posting both photos and comments. Thanks, fellow readers for posting such intriguing observations and different viewpoints. They sent me back for a second look at the pictures. I was never so thin as these models, but at 23 I might have tried to wear the dresses in the lower photo . . . .

  48. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    You are criticizing the design of a dress because it is supposedly unwearable by 'real women' due to the fact that it accentuates the hips and thighs?

    Remember that post you did about a 'real woman' having her semi-nude picture in Glamour (or some such magazine..)?

    This worry over thighs and hips is not an innate female trait, this is learned behavior. Most of fashion is unwearable straight off the catwalk, why did you decide to pick on Preen? Why did you decide that this look was unacceptable? Because it makes her butt and thighs look bigger.

    Mr. Sartorialist are you saying something is wrong with finding beauty in big butts and thighs?

  49. Iheartfashion

    September 12, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    My thinking is, if it doesn't even flatter the 100 lb teenage model, there's no hope for the average mortal!

  50. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    These are some of the silliest garments I've ever seen. I can't even call them dresses. They look like sheep whose shearing jobs got interrupted leaving them with a mutilated appearance. I'm trying to be open to other comments on here but basically – NO-o-o!

  51. jacqueline

    September 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I completely and utterly agree…it seems that too often the high fashion industry makes the classic (and almost purposeful) mistake of creating clothes that cater to the frail female physique. All hail the REAL woman!

  52. kayang

    September 12, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    wow, that's a good point!

    The stomach is a big issue too!

  53. lori

    September 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    i think the dresses are fabulous! not all clothes can be flattering to all bodies…PERIOD. there are some clothes that i would love to wear but i'm not able to because of my body type, i can still appreciate the clothes though, and these are really marvelous…love the shoes too, especially the taupe ones…now those i can wear! the dresses, well…nope, but i do still love them.

  54. CokeAddictDammit

    September 12, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    skinny people with no butt need something to accentuate what they have

  55. Carole

    September 12, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    It really depends on the designer's intention. I often see runway clothes as something showing the designer's creativity. And the ruffles are great. I never worry about wearing this because I can't afford them, and I'm certainly NOT looking like a runway model. Frankly i saw some of them yesterday in NY, and do I want to be 6 ft high and weigh 100lb ?, not sure, do I want to lose weight (OF COURSE, I'M A WOMAN!). As for the dresses, I enjoy looking at them, knowing all that and that yes, I'm a little (but just a little) jealous of those who can afford all this. But we have so much beauty to enjoy everyday! Thanks for your pics.

  56. danya

    September 12, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    totally right!

  57. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    This is why we need more curvaceous models. I sometimes think that maybe it's because designers have only these frail, waif type women to work with and so they sometimes make the mistake of designing a whole collection that would add to *their* body types. They make these horrid pieces that accentuates those areas because their models do not HAVE those areas.

  58. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    The skirt on the bottom picture is ok if the image of the model accidentally crushing a hamster and walking around with it stuck on her skirt doesn't come to mind, but the dress on the top picture makes the model look like she mutated and sprouted pubic hair all over her body! Someone needs a major waxing…

  59. Reg

    September 12, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I was taken aback by your comment, "This is a perfect example of the disconnect between fashion and real people."

    I like your pictures and eye for style but I constantly find myself wondering about the disconnect between some of your street fashion picks and real people; namely the large number of sky high-heeled shoes and the majority of stick thin women in your photos. You stated recently that many fuller sized and curvier women don't want their pictures taken but I still find it difficult to believe that there are only the precious few who appear on your site. I would think there would be more than those who appear on your blog that would be flattered. (maybe I'm wrong?) Also, I love high heels but they are impractical, painful and I reserve them for only very special occasions. Three and four inch heels seem to appear very frequently in your pictures yet I know very few women who would wear them all day or to walk on the streets. It's also interesting how many people comment about how an outfit would be so much better if the flats in the photo were switched for heels. And to think that the Chinese are ridiculed for their history of foot binding…

  60. desertwind

    September 12, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Maybe over-emphasizing is a way to under-emphasize?

    Just say: No. I haven't gained weight in my hips. It's the style, man.

  61. Kimberley

    September 12, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Dresses are amazing

  62. Kimberley

    September 12, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Dresses are amazing

  63. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    The first look, as well as the others, completely disregard that a human will be wearing it. Disconnect indeed.

  64. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    There is nothing wrong with accentuating hips or thighs; not all women are afraid of drawing attention to those areas (I, personally, am not). But these dresses are just plain ugly, in addition to being unflattering.

  65. BJB

    September 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Hideous

  66. hi-d

    September 12, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Oh, I agree! Let's be real here…

  67. Bronwyn

    September 12, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Thighs, butt, and hips are the parts of my body I'm not worried about looking bigger. I wish my butt was bigger, then it'd balance out my tummy – which is not huge, but is rounder than I'd like – and make my waist look smaller. So I would, in my younger days, have worn something like these. If it was given to me, that is – I could never have afforded to buy it. And I don't like them that much either.

  68. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    You're amazing Sart! I mean, the design is really great, but it's just not realistic. I think it's very creative and artistic, yet lacking a certain touch that keeps it grounded. But then again, this is fashion and certainly, that is to be expected…

  69. kagitsune

    September 12, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I agree. Other than "concept art" dresses, I always wondered what was up with the completely unflattering looks some of these designers come up with. I could never feel good in something like that first skirt… Honestly, I'd be a little frightened the first moment I saw someone wearing it on the street, like, "OH MY GOD what happened to her legs… oh, it's a skirt. O_O"

  70. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    ugly is ugly. some may call it creative. well then, call it creatively ugly.

  71. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I don't like the dress, but I will say that I'm a woman who is not concerned about my hips, butt, and thighs. Mine are slim. Instead, I tend to be concerned about my stomach. I'm only posting this to point out that women do come in all shapes and sizes, so it's great for there to be options available for various body types.

    For example, a woman who is very thin with few curves (there are plenty of very thin women who are not anorexic!) might appreciate a design that adds some shape to her frame.

  72. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I don't like the dress, but I will say that I'm a woman who is not concerned about my hips, butt, and thighs. Mine are slim. Instead, I tend to be concerned about my stomach. I'm only posting this to point out that women do come in all shapes and sizes, so it's great for there to be options available for various body types.

    For example, a woman who is very thin with few curves (there are plenty of very thin women who are not anorexic!) might appreciate a design that adds some shape to her frame.

  73. pretty kitty publishing

    September 12, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Actually, Katy nailed it with the merkin reference. When I saw that first dress, I immediately thought, "Mons pubis?"

  74. stella

    September 12, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Agreed. The dress looks like a lumpy version of a maternity simulating sack. Already, there is disconnect in the model's body versus the daily-wear woman–so if the garment doesn't even look good on a model, then is a failure in that aspect of design. There is a fine balance between Art and Nature in fashion; the most beautiful, I think, keep that tension; depart too far from the latter, and you may as well be making paper-mache installation pieces.

    The ones on the bottom are a little more feminine, in a young and chic way, but could also do with a bit less of that cancerous looking ruffle

  75. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I recall a pair of sheepskin jeans (the fleece was on the inside and did not appear to have been shaved down). Can't say what designer, this was quite some time ago. The concept did not work.

  76. Enia Is (Almost) Here

    September 12, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    just my two cents: i think all of us (you included) appreciate the craftsmanship and the artistic merit of these pieces. some of us really like them (me included) as examples of creativity, rather than something we could necessarily wear. i think your point was more about fashion in general, because lets face it, half of the things in top shop and zara are just as unflattering to 'real' women as preen's pieces. and that is far more worrying, as most women couldn't afford a 3,000 pound dress.

    in other words, props to you Mr. Schuman.

  77. Pogonip

    September 12, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Those poor women! They need a good meal and a warm wrap – they must be cold and hungry. That's how they look. Sad.

  78. jules

    September 12, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    good to have a brave take on this issue, but I think I disagree. part of fashion is exploring the new and different, and pushing boundaries will inevitably confuse/offend some people. nothing should come in the way of a artist's vision, including wearability. these clothes aren't made for the majority of women in the world; and they shouldn't be compromised to meet that goal if the designer has another intention in mind.

  79. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I kind of like them. It's not like anyone would mistake them for your ACTUAL hips, thighs or butt. I think that they actually do a good job of camouflaging them.
    signed,
    a 46 year old female
    xoxox

  80. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I am so glad there are readers that love these designs and DO realize that not all designs shown on the runway are meant to be sold and worn by "real" women.

    And you must know this as well Mr. Schuman ;-)

    I am glad there is "a disconnect between (high) fashion and real people". I love the fantasy aspect of high fashion– everything from the alien-like silhouette of the models, to the unwearable designs, to the hyper-surreal vision of the photographer and his/her team. I love the illusion. The magic. The inspiration. The dream. The disconnect.

    Bravo Preen!

    –PLO

  81. Lynn

    September 12, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    For all those who commented to "get real" I have to say this sort of blow-off is not constructive. In the real world women come in all shapes and each different country has its own particular ideal body shape. To get "Real" most women just need to embrace their natural body type without starving or over eating. Some very Real women are naturally thin with less curves. This argument about curvaceous bodies does not fly. Sorry but I don't think it ever will. For those who don't fit the stick-thin model, personal style is about how you make it your own, not about the size you wear. You don't need any designer telling you this so just leave it alone.

    and yes Sartorialist, stop picking on Preen.

  82. ummingbird

    September 12, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    In the second photo, the dress on the woman in the foreground isnt too bad, but this is where I would draw the line.

  83. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    The frocks are definitely gorgeous art items. I'm in love with the contrasting texture and fabrics. The dresses look acceptable on the pre-teen models, non? Let's rather not even imagine how they would look on real women.

    Now if Preen could only marry art and functionality. Then Preen might actually sell some dresses!

    I read an insightful article by Cathy Hory just on this subject yesterday: "High Fashion Faces a Redefining Moment" http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/11/style/11fashion.html?fta=y

    The comments of readers on this article are important to read as well. Might do some of these designers a world of good to actually read them as well.

    Consumers are fed up with the greed and corruption of High Fashion.

  84. Coco

    September 12, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I personally love this dress and would wear it in a heartbeat. I adore volumes and textures, and I think clothing should sculpt the body and help it take new forms. Sometimes looking like a twig doesn't just quite cut it and you can risk a stale wardrobe if you just dress with 'skinny' in mind.

  85. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Sorry, I don't agree with you. I would totally wear the dress in the second picture (foreground), and I am a (mildly)pear shaped woman. I don't see the difference between this and the harem/peg pant trend we're seeing now – both are exaggerated silhouettes. I find it actually hides the fact that I'm pear shaped.

  86. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Sorry, I don't agree with you. I would totally wear the dress in the second picture (foreground), and I am a (mildly)pear shaped woman. I don't see the difference between this and the harem/peg pant trend we're seeing now – both are exaggerated silhouettes. I find it actually hides the fact that I'm pear shaped.

  87. M. E. G.

    September 12, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Your perspective is neither fresh nor brave as the first commenter suggested.
    Maybe women should stop being worried about the fullness of our hips, thighs and butt.
    Maybe we should exaggerate rather than diminish.
    Maybe in that way the designer had a more "fresh and brave" perspective than you?

  88. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    agreed.

  89. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    This designer would have been voted off project runway.

  90. Alexandria J.

    September 12, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Amen!

  91. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    lolz @ all the suck up comments. get some backbone.

    what does he know how women want to dress. Its not all about flattery and avoiding big hips and asses in personal style. NOT ALL real women are concerned for that false idea.

  92. travelbug

    September 12, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    "strongly detract from a woman's body"????

    The first pic reminds me of a woman's body alright. The part that has never seen a Brazilian, if you get my drift.

    Many designers shock to get attention. It always works if they have other things to show. I like some of what is going on in the second pic. But you'd have to be pencil thin to get away with it.

    Lots of very thin women love to show off that they can wear what others would never dream of pulling off.

  93. Anonymous

    September 12, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Er, something looks wrong about this to me..
    I agree with your perspective on this.. I don't know, it looks like packets of cellulite attached to really really skinny women.

  94. Aya Rosen

    September 12, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    I agree, this is doom to fail, just like skinny jeans, shoulder pads and the sack dress. People will just know that it doesn't look good on anyone but model and will never spend any money on that…

  95. anna

    September 12, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    i LOVED this collection from Preen!

  96. stacy

    September 13, 2009 at 12:16 am

    In response to this comment

    'Scott, you argue something I always have to counter. … A "certain" type of woman will wear this. A confident and independent women, who does not want to follow the trends, but lead them for herself. American women are too self conscious to appreciate this concept. This dress will sell, because the INDIVIDUAL who appreciates Preen will buy it.'

    I would like to disagree. Scott's post is attacking the issue of how fashion has become more catered towards model thin people rather than realistic body sizes. He's not even talking about individualism vs. conventionalism. You can be making clothes for average-sized, non skinny people and still retain individualistic flavour in your designs. I don't see why individualistic, unconventional clothes necessarily have be for thin people only, or why they necessarily have to look unflattering on realistically-sized women.

  97. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I appreciate the juxtaposition of weight and texture in these garments but not only do they look as you describe but they also make the upper body look emaciated and scary.

    I have a question – hasn't the last century really covered all the avant-garde options in high fashion? Won't we find that the shifts come from the street?

  98. SarahELizand

    September 13, 2009 at 12:57 am

    The first look does make the model look pregnant. Although the other looks are very nice, but i don't think I'd wear them. Also it would be kind of cool for the second photo if you cropped it so that you only saw the legs of every model. just a thought, i know the dresses are the main focus but the lighting and the tones of the legs are so lovely.

  99. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 1:44 am

    ugly and horrifying. Yikes!!

  100. jess

    September 13, 2009 at 4:24 am

    I do not agree. I think the dress in the foreground of the second picture is absolutely gorgeous and I would wear it definitely. I'm petite – has no butt, but have fuller thighs/hips and a tummy. I do not think the ruffles create more attention/bulk to the area but instead hides a small/big butt/thigh. And what's wrong with a dress that draws attention away from the body (unless perhaps the body is 'perfect')? I think the ruffles just create an interesting silhouette. However, I do steer away from dresses that accentuates my mid-section and hips, e.g. American Apparels' U-neck dress – form fitting and not a single ruffle in sight!

  101. cherylline

    September 13, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I really like them, I'm a knitter so I appreciate the difference in textures, the sheer, and the chunky. Designers are meant to push the boundaries, this is doing just that, you watch, you'll all be wearing it in 9 – 12 months, when it's on the high street. I really like the bulk around the hips, Perfect for women who are slim, but want to look curvy. The second image is my fav.

  102. pristine

    September 13, 2009 at 6:52 am

    quinara, pear-shaped means the individual is heavier/curvier on the bottom, than on top. Why on earth would someone with a pear-shaped body want even more bulk on their hips?

  103. Zoe

    September 13, 2009 at 7:32 am

    it also brings more bulk to the stomach…like a little fabric baby. though bodycon dresses are really equally bad. I think the worst thing about the top dress is how the front ruffles are slightly reminiscent of some sort of pubic wig.
    on a coat/jacket these ruffles could be brilliant…a sort of alternative to fur

  104. Brooke

    September 13, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Dear Scott,

    I find your comments depressing. I an a young designer, finishing my second collection for London Fashion Week. Without vision and experimentation, what would inspire people to express themselves through fashion and challenge the boring, 'one-size-fits-all' ideals on beauty. I really feel you've missed the point here.

    Brooke

  105. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Nothing against ruffles it all depends on how it's used, as is everything. Those look like bathroom mats.

  106. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Stacy

    My comments do not refer to a woman's Size. I did not mention thin or skinny. My comments refer to a woman's spirit nd individuality and her ability to stand apart from the group or groups. Your comments refer to size, mine do not.

  107. Dajda

    September 13, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I can only partly agree with this.

    Right, the dresses are disgusting and they would make most ordinary women look terrible.

    But on the other hand, think of the tulip skirt and how well it works on women with larger hips and thighs. A wisely used structure, which creates a look rather than enhances what actually is there, is the best solution for women who feel uncomfortable about their hip area (I know something about that! :)

  108. tangie

    September 13, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I can only wonder what the designer was thinking; I have no idea, but the end result is unfortunate. If the design was for social introspection, it was in the wrong forum.

    Additionally, the ruffles remind me of 70's shag carpeting. Ugh.

  109. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 11:25 am

    What arew REAL bodies? When people say that, I think Fat!, out of shape, unhealthy. Thin, Skinny or what ever term you use are REAL bodies for some people, like Curvy bodies are REAL bodies for some people. Not Everything on the runway is to be worn by every body type. You have to make your determination on what looks good on your body. These dresses are not for everyone and that is ok! At the end of the day, most people don't buy clothing that fits their body properly. So Why all the complaints. If you want to look good in clothing, GET A TAILOR.

  110. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Well, its about time a designer put these women in a fat suit. Eat a sandwich, would ya'!

  111. jae

    September 13, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    i couldn't disagree more. designers have always played around with the proportions of a woman's body and just because the market is saturated with shapes that ignore a woman's shape, doesn't mean there isn't a market for new shapes and silhouettes. What of that feathery skirt that ADR wore so beautifully, despite its size and "bulk"?

    Your notion of a woman's preoccupation is also entirely out of touch and antiquated. Laughable even.

    Ridiculous.

  112. Dellasposia

    September 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Sometimes I wonder whether designers intentionally do these pieces so to be included in interesting shoots rather than actually being worn. I think these might just work in a fashion spread – but certainly not on someone just walking down the street.

  113. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    This dresses show legs, they make them thin. If you like that…
    Economy ? we all sure have enough clothes…
    Isnt it a easy way to create curves ? maybe the economy creates a ideal of looking curvy..

  114. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I must second Reg here, Scott. Why are you suddenly upset at Preen when you are always posting photos of women – almost all working in the fashion industry, I might add – wearing outrageously high heels? We're not even talking about creative choices, they're just putting on what's 'fashionable' – which really is counter to true style. I guess you have now outed yourself as a man who really doesn't like big hips…:)

  115. k.

    September 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    When I scrolled down to see this picture, I was horrified — because I thought you posted it because you liked it. Thank goodness I was wrong!

    I have the Style.com app for my iPhone, and when I checked out this collection and got to that dress, I gasped in horror. So you can see why I was a little worried when it showed up on your site! Don't scare me like that again, Scott! ;)

  116. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    i really disagree, because as a woman who does have hips (i'm proportionate, but i have hips), this look would be great for my figure as it would in fact minimize my hip and emphasize my waist. that's really the strong point of my figure and i'm sure other women feel the same way. i have a great hip to waist ratio, but if i wear something cut straight, it just seems i have too much hip.

    i don't find these dresses to be too unattractive. i kind of like how they are low cut for a smaller breast, but emphasize the lower curves.

    that's just my opinion.

  117. Gigi

    September 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I do agree, it´s not flattering for real woman with real bodies and real salaries who if they could afford it would want to wear something more flattering :-)

  118. Anonymous

    September 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    It really is about different designers designing for different women. I was just speaking with my friends about this yesterday–one loves Marc Jacobs because she likes high necklines and to obscure the shape of her body, and I like designers that have skinny women with breasts in mind (Dolce and Gabbana for example.) While I love Kate Moss for topshop, most of the designs are for skinny women without breasts, hence all of the low back or no back designs, which won't let you wear a bra.

    So maybe this collection is for women who aren't trying to minimize their hips, or, as some women have pointed out, it could help emphasize some features they would like to.

    BTW after living in England for a year that earlier post about how most women in England are dressing with a full hip skirt or dress silhouette is explaining so much more about the way the women dress there to me.

  119. Letícia Magalhães

    September 13, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Couldn't disagree more! I have really wide shoulders and anything that adds "bulk" to my hips makes my body look more feminine! In my opinion your perceptions on "what women worry about" couldn't be more wrong!!

  120. Holly

    September 13, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Love the shoes they are a very new look…I'm ready for some change

  121. K

    September 13, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Beg my pardon, but i disagree- coming from a strong conceptual school, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, some designers sometimes want to emphasize what we think we should hide- like as a way of saying, maybe we shouldn't care if we aren't perfect, no one is, we are wearing a beautiful couture dress…. my thoughts

  122. FS

    September 14, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I'm inclined to agree with M. E. G. at 8:49.

    Clothes that emphasize a woman's hips, thighs, and butt "detract from her body?" Should designers only make clothes that make women appear slimmer all over, obscuring the shameful "bad" areas? Why not celebrate a pear-shaped body?

    Some women don't pick their clothing based on what makes them look the thinnest.

  123. patternoflife

    September 14, 2009 at 12:28 am

    i keep coming back because you are an sensible! thanks! (sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade!)

  124. style inside

    September 14, 2009 at 3:42 am

    looks superb with skinny legs. divine. but, like you say, on us lot it just doesn't work.

  125. synnove

    September 14, 2009 at 6:01 am

    I LOVE Preen, they are always years ahead on the fashion planet! Just browse previous collections at style.com The volume at the hip IS a result of the resession, (monroe = world war 2) And a werable, new and interesting twist on the boring short prom dress you will find everywhere. Mr Sartorialist, you lost a star in my book ….

  126. ingefaer

    September 14, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I totally agree – some designers appear to hate women, or at best don't understand them

  127. Pantone225

    September 14, 2009 at 8:51 am

    You are so right…and finally someone dares to say it! Respect!

  128. Closet Obsession

    September 14, 2009 at 11:17 am

    FINALLY! someone fashion worthy to say what is on our minds! THANK YOU!

  129. Stacy

    September 14, 2009 at 11:54 am

    100% agreed.

  130. Anonymous

    September 14, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    thing is, i find the second dress quite beautiful… its not boring, and boring is the worst. im pear-shaped (very british) but like a poster from above, i believe that this dress doesn't necessarily make the hip area look worse. women are constantly trying to cover up problem areas. surely this SORT of does just that?

    however, someone prove me wrong! put that dress on a 'real' woman (what the hell does that mean?) and show me how 'bad' they look. but i dont think that fashion and real people necessarily need to connect. there are plenty of stores and labels to diffuse the wackiness and make it somewhat more appetising to us, the philistines.

    :)

  131. Natalie

    September 14, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Sorry Scott but you are totally wrong on this. Exaggerated silhouettes like this work because they conceal the areas you are self conscious about. Harems work for the same reason, no one can tell how big your thighs are and attention is drawn to your ankles.

    Besides all of this, you've missed the point, Fashion doesn't always have to be functional. And if the designers made clothes to be aspired to women who are concious of their lumps and bumps, what a boring FW it would be! We have the Gap for clothes like that!!

  132. Jennifer

    September 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    It's interesting, though.

    The first dress reminds me of the Venus of Willendorf! From a time when hips, bellies, etc were worshiped as a sign of fertility.

    Sometimes, (as a woman blessed with ample hips) I get sick about thinking about whether or not a garment minimizes my aforementioned hips.

    Many times I wear a garment because it's beautifully made, and I love the way it makes me feel. It's counter-intuitive: I may look terrible in it proportionately, but I don't care- if it makes me feel good I go for it anyway!

  133. Dianed

    September 14, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    The disconnect of the general public and fashion is over whelming and quite disconcerting as a "real" woman with a body…Sigh..maybe one day?

  134. Amy

    September 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    the one body area a woman is most worried about is hip thighs and butt… until designers change the shape of clothes and change the shape of the women under them?

    The ideal figure for a woman changes all the time – in the 1910's they had huge busts and tiny waists, by the 20s no bust and no waist; by the thirties the bust and waist had returned, in the forties women acquired big shoulders and much longer legs, in the sixties they aspired to the bodies of pre-pubescent girls. I think these clothes are ugly and not very interesting to anyone who lived through the 90s, but the idea that accentuating the hips 'detracts from a woman's body' is predicated on the idea that fashions in bodies do not change. All of the girls on the catwalk today would have been considered skinny, gawky, too tall and in many cases actually ugly forty years ago.

  135. teresa

    September 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    you won in describing the show in that way.
    fashion, anyway is so often disconnected by reality.
    normal people and fashion fans have to make a hard work in adapting it to their busy funny difficult everyday life…

  136. Anonymous

    September 14, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    So because of the economy we are in we cannot have art to give us some fantasy and beautiful inspiration? I always look to this blog for positive inspiration and I was really surprised and saddened about this negative post on fashion design.

  137. noelakadjtambour

    September 15, 2009 at 3:20 am

    i like the arguments or perspectives that came out of this post…but i wish that people would use the word"art" more selectively…creativity: yes; design: yes…art: not so much

  138. Anonymous

    September 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Indeed, i would hardly wear it in the street. But artistically speaking, it makes me react, and i find it aesthetically appealing. Art can't be ordered to go in any specific way and isn't done to please everybody!
    Fashion from the street is innovative ! as well as this controversial dress …

  139. ALL

    September 15, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Sorry, but for one of the first times ever I completely disagree with Mr. Schuman and find his analysis to be shallow, boring and predictable. Perhaps if more designers attempted to re-define the shape of a woman's body through clothing, there would be less focus on butts, hips and thighs.

    Secondly, the bit about the economy seems absurd. Fashion week in any city does not cater to the average person, with an average budget in a less than average economy.

    This was disappointing.

  140. Anonymous

    September 17, 2009 at 12:27 am

    wow – i actually disagree with you sart, for once – and i think for a different reason than anyone else (as far as i have read). you made a blanket generalization about women – that we all worry the most about our hips/thighs/butt – that is just not true! i'm a woman, but more of an apple than a pear, and i worry the most about my stomach and my love-handles. i WISH i had a butt, and hips! (and even some thigh… sometimes.) i actually seek out clothes that round me out in these areas, to balance out my broad shoulders! and i'm not alone – i think something like 20% of women are apple-shaped and not pear-shaped. that's not insignificant.

    i am really sick of designers generalizing across all women. it makes it really hard for me to find clothes that suit my body. you wouldn't generalize for men would you? i remember a season of project runway when michael kors chastized a competitor for including pockets on a pair of pants, saying – they make a woman's hips look bigger and what woman wants that!? – well, ME! and actually, if the pocket went on the stomach, i would want it there too because pockets are incredibly useful and women's clothes that don't have them are incredibly irritating.

    there – i've said it. :-)

  141. Alexandra Highcrest

    September 18, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Sometimes ugly is just ugly. The antipants look is ugly; bubble skirts are ugly; the lead photo in this article depicts a dress which is just ugly.

  142. Anonymous

    October 8, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Well, as a woman severely lacking in hips, thighs or a butt – I'd be okay with clothing that added some girth there… but only if it makes my tummy disappear…. and if it were free.

  143. isabella

    December 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    This reminds me of a comment my mother made at the McQueen Met show: “I love the creativity of all this, and the stories and the high level of craftsmanship; but who other than Daphne Guinness will buy it?”

  144. Name*

    January 23, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Actually that is very incorrect. Butting more volume at the hips and butt gives an hourglass look, and skirts like that with lots of volume make legs look great! The thing that makes women look hideous are things that make the legs look shorter like dropped waists and lowered waists in my opinion, women are not trying to look like they have flat butts or small hips at all. Usually you want to look like you have a thin waist, and thin long legs, and an hourgalss shape. Even a pear shape is pretty. But a squat shape in snot. Squat is what you get when lega are shortened. Marni does a lot of squat looks.

  145. Mary Ann

    October 3, 2013 at 1:00 am

    I love a little black dress with a strappy top and a short skirt. But none of these do it for me. They are all a little overdone to make them stand out.

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