Ask Alexandra: Masterpiece or Rubbish?

Ask Alexandra is my advice column. Have a question you want to ask me? Fill out the form here.

masterpiece, rubbish, ask alexandra, fashion advice, collection reviews

Alexander McQueen spring summer 2013: masterpiece or rubbish?

Hello Alexandra!

I’m just wondering how do you define and distinguish the collections that can be stated as brilliant masterpiece and ugly rubbish? I mean my noob eyes still hardly decide how to value the quality, um let’s take an example, between celebrity designers with the REAL genius designers, it’s confusing as they could have similar designs or cuts.

Many thanks,


masterpiece, rubbish, ask alexandra, fashion advice, collection reviews

Balmain spring summer 2013: masterpiece or rubbish?

Hi Dee,

A very interesting question, and I thought this would be a good time to answer it since the spring summer 2013 shows have just ended. I think it comes down to two things, the context and the person critiquing it.

In the fashion industry, we tend to respect the opinions of people who know the industry, and can decide whether something is good or not based on knowledge of the brand, history, trends, construction, etc… So we can say Hedi Slimane’s collection for Saint Laurent sucked because it is all stuff we’ve seen before, without a new angle. However, someone else, who doesn’t give a toss about YSL or high fashion, might just look at the clothes and say “I like that skinny suit.”

masterpiece, rubbish, ask alexandra, fashion advice, collection reviews

Céline spring summer 2013: masterpiece or rubbish?

From an industry perspective, the professional’s opinion tends to count more because it is heard by many, and respected by many. On that note, the average Joe can have an opinion on something and express it by deciding to buy, or not to buy, that product. And ultimately, that’s is very powerful too. That’s also why Jessica Simpson’s brand is a billion dollar company, whereas many fashion companies, who are hailed as genius by the industry, don’t have figures even close to that. The people have spoken, and they are more interested in buying flirty tops than they are weird cocoon-shaped dresses, regardless of how many magazine covers that dress has been on.

So to answer your question, the fashion industry defines a masterpiece based on the construction, the concept, the context, and the history surrounding that garment. But a normal person, who doesn’t read reviews, is more likely to define a masterpiece by whether they like it or not. And both opinions matter.

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  • Ian Scott Kettle

    Well put, it is this question I am tackling in a lecture next week..!

  • Jasper

    those celine fur pumps are rubbish to the max. they aren’t even cool/fun/relevant in a jeremy scott way

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    They would make a great addition to a Halloween costume, though. Perhaps a sexy Big Bird?

  • Jasper

    good one! i think big bird is possibly its only viable option