Ready To Wear: The merging of function with fashion may be a risky business
Equally bizarre to me is this season's love affair with printed denim
There's nothing fashion appears to like more than a mixed metaphor, even though in real life they are frowned upon. I give you the wedge-heeled trainer, a questionable invention, spearheaded by the normally reassuringly Gallic (read: chic) Isabel Marant. Regular readers of this column might expect me to believe otherwise. I am a long-time upholder of the ugly shoe and all it has to offer: comfort, anti arm-candy status and delicate legs by comparison. These, though, represent all that is non-committal in a wardrobe and what's the point of that?
A trainer is a trainer. It is meant for walking, running and training in. Hence the name. It is today worn by men, women and children because it is also the most practical and versatile footwear in the world. If a woman wants to lengthen her leg by wearing heels, that is her prerogative, but should she be required to cunningly hide that inside a sports shoe? Any number of vertically challenged men with far from vertically challenged women on their arms spring to mind – Nicolas Sarkozy, Tom Cruise – and we wouldn't want to be them, surely.
And yet, après Marant –whose wedge-heeled trainers have sold out – le deluge. Jil Sander, Marc by Marc Jacobs, See by Chloé and any number of high street spin-offs decree that the heeled trainer is swiftly gaining a, um, foothold. And the thoughtless merging of function and fashion doesn't stop there.
Equally bizarre to me is this season's love affair with printed denim. Denim, the fabric of the American army, builders of railroads, gold diggers and so forth is now stamped with everything from snake scales to leopard spots and – most notable currently – pretty flowers. But is it strictly seemly to wear pale primrose skinnies decorated with spring blossom? And all presumably in the pursuit of that widely misunderstood concept: the commercial. Flowers are fashionable and so – always – is denim. So why not mix the two? Or so the thinking must go.
In my world it would be infinitely preferable to wear a short skirt, say, with either a high heel or real trainers. It would similarly be better to wear plain old blue jeans with, for example, a Liberty-print shirt.
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