On Inspiration and Imitation in Fashion: Met Gala Edition

On Inspiration and Imitation in Fashion: Met Gala Edition

I was texting with a friend (this friend) when the topic of the Olsens' Met Gala ensembles came up. She called the looks "totally inspiring," I agreed, having myself temporarily stopped breathing at the sight. Then she proceeded to express the very same thing I was feeling: get me in some lace and an embroidered cape, sooner rather than later if possible!! For me, no other image from the Met Gala red carpet had the same appeal.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

I regularly resist succumbing to trends. I try to be selective about the fashion images I see by limiting my media exposure and carefully screening who I let in. I try to exercise my spirit of fashion individuality and to celebrate it in others. But still, with all of that said, I can’t deny the fact that the image of the Olsen sisters inspired me to want to look the same. Given the limitations of imitation in fashion, I’m left asking why? Why do fashion images have such a power to shape our personal relationship with our clothes? Why do we seek to imitate what we see? Is this a question of imitation or one of inspiration; is there a line between the two or is the boundary between what inspires us and what we imitate blurry? I don't know, but I'm curious. Because I think at the heart of a true sense of personal style lies an unwavering desire to be original. Once you start looking like only you can, the idea of looking like anyone else, even someone whose style you admire, seems crazy.

Consider this. What if I could get my hands on the perfect lace dress and a lovely embroidered cape and I put the two together and waltzed around Paris (just imagining here the effect of this ensemble on my spirits). How would I feel? Would I feel like myself? Would knowing I replicated someone else’s style somehow make it harder to feel the outfit was really mine? Would I love it so much that it wouldn’t matter? Does this sound like the making of a fashion experiment? Let's discuss.

Also, Mary Kate and Ashley are a feast for the eyes every year. See proof below. 

Feature image: Benjamin Norman for The New York Times.

Frantz Fanon on Dress

Frantz Fanon on Dress

What I Get Excited to See at the Met Gala

What I Get Excited to See at the Met Gala