Although it is appealing to think that fashion has taken a sharp turn away from conventions established in the industry over the past century and more, is this really the case? Or are 'pioneering' designs simply part of a cyclical revival of forgotten fashions? Looking at some of the most influential designers of the twentieth century, Vinken considers the politics and philosophies that have been the driving forces directing their sense of style.Vinken describes 'Fashion Zeitgeist' as a trend characterized by representations of traces of the past. She considers the key concepts behind designers such as Yamamoto, Gaultier, and Lagerfeld. The originality of Yamamoto's multi-layered look stems from his philosophy that it is the individual sum of experience that is important, not the collective consequences of history. Martin Margiela, although he himself refuses to be photographed or appear in the public eye, brings new individuality into fashion. Chanel, under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld, is viewed as the only fashion house to have remained fresh after 100 years, yet is this success essentially proof of the self-referential qualities fashion has adopted? What inspired the fetish for labels at the end of the twentieth century? Answering these questions and many more, this concise and thought-provoking book shows how beauty, gender, sexuality, commerce and dandyism have persisted in defining the fashion system.
"Fashion Zeitgeist does not make the auteur and createur the subject of discussion anymore, but rather the conditions of fashion themselves...Vinken is theoretical but also entertaining and informative. She shows how individual designers reject fashion dictates and make fashion a subject of discussion by examining it against the standards of haute couture." --Die Tageszeitung
"The spectrum of international top designers whose creations reflect the Zeitgeist is shown in 13 brilliant and amusing detailed analyses." --Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung