When we look at fashion, we expect change, innovation, and creativity. But what I see goes beyond that – an entire paradigm shift has occurred. During the twenties, fashion was about beauty. Rich women bought the haute couture designs, middle class women tried to emulate it. The looks, while truly gorgeous, were achievable; the models, while certainly extremely beautiful, looked nevertheless like normal women, and the clothes, accessories, even the evening gowns were something any woman would be proud to own and use.
The other day, my good friend, the writer Nurit Henig from Israel (see several of her wonderful stories right here on http://ililarbel.weebly.com/personal-histories.html) sent me a link to a fashion show video, telling me it was a “gift to Madame Koska.” It is stunning, and I could see why she sent it – most of the dresses are beaded, much like the clothes I described being made in the atelier of Madame Koska, an art she brought from Paris and Russia. I have to say I was so fascinated with the video that I had to view it more than once.
The clothes are futuristic, but they borrow from the past, not only because of the elaborate beading, but the designs as well. For example, one of the creations is strongly Elizabethan, suggesting a farthingale. The models who present the clothes look, to be quite honest, like snakes. Each model wears a head covering which is a beaded cage that covers the face as well as the skull, giving them the shape of a snake’s head. The models are extremely tall and thin, and the beaded dresses skim their bodies like reptilian scales. They are, to be honest, a bit scary and alien, even though they are of course very beautiful.
During Madame Koska’s time, the venue was generally selected for its airy, cheerful, and elegant appearance. Refreshments would be circulated or served on tables covered with silver and crystal. Flowers would be everywhere. Often, light classical music was played by a live band. The venue you will see on the link below looks like a dark castle. People are dwarfed by it. The music is not pleasing to the ear. The entire effect, if you ask my opinion, is menacing. And most important, I was wondering what woman on earth would actually buy and wear these strange creations… Enjoy!