Image by The Line (theline.com)
Clean-cut lines on trousers that won’t suffocate a woman’s body but instead tailored to give you space and fit you as such. Modernism is the new fascination created by the industry and women no longer want to be viewed purely as objects of sexual desire through their garments.
This trend of modernism has aligned itself with the growing awareness of feminism within our society. It makes the traditional forms of sexualizing a womans figure obsolete and rejects the traditional norms of which previously fashion confined itself to within the context of garments made for women. The idea of fashion for fantasy or fetishism, an idea of hypersexualisation of the female figure was apparent prominently throughout the ouevre of designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier or John Galliano. During the early 2000’s male designers such as Gaultier and Galliano truly created a strong wave of fetishism within the industry, in turn, this made women who wore their designs, objet a – Lacan’s term of an unattainable object of desire. It was about sculpting the female figure, creating lust and desire which surrounded objet a, which at this point would be the woman itself, therefore, reducing a woman to an object. Feminism argued with this as the hypersexualisation of the female figure by these designers and others alike truly sent out the message that the woman was still traditionally and commercially seen as an erotic jouissance as such.
Though this fetishisation and objet a still exists in fashion, there is a new wave within the industry that focuses on the opposite. This newfound modernity isn’t a trend of futurism, this by no means is fashion’s answer to hover boards, but instead a modernism that is purely attainable, realistic and exists today.
A desire for garments to have depth beyond the shallowness of materialistic objects produced commercially for this highly capitalist industry. Designers have recognised the changing waves of society, a stronger movement and growing awareness of feminism has forced designer’s hands to fold. Phoebe Philo perhaps the most well known pioneer of modernism. She is a woman who fluently and prophetically understands the limitations and liberities of todays’ woman. Jacquemus by Simon Porte Jacquemus is perhaps the latest exploration of modernism conceptualisation within the industry. Jacquemus garments depict a humourous, independent and free woman. A truly modern woman.
Modernism is shaping a niche of new wave modernist focused designers and labels within the West and particularly Europe.
Women are no longer being forced to be viewed as objet a nor do many of us want to be objet a. The power of modernism within the industry is the power which it instills within the wearer. Effectively enabling the garments to become objet a. An undoing of the erotic jouissance of objet a, it becomes instead about the woman wearing the garment and draws away from the materialistic nature often associated with fashion. Aligning itself with our society, modernism makes itself also relevant and correspondent to Feminism. Designers are now providing women with long awaited answers to many problematic design philosophies within the industry. The industry has for too long perpetrated the hypersexualisation of women without any alternatives for women who beg to differ from this tradition.
Only in the last few years have we seen this ideology and concept of modernism within the industry truly become influential around the globe. Feminism has always been ingrained into fashion. Yet as progressive as fashion is, sometimes we are still in the dark.