Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fashion Fantasies

Oscar de la Renta, Tulle and Organza Cocktail Dress, $5, 990 at saks.com

There is nothing quite like the fantasy that fabulous fashion inspires. After all, "fabulous," Carrie Bradshaw's favorite word, does come from the word "fable," which denotes myths, legends, and imaginary tales. In Project Runway, the judges often ask their designers to create a "story" that accompanies or elucidates the context of the created item. Designers themselves begin with a concept or type of woman and fantasize about the activities she engages in while wearing their clothing. Fashion is, quite simply, fantasy.
As a lover of literature, I see the stories in each stunning design. When I consider a garment, I imagine the story behind it: the expert artisans laboring over each stitch, the history of the fabric or silhouette, and the personal fantasy that the garment inspires in me. Life is often all too mundane or cliched, and while some fantasies are more trite than others, fashion can result in an excited new perspective of what life should be when one steps out of the commonplace.
One remembers with childhood fondness that Cinderella's ballroom fantasy is not complete
without the elaborate animal-stitched gown and the glass (or fur, depending on your source) slippers, that Little Red Riding Hood's epic journey into the lovely, dark, and deep woods is not complete without her iconic red-hooded coat, or that Joseph's tale of enslavement and eventual kingship would not have begun without that stunning coat of many colors, which inspired only envy and fury in his brothers. Oscar de la Renta's gown, seen above, is just one piece that comes with its own fantasy of a horse-ridden carriage, snow-dusted winter streets, and breakfast at Tiffany's.

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