Monday, September 27, 2010

'They all look alike' syndrome

Bootleg images from Tom Ford's SS11 show

Two reasons made the 20-something-hour haul back and from America bearable. One was the stack of discounted shoes that filled most of my luggage, and the second was my smug belief that no one would have the same pairs when I came home.

With shoes enough to last me through fashion week, the first reason for my being in the land of the free had been fulfilled. It was the second that had me on shaky grounds.

Often while driving through the States, I fell asleep looking at manicured roads, lined with Target and Subway and McDonalds, only to wake up later, looking at manicured roads lined with Target and Subway and McDonalds. Such is the state of comatose that a moving car inflicts on me, that on more than one occassion my initial reaction was that my family had reached a restaurant, finished a meal, and were back home, all while I was asleep in the car. What began to unnerve me even more though, was that the people too were beginning to look alike. For example, autumn collections had just hit while I was there and I saw in one store, a well styled pair of mid-calf boots. I was soon to find out though, that I was not the only one of that opinion. By the end of one week of driving around, I had counted at least 20 people wearing the exact same pair of boots. Since it’s a country wide store, it chills me to think how many people are wearing those shoes.

Unfortunately for us, the phenomenon has started here. You can smell Zara on person from a mile away, and what will happen when stores like H&M and Topshop hit? What is this brave new world that we are creating? Will there have to be a reserve for single-city boutique owners?

It was for this reason that I was relieved with Tom Ford’s marketing plan this year. After a hiatus of six years, he revealed his Spring Summer 2011 collection, not to the usual humbug of fashion week paparazzi, but in a private viewing to the ‘queens’ of the fashion. So all we have is word from the powers that be that the collection is breathtaking. No clothes will be seen in magazines till January 2011 and the same will be in stores in February 2011. It’s a start in the direction away from mass merchandising.

Just a step though. Thanks to Zara’s track record of drawing board-to-store in 2 weeks, we’ll be wearing a Tom Ford ‘inspired’ look in March, instead of January. If you need to pick me out, I have a birth mark under my left foot.