Philippe Starck, the French designer best known for his interior and product designs, will launch a cashmere line called S+arck With Ballantyne. It is ironic that Starck is launching a clothing line because in January he told British newspaper, The Guardian, “Let’s hope fashion in design will disappear. There is a lack of respect when the media says, ‘You must be dressed in pink,’ and some poor girl dresses in pink, and six months later, when it says, ‘You must dress in green,’ she’s a monster in her pink dress. We can’t accept this kind of manipulation.”
Starck told French newspaper Le Figaro before the line debuted in Florence, “Although the work of [its] creators is fantastic, I will never be idiotic enough to do fashion. The public will take maybe three years to understand the concept. It’s not fashion. We won’t be very big in the newspapers. The clothes are non-photogenic. But intelligent people will know to discover us.”
Why is Starck so squeamish about the word fashion in relation to his cashmere collection? Fast Company characterizes the collection as “nondescript, waterproof cashmere pieces… designed to transcend trends, leaving wearers no reason to move on to the next season’s styles. It’s sustainability by removing the desire to consume.” The word fashion is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as “a popular trend, especially in dress; the production and marketing of new styles of clothing and cosmetics.”
In other words, Starck is bucking the typical way of creating a clothing line. Instead of designing pieces that are meant to be worn only for a time, he created timeless pieces, or what I like to term “classics.” He is making a statement about the mass consumerism of the fashion industry which tells women what to wear and when to wear it.
Starck sees his cashmere line as “starting something that cannot not work, and that will be followed.” According to a Ballantyne press release, the cashmere line is “an intelligent and useful collection…aimed at people who cherish longevity and who appreciate elegance of the intelligence through innovative materials to pass on a modern heritage.”
As Treehugger puts it, the fashion industry is “marked by such a high turnover,” which in Starck’s words, creates “a system of consumption and over-consumption which has no future.” Time will tell if his pieces start a new trend where clothes designers decide to disregard ‚Äòfashion’ and create pieces that women really need and can keep in their closets for a long time. As a woman, I can only hope.