Nostalgia- A Desire for the Lost

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I was reading this article on nostalgia and it got me thinking about it and how it is a constant reference in fashion. Nostalgia is a true desire for the lost, and fashion is a business and an industry and an art form based heavily on it. If nostalgia stirs up the depths of loss in our hearts (and minds), and has broken many people to the point of sickness and madness, then how can it be the root and the evolution of fashion?
The fashion business is fickle. It is constantly changing and evolving into something new, fresh, and bright. However, if it is based on nostalgia, is it changing?
We always hear references like “70’s chic”, “reminiscent of early 80’s power dressing”, “Girl Power”, “Minimalist”, and countless others. These references and the like become burned in our fashion brains because collections build not only on themselves but also on the trends they reference. This is constant. It happens every season at the shows and every month in the editorials. When fashion is innovative and new, it speeds forward ahead into the lexicon. The exciting new designer now gets a chance on the fashion stage, full of prospect and promise. If they maintain their ingenuity, they have a firm platform on which to build. I have seen this happening more rarely but when it does, it is amazing. The nostalgic reference disappears; what is found is the future.
When a trailblazer is taken away from our fashion lexicon and the industry too soon, we truly experience real loss. In my lifetime, this has happened only twice (in my opinion): Gianni Versace and, most recently, Alexander McQueen. Let us take these two geniuses of design and of their art, and appreciate them for their contribution and allow nostalgia to set in. For here is a real desire for the Lost.

(photo credit: WesFeld gown made from plastic, from, Alexander McQueen Fall 2009 Collection chain mail and snakeskin dress, from


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