It was the wise words of Paris Hilton who once said: “Skirts should be the size of a belt. Life’s short, take risks.” But apparently, the internet's fashion police who go by the formal name of TikTok users disagree with the sentiment, after a now-viral TikTok review by @ageorama (Adrienne Reau) has blown up, following her purchase and try-on of Diesel's AW22 leather belt skirt. After unboxing the skirt and taking it on a trial period which only lasted 20 minutes before she had to "go home and change", Reau went on to mention that she felt the standard of the leather was "low-quality" when paired with a velcro closure, launching the internet into a cyclone of criticism about the $1,000 item.
The wrath of the TikTok fashion-critic community is a notoriously harsh one to behold, but amongst the hate and judgement about a larger ticket item being impractical, people are asking: since when did all fashion have to be functional for it to be "worth it?"
We've all seen the comments before. Each comment section, filled with remarks like "This is fashion?" and "Literally no one would wear this!!" when anything that wouldn't be seen at a coffee shop emerges into the zeitgeist. One only has to pop over to Balenciaga's Instagram account after any number of Demna's shows to confirm that these assertions exist. What it seems the masses tend to forget on every one of these occasions, is that fashion doesn't exist solely for functional purposes, and that often, high fashion is there to challenge what we know and offer a different perspective on what is comfortable and acceptable to witness.
This sentiment, is in part one of the ways creative director Glenn Martens has flipped Diesel from an outdated Y2K denim House, to one of the most anticipated brands on the Milan Fashion Week calendar for the past few seasons. Fusing his experience at streetwear-driven Y-Project with his technical achievements as a junior designer at Jean Paul Gaultier, Martens has breathed fresh fantasy back into the lungs of Diesel, and as such, a skirt that makes a statement becomes part of the overarching vision of the House, marking a moment in fashion history and ultimately, playing to the brands covet-ability factor.
Some of this confusion has a point, though. Like the very apt comments about the skirt not being truly size inclusive if it means the black velcro closure is showing, sacrificing the overall effect of the skirt if one wanted to adjust the size. This kind of criticism has merit, especially since the skirt is being sold as a ready-to-wear item. However, in an era where streetwear is more popular than ever thanks to high-profile collaborations between sportswear brands and luxury Houses, and the rise of luxury streetwear brands like Off-White and Vetements, we seem to have lost sight of the fun of fashion along the way.
When fashion is being reduced to internet led-aesthetics and armchair critics are intent on sharing their POV's at every turn, it can, at times, feel as though people have forgotten the point of not only the reason so many of us fell in love with fashion, but an inherent part of a good marketing strategy – theatrics. And while there is another conversation to be had about stunts within fashion that are created solely for the purpose of virality in the digital age, theatrics in fashion have existed since there was an industry to exist within, and to measure every piece by its ability to stand up to a trip to the mall, puts a stop to many of the conversations designers are trying to have through their collections.
This being said, not everyone needs to suck it up and own the $1,000 Diesel belt skirt, after all, luxury items are just that, and to imagine that they are going to fit into everyones lifestyle and ideas around the purpose of clothing is an unrealistic expectation. Even Reau goes on to say in a follow-up video that she wanted to own a piece of fashion history in defence of people attacking her for spending her money that way. The Diesel skirt belt marks an iconic moment in Martens' tenure at Diesel, just like Miu Miu's SS22 miniskirt reminded anyone who needed a refresher that Miuccia Prada is one of the single most influential figures in modern fashion history. It's all part of a bigger picture!