I found myself laughing hysterically at one particular press release that was sent out documenting all the instances of one particular brand worn in streetstyle photographs with myself included, captioned as "Susie Bubble wears xxx to Viktor & Rolf show". Chortle chortle – who the crap cares what I'm wearing and why would that matter to whoever is receieving said press release.
This is just one instance of the virulent nature of street style at fashion week and how it has grown into a bit of an uncontrollable beast that has its ups and downs depending on who you are in the game. Bravo for those that are getting their share of the pie – the brands that get photographed, the people who get snapped constantly and thus have their profile raised and the newcomer photographers who are making $$$. Boo hoo for the old streetstyle stalwarts (Tommy, Bill, Scott, Phil etc…) that are starting to get pissed off because it is THAT much more difficult to get a decent photograph, the people that feel they are now getting harrassed outside shows for a photo and those that feel streetstyle photography adds a new sort of pressure to peacock yourself at shows in addition to err… you know, that THING that some people seem to forget about going to shows – reporting, filing, writing, getting your job done(?). I can only see it all growing and become an even bigger beast than it already is, which brings into question a few issues that will invariably crop up next season and beyond. Does streetstyle photography at fashion weeks require a set of guidelines or unspoken etiquette or indeed accredition of some sorts? Can the supposedly spontaneous quality of streetstyle, be applied to fashion week streetstyle antics and isthis a good or a bad thing, if the results are that these are still hugely inspiring images, be it that there might be staged or privileged elements to the construction of the shots?
I might be a crap example to use as someone who has gained positive outcome in this new game of Streetstyle Factor but designer and streetstyle starlet Vika Gazinskaya (picture above by Phil Oh for Vogue.com) is certainly a winner in these stakes. I haven't counted all instances but by lending out her clothes to people who are likely to get photographed and by wearing her own creations herself, her presence on the S/S 12 streetstyle slideshows was impressively high. As Fashonista points out, these photographs are scrutinised and highly circulated and for a young designer like Gazinskaya, it's the sort of publicity that easily eclipses editorial coverage. It does look somewhat suspect when you can see the frequency of her clothes popping up on clearly prominent streetstyle targets such as Hanneli Mustaparta, Anya Ziourouva and Miraslava Duma and cynics would call this out as transparent as say a brand seeding product out to a celebrity stylist for their clients to wear.
Photographed by Tommy Ton for Style.com
Photograph by Nam of StreetFSN
Photographed by Nam for Grazia.It
The main point of difference here is that if Gazinskaya didn't have the goods to back it up, it's also unlikely that photographers such as Tommy Ton, Phil Oh and Nam (I know I cite this trio often but how can I not when they're my fashion week trench-pals?!) would choose to shoot the pieces or find it inspiring to capture. Gazinsakaya's particular mode of promotion is somewhat admirable and in a way, completely apt for how fashion inspiration is disseminated in the 21st century. Her designs however hark back to another era and as noted in previous posts of her work, it's clear that couturiers like Cristobal Balenciaga and Christian Dior have left strong imprints on her choice of silhouette. Mid-20th-century couture leanings is something that has been wafting around now for a few seasons in many collections but from Gazinskaya's collections, you get the feeling that it's her personal preference of dress that really informs her work and so rather than the shapes feeling like old relics, they look revived and refreshing, as evidenced by the streetstyle photographs above.
It feels like Gazinskaya has also refined her work and feels slightly more at ease with these 1950s silhouette than she had done in previous collections. The lightness in this collection is hugely helped by her choice of parrot prints, slotting perfectly into the right mood of all things tropical and holiday-based for next season as well as the scribble prints which were a beginning to form a motif in her last collection. The scribles were then developed into 'fake' diamonds, sometimes as teardrops falling down a top or as necklaces that are printed onto very expensive silks for an interesting contrast. These pieces remind me of Tom Binns' 'Get Real' collection from a few years ago except here, the naivet√© of the drawings is even more pronounced and when paired with luxurious fabrications of the dresses, it's quite a stunning yet approachable effect. I'm not one for nipped in waists and flared out skirts and general airs of elegance (because I don't have the right stature to pull it all off…) but I'm swayed by the scribbles and the childish approach to what is a grown-up piece. Gazinskaya doesn't exclusively look to the 50s though as she also referenced the Middle Ages (apparently she was in the gym watching a documentary about the Black Death without any sound) and so she does her own take on Middle Ages dress with the ballooning sleeved organza frocks. No doubt next season will see another collection hit the streets before its lookbook has even had a chance to get a viewing but it's certainly working a treat for Gazinskaya, whose work is definitely deserved of that presently prized platform of exposure.