The Hair After
Nobody ever really works alone in this industry.
I would never under normal circumstances start my process thinking about the hair first, but the wrong hair can kill it. And you can change everything. It's interesting when you go to shoot, if you shoot on seamless in a studio, most of the time you need hair that's a little out there to give it personality because you have no backdrop, and if the clothes are conservative you can balance it with hair that's too long, too frizzy, too big, too colorful. So hair is very much an accessory. So when you look at crazy hair you want to sort of rein it in and keep the clothes kind of quiet. Or you go the other way around, and if the clothes are really out there you say this just needs a simple ponytail. So I don't think they'll ever be in a situation where they start with the hair. However you might see a picture of Brigitte Bardot or see a girl with that hair and that can kind of informs you of where you're going. That might be on your mood board, that might be your inspiration, and then you go further from there.I think the reality is that there isn't a designer on the planet who works on their own. This is a huge collaborative effort, from the fabric, to, if you're working with print or pattern, who's going to develop that, then to the person who, if you're not going to drape it yourself, who's going to interpret your sketch the right way, and then if you're not selling it yourself -- and chances are you're not -- are you going to explain it properly so you get the right finishings? Then, are you developing special buttons? How many things go into this? How many different people touch it? So you definitely have to learn, first off, how to express what you're thinking properly, let people feel that even if it's not their initial idea that they have some ownership. I think it's always smart to divvy it up and say, "This is what you're all about, you're going to work on this," so that people have a sense of ownership. And you also don't want to feel that you're steam rolling everyone and saying, "You're a slave. Do this."
So it's kind of like having your own fashion show. The plain, simple truth is if you get glowing reviews the next day everywhere and a standing ovation, well, great. You get to say, "Well done." You also laid yourself out on the line, and you might get totally demolished, and that's a chance that everyone takes. The truth is, it's a public arena, and the minute you show your clothes there's going to be commentary one way or the other.
I think that here with Christian and Chris was a perfect example of where a team worked. You had someone with years of experience knowing how to construct dramatic clothes, but then you had someone youthful and plugged into what seems modern and what seems cool. The tricky thing with fashion is, when you're young, can you sometimes be older than your years? And, as you get older, can you stay young? So in this instance I think they very much pulled from each other, and it worked.
With Kit, the dress was blank. I think the biggest thing that everyone has to remember is that, first off, the word "avant-garde" is very much up for interpretation. Everyone has a different interpretation of what avant-garde means. To me, avant-garde means, "You know what? I don't need to sell a million of these." This is not about selling it -- this is just about statement. I think you don't defuse down something that looks defused already. If you're trying to find a more commercial version, then the one has to be over the top. Over the top can still mean a sense of elegance and a sense of simplicity. I've certainly seen things come out of couture in Paris that are over the top but they're still very elegant. They're not costumes. And I think that they got very fearful, perhaps, and ended up with something that was pretty mundane to begin with, and what's worse than mundane? Instead of less than zero, it's less than mundane.
In a weird way, I never got a strong point of view from Kit, and I always find that troubling, particularly from a female designer. Every woman who is successful, like Anna Sui and Carolina Herrera, it's like oil and water. You see their point of view when you see them, and then it comes out in their collections. With her I never thought I saw a connective thread.