|Past Perfect Essay
by Nina Fabicon
I would not go as far to say that ornament is crime, but in my approach to fashion, simplicity is key. I’ve never used fashion as a statement of counter-culture or rebellion. And I suppose this is rather austere, but it has always been a means to bring a quiet sense of calmness in my disposition, as it is an outlet to express some of the defining elements of my aesthetic tastes. Three words immediately come to mind: minimal, modern and feminine. A typical outfit, for me, should not be outrageous but distinct in that it’s well put together and cleanly styled. It is no wonder that the work of Cristobal Balenciaga has always resonated with me.The dress ensemble that I have chosen is a fine example of Balenciaga’s originality. Characteristic of many of his designs, a unique simplicity is achieved through masterful construction and a playing against traditional form while maintaining a pure classic line. Although I am unschooled in the formal techniques of dress making, even a quick glance at the draping of the jacket will notice the complexity of the design and its undertaking. The draping also renders fluid lines that deviate from traditional form, giving it a strong architectural dimension. The jacket’s beauty lays in its construction and to this day, still looks extraordinarily modern.
Yet what I love most about this dress ensemble and Balenciaga’s work overall, is that the most important thing they uphold is the loveliness that a romantic sense of femininity brings. The graceful lines created by the way in which the draping falls on the jacket, the modest v-neck cut of the dress, yet how it brings attention to the breast line, and the elegant satin bow that accentuates the contours of the waist, all come together in a poetic embrace, as if to emulate what is most quintessential in the female silhouette. No other couturier, in my limited knowledge of Fashion History, has rendered such a high degree of sophistication and elegance through his inimitable designs. To be clothed in Balenciaga is to allow an expression of femininity in its most refined manner. It is to surrender to the work of a master by letting the clothing bring attention to the person underneath. It is to wear a work of art. This, I believe, is the ultimate look of being well put together. It is perfection.
Bio Nina Fabicon lives in Chicago with Wayne Montana and their little black dog, Budgie. While she hates her job, she likes to spend her time eating with loved ones, reading good books, and trying to get to the point where she can write a novel, or a least a good short story. She loves fashion and though she greatly admires eras of distinct and outré style, she prefers to wear simple, understated, and well-constructed clothing, making it appear that she has things well put together.
|photo by Alix Lambert
drawing by Jamie Hayes
reference photo and notes