The king of the box office for the past seven weekends, James Cameron’s epic eco-flick Avatar has secured its place in history as a 3D spectacle of color, imagination and story that is well on its way to reaching $2 billion in gross worldwide sales. It is no surprise that a film of such universal reach and cross-generational appeal would have a direct impact on our global culture just as its cinematical forerunner Star Wars did decades before.
The fashion world has been among the first to translate Cameron’s exotic Pandora vibe into a collection of earthy yet fanciful couture frocks that would be at home among the most well-heeled Na’vi people. Featured in Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, the artisanal confections – whipped up by the likes of Elie Saab, Chez Valentino and Jean-Paul Gaultier – were most notable for their magical, dream-like qualities as well as for their blatant shout-out to Mother Nature, Avatar-style of course.
Monsieur Gaultier has received the greatest volume press thus far for his full-throttle “triumphant” ode to the exotic landscape of Pandora, reflected in extraordinary detail on his runway models. Style Caster put it best, explaining that from head to toe, elaborate headdresses incorporating fanned out palm fronds and succulents collided with:
“flowing feathered gowns, architectural minis with half-caged crinolines and space-age chiffon shifts embroidered with bright, exotic jewels. Accessories included metallic shoulder, head, and leg guards, couture cowboy boots, and leather handbags that appeared to be made from real coconut leaves.”
The notoriously inventive and always free-spirited designer has openly acknowledged the film as being a great source of inspiration for his designs as well as the Latin American tropics, Mexico and naturellement…Mother Nature herself.
The “virtual Eden” that was conjured up by Chez Valentino featured sheer nude chiffon dresses alternating with wildly rich, eye-assaulting fluorescent hues that were reflected not just in the garments but also on the faces of the models. A dream-like scene was achieved through the incorporation of floating ruffles, a riot of jungle-like color and a backdrop teeming with exotic insects, unusual plant species, and video artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s outstanding depiction of swaying trees budding, blossoming and coming to fruition.
As with countless other trends that have come and gone, perhaps it’s safe to say that a whole new generation of fashion-savvy femmes will take a page from the Couture Spring 2010 collection by tipping their hats, lashes and duds to the mystical, surreal world of Avatar. In this case, however, one can only hope that embracing such a trend will help keep the theme of eco-consciousness at the forefront of our minds for a long time to come.