Choreographers must see all human movement as a kind of shoddy dance. Every bungee jump and tennis lob. Every wheelchair glide and military salute. Every skip and trip and pancake flip must appear as a dud chasse or arabesque in a world-cast daily ballet. We wake and we dance. We rehearse every day and we never improve. Our gestures and curlicues stay lazy and lumpen. On dance floors we either sleepwalk or cranefly. From our first steps to our last limps we move as extras in one global, accidental, unpaid ensemble. When we die the ensemble continues with a short cast, watched by only God and the Devil and those teeth-sucking, nail-picking choreographers.
The workers of the other beauty industries must share this frustration. Artists see the world on a kind of visual canvas. Stretching and squeezing: trying to create lead room or symmetry. Nothing natural ever looks quite right. Playwrights instinctively clip idioms and turn clichés, and send their boring acquaintances to the back of the stage. But as for fashion designers: how must Jasper Conran or Vivienne Westwood feel when they walk down a typical high street?
London Fashion Week gave us a few clues. While the Eurozone crisis raged outside, a flock of the world’s wealthiest roosted in Somerset house, The Strand. Peaches Geldof, Kate Moss and Fearne Cotton. Myleene Klass, Kiesha Buchanan and Paloma Faith. All came to be outdressed.
The week kicked off with PPQ’s ten year anniversary catwalk. We’ve lived now a decade with Amy Molyneaux and Percy Parker’s pawky innovations. In this era of recycling-fines and Stella McCartney, we will soon have to hand the pair over to the green-police for stitching out so many original ideas. Satin pajama suits and ice-cream-coloured pencil skirts. Loose organza blouses and subcutaneous jeans. It was a diagonalized, Dysonian start to the week that showed that Amy and Percy still work passionately together, even if their relationship remains publicly platonic.
The next few days were a usual dirty martini of new hands and old talent. Jonathan Saunders scored a few points for his selection of subtle A-line shift dresses. House of Dereon, set up by Beyonce and her mother, appeared to have rot in the rafters. Worthy-tribal has been done a gazillion times before. Christopher Kane and Richard Nicoll kept it all simple, and mostly pastel, and were favoured for it by the media. They proved again that, for all the blare and circumstance, for all the one-season whims and expense, for all the giraffeing and press-passing and bitter champagne, this is a dress expo, a fig-leaf advert. And that clothes aren’t just walked. They’re danced.