"So many male designers initially approach fashion as 'art'." This was the first part of the first question in an interview between Jenna Lyons and Cindi Leive for Glamour magazine. The two then went on to discuss clothes for comfort and how Lyons went from being "an assistant to an assistant" to group president and executive creative director of J.Crew. I suggest reading the interview, as Lyons' tips and story of success is both inspiring and entertaining. But today I want to focus on that first sentence.
All designers claim that the reason they design is to make women feel confident/comfortable/empowered/beautiful. But how how can a male designer know what the key element to that perfect piece for a female body? They can see what looks ideal, or what looks beautiful, but they can never truly feel the level of comfort or confidence that any given garment has achieved. The designers who, I think, create the most comfortable and casually beautiful clothes are women - Phoebe Philo, Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham, and The Row, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Donatella's clothes may not be casual, but they (not-so) simply ooze confidence. The parallel battles of the sexes and clothing design was evident most recently in couture week: everything dreamy and frothy and impractical, still nonetheless beautiful, was brought into this world by a male designer, while the most comfortable and sensible collection was by Bouchra Jarrar, a woman.
Male designers, ranging from Ralph Lauren to Alessandro Michele, make clothes for a character, a fictional being. However beautiful these designs may be, women appreciate the realness of clothes designed by other women; the comfort of not being in character. It's true that many male designers look at fashion as another form of art, and female designers, like Jenna Lyons, see it more for real-life living. Therefore, today, Valentino, ever the champion, has the best of both worlds. Valentino's creative directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, bring both male and female views to their clothes, and it shows. Female designers capture the comfortable confidence of women, while male designers bring out their beauty and power through clothes.
Céline S/S 2015
Stella McCartney S/S 2015
Bouchra Jarrar Couture Fall 2015
Victoria Beckham S/S 2015
Photos via Style.com.