While reading Fashionologie yesterday, I came across an interview with Eres designer, Valerie Delafosse. In it, Delafosse is quoted as saying, “You really have to have a deep understanding of the female body. You need to try things on, and it is only by trying things on myself that I discover what works and what doesn’t. There is a female sensibility to it. A man is going to be more focused on the fantasy and his own projections of a woman, whereas a woman will focus on the realities of a woman’s daily life.” Now, she was referring to her design firm, which produces swimwear and lingerie, but it got me thinking- does this theory apply to fashion as a whole?
On the surface and for a split second maybe you think there is something to Delafosse’ theory. It seems logical that a woman would know best how to dress other women. And yes, as a woman, it is absolutely easier for me to commiserate with other women about my imperfections. So working with a design firm that understands that may seem like a good idea.
But on the other hand it can be argued that designs produced by a man who’s focus is more about accentuating the positive (instead of down playing the negative) could be even more successful. I mean let’s be serious here for a moment- are you telling me Tom Ford doesn’t know how to make a woman look (and feel!) both sensual and powerful?! The notion just seems silly. And there are many other male designers I can say the same thing about.
At the end of the day, the question of “who is the better designer?” has nothing to do with gender. Much more important is the designer’s ability to appreciate their client- flaws and all! From there the job is to translate that appreciation into thoughtful and unique designs.
And as far as Delafosse’s statement: I would say, you have to be careful of saying that something is a ‘girl’s job’ or a ‘boy’s job.’ After all, if women (myself included!) are going to work towards shattering the glass ceiling we can’t simultaneously say “no men allowed on this floor.”
What do you think about Valerie Delafosse’s statement? Do you agree? Are women or men better designers?