It’s not always easy to know the secret of fashion art. There’s often a lot of overlap between what’s being presented and what you’d actually wear. But in this case, it’s important to recognize that the two aren’t the same thing.
The first is that while there’s definitely a certain degree of overlap, there’s also a lot of difference. For example, there are many pieces of couture in the Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy exhibition that you’d never see in your local mall. This show features pieces that were created on the runways of Paris and Beijing.
On the other hand, a show like the Rick Owens WALRUS collection uses coiled fabrics and a voluptuous feel to create a series of outfits that you’d actually want to wear. That’s a much more realistic approach than the one the Victoria’s Secret fashion show takes, which puts elaborate costumes and set pieces on mannequins.
The latter shows how clothing can affect the way we look, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. A shirt that swells might make a large man look larger than he really is, while a pair of pants that are too narrow might make a short man look shorter than he really is.
These are just some of the many reasons why a runway show featuring unwearable garments should be considered an art exhibition. Designers have their own reasons for creating them, but it’s important to remember that they’re not doing so to sell clothes. Instead, they’re trying to inspire, to engage, and to enlighten.