According to Ernest Hemingway, the expertise of writing is straightforward. “All you do is sit down at a typewriter, and bleed.” Of course, Hemingway may even have been speaking concerning the expertise of writing whereas sporting a specific model of gown. It’s a gown that’s doing the rounds on the crimson carpet. It’s on the pages of Vogue and on the ritziest events. We’re calling it the poser gown. You won’t actually bleed while you put on it, however it’s so fitted, it renders the best of duties – strolling, kneeling, waving, praying, swallowing, laughing and, sure, sitting – virtually unimaginable. What a time to be alive.
Full size, lengthy sleeved and fitted – usually “like a sheath”, wrote 1 critic with out euphemism – the poser gown has been on our radar since late August, when the autumn collections crept on to our feeds. An umbrella time period for the kind of floral printed attire made by Balenciaga, then Zara and Topshop, the summer time variations have been accessible. And enjoyable. They usually got here with a slit (good for stairs), have been worn with a pleasant white boot and loved an Arcadian existence on Instagram and the frow. Then the clocks went again and the poser gown was reborn as one thing darkish, moody and gothic.
Don’t be alarmed. The poser gown has 2 key attributes, however each make it surprisingly wearable. One is the form, which is fitted however exhibits little or no pores and skin. Hurrah! And 2d is the material, which will be jacquard, silk, chiffon or lamé – one thing stiff. Leading the cost is The Vampire’s Wife, co-founded by Susie Cave in 2014. Her neo-goth “floor sweepers” (her phrases) have turn out to be the sleeper hit of the season. Cate Blanchett, Ruth Negga, Salma Hayek and Kate Moss all put on her; Moss even nicknamed them “Little House on the Prairie dresses”. Alessandra Rich does one thing pricier in lace and nostalgic prints. As do, on the excessive road, Topshop and Zara. See additionally Erdem, Emilia Wickstead and Self-Portrait, whose dress of the year was rooted in its immovability. The expertise of sporting 1 is attention-grabbing. A bronze model by The Vampire’s Wife isn’t as scorching as you think about, however successfully feels such as you’re in a condom. Or are a mermaid. Either, actually.
If we need to put a pin into what’s taking place now in womenswear, then this gown is an effective begin. For 1, we’re getting into festive occasion season. And, as is custom, we are likely to reward social obligations with a brand new gown that additionally retains us heat and lined. That you look finest standing nonetheless makes them ideally suited for photographing, too (if we would have liked proof of the facility Instagram wields over trend, look no additional). But with most bodily actions dominated out, to put on the poser gown can be to telegraph your standing as somebody who doesn’t should stroll too far, doesn’t plan to take a seat down and doesn’t plan on consuming an excessive amount of. You may name it the Uber gown. You may even name it the 1% gown. The onus is on the way it appears to be like quite than the way it feels, the neo-goth commodified.
Added up, it’s stuff similar to this – the concept of sporting a gown that stops you from doing something – that will get trend a nasty rap, particularly when introduced in as stratified a society as this. For disgrace. One may simply make comparisons with caged crinolines, or corsets. We normally affiliate the concept of liberation in trend as utilitarian, of permitting us to do stuff. For girls, it permits us to be greater than a gaze. But simply as John Berger made the case that how we’re directed to have a look at one thing determines what we see, in sporting one thing that celebrates the feminine type with out making it the main focus, the poser gown is definitely empowering. Fashion historian Monica Sklar agrees: “The idea of control over the shape of a women’s body to match the times is always there, [but] it’s more so a question of who is in control and who is getting what out of the equation.” Being in charge of how somebody appears to be like at you “through maintaining a stationary [position] is empowering”.
These attire mirror a transfer away from glam sexualisation of girls’s our bodies, and the poser is emblematic of what we now deem attractive. Ten years in the past, earlier than the Daily Mail co-opted the phrasing, the New York Times declared the Pour-Me-Into-It the gown of the season, based mostly on the late Hervé Léger’s bandage gown. Short, tight, booby, this model of gown was constructed for the feminine type however grew to become the thing of the male gaze. By distinction, the poser gown is attractive with out flashing flesh – the physique is implied, and – unusually – there isn’t any cleavage. Sklar agrees: “The idea of romanticising the female human form does not necessarily indicate it is all designed for male gaze.” You additionally want a physique to put on it – it’s not a gown for fashions, so it’s unlikely you’ll see this on the quilt of Vogue.
Last week, a brand new exhibition opened, specializing in how we the physique in trend. Posturing: Photographing the Body in Fashion celebrates trend images, however its focus is on the way in which the fashions stand, quite than what they’re sporting. It posits that the way you pose in a gown is extra necessary than the gown itself. ”In some ways, the perform of trend images is to promote the garment,” says co-curator and trend curator Shonagh Marshall. “So how we stand affects how we look at the clothes far more than you realise.” If, then, the poser gown is designed to be worn standing nonetheless, all energy to the lady sporting it. Just don’t strive typing in it.