Mados Infekcija (Fashion Infection), 2013
Some people like to play it safe. Personally, I have always admired risk takers. Those who are not afraid to play with fire and see whether it burns or heats things up. That is why I have always preferred fashion with an interesting story behind it. A dress is not just a dress if it embodies passion or addiction. Black is not just black when it means anger or darkness. Stories matter – personal, fictional, amusing, filled with fear. If a designer knows how to tell a story with a few square meters of silk, he is able to pour his heart on the runway and is not afraid of being laughed at. He takes that risk and it pays off. Trust me – commercial success and price tags do not really matter when you look at a dress made by John Galliano. A biography is all that matters.
Sometimes I wish we had someone like Mr. Galliano here in Lithuania. A fallen hero who strives to rise again. Sadly, most of the better-known fashion designers in Lithuania seem rather hermitic – they present a collection once a year, send out a nicely prepared press release and spend the rest of the year in solitude. Probably working on the next big thing, which has already been introduced by someone in Paris or Milan. Sounds depressing but it is how it is.
Of course, every society has some kind of iconic fashion designer who dresses the crème de la crème and feels quite established. Most of the time the designer talks about the secularity of the local market, international success and the media gleefully repeats every word. Even though “known internationally” usually means “some of my clients have been abroad”…. These designers tend to believe they are equal to the likes of Tom Ford or Dries Van Noten. Some even say Jean Paul Gaultier has stolen their ideas. Somehow most of their creations seem dull. Lifeless. Because who has time to care about a story when the First Lady needs a new dress? Where is this arrogance coming from? Lithuanians like to say that you cannot be a prophet in your own land, but some of the best known designers feel more influential than the church and parliament combined. God gives you faith, but that has not been in fashion since the 1980’s, right?
However, it is good to know that some of the most talented designers are the most silent ones. They are usually really young – heads in the clouds, sketches flying everywhere, everything seems inspiring and every idea sounds better than the last one. No space for arrogance or careful planning here – only adolescent angst and pure passion for the creative process.
These pretty young things may not be able to fill huge arenas and get the best models, but they are not afraid to experiment and sometimes get burned while doing it. They fall, go through daily breakups, go on a compulsory diet in order to get that color or that material and regularly change their ways. Nevertheless, the clothes do have a story behind them. A story of being brave no matter what and being able to rise after many falls. Risk takers at their best.