Thursday, March 25, 2010

Escapism in Fashion

David Sims, Vogue, March 2010

1. What do we observe in reality & media that communicates the message? Regardless of age, gender, race or class, people are mobile and express their leisure travel time through outward clothing. The travel theme is also advanced by media.

Various destinations above show the diversity of travel and climates. The joy of the child expresses the freedom associated with getting away. Urban travelers show bags, a common escapist accessory. Images the Satorialist.

Media provides complete packages for travel

Diane Von Furstenberg is an example of a designer who has focused on travel, stating that her wrap dress was "designed for the suitcase," and taking many of her pattern and color palette inspirations from travel destinations such as Madrid, in the studio image below.

2. How can we describe this message? While travel is a general term and may include work "escapism" implies willfully getting away from routine. Escapism is opposed to the idea of routine.

Values associated with escapism: seasonal variety, cultural diversity, getting away from regular life, free time, leisure, jet set, the primitive island, the countryside and forest, high expectations, recreation, adventure, nature, daydreams

Merriam Webster
Date: 1933:
1. habitual diversion of the mind, imaginative activity
2. entertainment as an escape from reality or routine

The above fashion photo by Blumenfeld suggests sailing but the term "escapism," is the general message, getting to a place away from everyday routine. This message is sent by a lot of different fashion photos and forms.

3. What writing also expresses this message? The texts below this post concern the separation of leisure from work, flight attendant fashion and the escape of the desert. Non Places by Marc Auge below suggests that we are a society of constant travel and escape.

4. What clothing forms communicate this message? Swimsuits and sporting attire, casual and loose fitting clothing for plane travel, in general natural fibers and seasonally variable colors and layers

Escapist clothing is normally different than the destination as in safari garb above. However experimenting or playing with specific regional clothing also indicates a traveler seeking to assimilate with the destination.

5. What images communicate this message? Editorials which directly name travel and voyages are common in fashion magazines.

V Magazine
Vogue, January 2010

Mert & Marcus with Grace Coddington, Vogue, September 2009

Arthur Elgort w/ Linda Evangelista, Vogue, 1991

6. What brands sell this message? Look to online website information, logotypes and look books or campaigns.

Louis Vuitton is the brand with most clear escapist brand image. The luggage company maintains an ongoing "Journeys" campaign.

Hermes is a double signifier for the company and the Roman god of travel. The winged god appears on the main page of the Hermes website and influences their travel themed campaigns.

Hermes, 2000

Missoni has a long history of associations with leisure and travel wear. Hotel Missoni in London.

Ryan McGinley, Road Trip, Missoni, F 2009

Michael Kors made a strategic brand move in 2003 toward lux travel and celebrity associations

Michael Kors F 2005

Michael Kors, 2006

Michael Kors inspires models to think jet set, S 2004

7. What is a binary message? An opposing message to escape is regimented routine, a fixed schedule and one location. A neutral palette with consistent conservative clothes are associated with the work ethic communication. This is however only the case in advanced Western societies. In any society a local clothing pattern marks the opposite of tourists. Banana Republic is a brand that originally began offering casual and some safari clothing but now emphasizes professional clothing.

S 2006
F 2006


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