Intolerable ugliness or the shape of things to come?

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” Oscar Wilde said that, a known dandy of his day. As someone more inclined to read the science pages rather than fashion at the New York Times, I offer Origami as the Shape of Things to Come. If you’re in the mood for a day-long stimming-jaunt, google MIT professor Dr. Erik Demaine (the subject of the article) to explore the world of emerging origami mathematics. Some of his ideas are easily rendered as pleated skirts; something I’ve been doing for several years now, specifically shaped pleating, far beyond the straight knife edges that define pleating for most designers. I wonder if I should write him, to tell him we can make clothes based on his research. Math skirts may be a way of bringing math to the masses and the necessity of scientific and intellectual rigor to fashion designers.


In keeping with today’s theme of beauty, ugly and fashion comes Maureen Dowd’s editorial Frozen Mermaids, Scary Sirens (reminds me of Nancy Etcoff’s _survival of the prettiest_). Ms Dowd states in part, “In the future, there will be only one face. And if the Oscars are predictive, there will be only one body – big chest, skinny body – and one style. It was bizarre how actress after actress came out in the same mermaid silhouette: a strapless sheath with a trumpet-flared or ruffled skirt….In decades past, each top glamour girl aimed for a signature face and measurements, a trademark voice, a unique walk. You never saw Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner showing up in the same dress, or Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe looking like a pair of matching candles.”

For those who may not know, the New York Times offers an array of fashion news and slide shows on its interactive website. First there is Style Magazine with a focus on women’s fashions, Spring 2005. And lest you suspect that the NYT is all about fashion worship, see You Do The Math; an examination of McQueen’s uber poof skirt and the many quantities of objects that can be fitted within its volume such as 15 golden retriever puppies, 1,638 italian breadsticks and 3.76 Apple IMacs.

Then finally are the slide-show and wrap ups for the Fall 2005. The index of all the shows in Milan, Paris and New York. Cathy Horyn of the NYT narrates the shows and during the display of young designers of NY, voices her curiousity at their tendency to launch with vintage styles. Maybe someone should tell her the influence could be due to their use of vintage pattern design books such as _Dress Design_ by Hillhouse & Mansfield (you’d think someone would have reprinted this text by now). These designers could have used books of far less value and influence. It’ll take time; all designers grow into their own voices.

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2 comments

  1. kathleen says:

    This is a compilation and crude importation of all the comments posted at the original site for this document. Feel free to add your comments.
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    3/10/2005 06:29:30 AM jfreb said:
    GREAT quote from Oscar Wilde! And interesting all around… keep up the good work!

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