Pictures From The Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week – ANA LOCKING
This year is the perfect date for remembering one of the lesser known and probably most revolutionary inventions of the fabulous and controversial world of fashion.
A century has lapsed since Alexander Stepabonner Marcus invented a practical machine based on a kettle and steam which, through its internal combustion, generates an arch of heat which changes under the principles of thermodynamics into an indicator of success, into an Arc de Triumph.
Its inventor asserted that, with proper knowledge of the
nature of heat and the great laws which govern power conversions, you could manage to see perfectly the best way to achieve «Success», its development, its duration, how to overcome criticism, critics and not only how to achieve it but, what is more important, how to keep it and to ensure that the arch always trends upwards.
And, in order to attest to how well his invention worked, Alexander kept in his diaries (still unpublished) letters from some of his most well-known customers. It is said that his machine was responsible for the success of creators as prestigious in the history of fashion as:
- Jeanne Lanvin
- Jacques Fath
- Jean Patou
- Coco Channel
- Elsa Schiaparelli, among others.
One of his contemporaries who most criticised his machine was the renowned writer, columnist and fashion analyst Alexis Tzonis, a representative of the scepticism and negativism of the creative and cultural development of the fashion world of the time. Alexis was the great visionary of what is known today as the «Arch of Hypochondria» or, in the old days, as the «Arch of Hysteria».
His writings dealt with constant negativism; Alexis was strongly opposed to Alexander Marcus’ machine and his unquestionable success.
His theory was based on the illusory fact that tasting victory is irremediably linked to the constant threat that the success of today does not guarantee that of tomorrow, of how fear of future failure eclipses all satisfaction with present victory. Alexis defines any moment of glory as the forerunner to failure, as fear of losing it does not let you enjoy it.
Within the fashion world, his theories are currently known as a form of hypochondria, but they are nothing more than the modern form of the ancient Arc d´Hystérie. His theories continue to speak of the ongoing obligation to compete tirelessly, of the agonising ethics of «walk or die», of «row or sink»; they speak of the inexorable tragedy of the «dance, dance you wretches «, of the impossibility of escaping from the strict calendar and, above all, of the constant threat of the loss of success.
When faced with both ends of the scales, it is necessary to balance theories and, to this end, it is worth highlighting and taking into consideration the only scientist to be provided by the fashion world, Stanley Bitter, whose main theory was based on the statement that he made over a century ago on the constant arch of growth and slump in fashion success.
Bitter asserted in his most well-known theory that fashion is more grandiose when its premises are simpler, when the type of product it is associated with and offers differs more and when the range of applicability to a suitable target is more extensive.Alexander Marcus’ success machine, Alexis Tzonis’ negative determinism and Stanley Bitter’s industrial strategy have given us a broad spectrum which we can use to experience and confront in different ways the current fashion environment and its Arc d´hystérie.
COLOURS AND FABRICS
A beginning in mercury grey silk with chiffon, crêpe satin and mikado trending upwards towards dye blues and lime greens through taffeta, dupion and imperial faille. The top of the arch is reached with the black of duchesse satin, raffia and linen, all strewn with swarovski crystal precious stone embroidery to finally descend through the arch with a blend of mink and ivory in organza, chiffon, pailette and crêpe satin.
The structure of the entire collection is based on a bustiere with a slight 50s touch, which enhances the figure but without hugging the waist. It begins with short monochrome dresses with tiered chiffon overlays which add lightness to a loose silhouette but which little by little changes towards the intermission into two antagonistic directions: on the one hand, the straight line of tailoring and, on the other, the undulating movement of curves and frill cascades, creating a balance between strictness and anarchy.
The collection ends with long aerial dresses with coordinated transparencies once again in women and tailored suits revealing long shirts in men.