Twice a year, the media is overwhelmed by a barrage of women walking (traditionally) in a line, in front of an audience. It causes a huge stir and garners a lot of column inches—which I am about to add to. And this is the basics of fashion week season.
So far we have had New York, London and Milan fashion week, all of which have added something new to fashion, beauty and cultural conversations. From Marc Jacobs’ use of dreadlocks, via Bella Hadid’s runway stumble, to Christopher Kane’s bejewelled crocs, the Fashion Industry is never predictable. Let us explore some of the key moments of the Spring/Summer 17 shows.
Aside from the complaints about the wait for the show and lack of shade or water for the audience, Yeezy’s collection is likely to trickle down to a night out near you. With his connection to social media’s foremost family, Kanye West ensures his vision of ladies’ street wear reaches as many 18-24 year olds as possible. The plastic over the knee boots scream sweaty feet and discomfort but when Kim Kardashian-West wears them they gain an audience. Kanye’s collection is seemingly spearheading a desire for women to only wear clingy fleshtones in a dystopian street-style. It is a clear evolution from his collection last season, with the introduction of lighter colours and more sheer fabrics. My basic understanding of his collection is: why should women wear clothes when they can wear clothes that make them look virtually naked? It’s a guaranteed hit with Kardashian/Jenner lovers.
This has been an evolving trend in recent seasons. Designers are rejecting the stereotypical feminine looks that have long dominated catwalks and fashion pages in favour of more jarring styles. Whether it was bleached brows and barely there make up at Gucci, interspersed with an array of seventies hairstyles; or DKNY’s use of Victoria’s Secret models, with lipstick so dark it’s almost black. The clash of overtly sexy women with gothic make up gave the collection a modern take on the street style it was promoting. Another reoccurring theme was wet/greased hair, with wisps of baby hair gelled to the face. A trend unlikely to be purposefully recreated by every day people, even if it is a reality many of us face as consequence of the autumn drizzle.
Hands down the most amusing show of the season. There were some traditional catwalk outfits paraded down the runway but more striking were the models in giant fruit costumes. Ensuring that Olympia kept the focus on her key pieces – shoes. Seeing bananas, melons, grapes, pineapples and strawberries walking down the catwalk epitomised that fashion does not always have to take things seriously. Sequined dancers with bananas do not detract from the glorious shoes on show. Although I doubt the fruit costumes will be reproduced and sold in the shops, I hope the joie de vivre of the show translates to the women who come to own the beautiful shoes!Charlotte Olympia. Photo: master78@Flickr
Marc Jacobs Dreadlocks
It is rare that a hairstyle could cause as much of an uproar as Marc Jacobs’ multi-coloured dreadlocks did. His use of the Instagram set – Gigi, Kendall and Karlie to name a few – and his use of a traditionally black-afro hairstyle instigated cries of cultural appropriation. The hair fiasco over powered all coverage of the actual collection; a reminder that fashion plays a vital role in the cultural conversation, allowing the appropriation/appreciation conversation to roll on. Returning to the collection itself, a mismatch of: sheer, metallic, girly, frills and kitsch. Expect reproduction on the high street with this mixture of wear-ability, scandal and famous faces.
Never, ever, did I expect to write about CROCS in the fashion section. Never. And yet here I am. Christopher Kane is the one to thank for this left field fashion item – the bejewelled croc. Above ankle height his fashion show was beautiful, a mixture of textures and prints, with 3D flowers and leopard prints, sheer tights and ruffled dresses. Kane maintains a special place in my heart since the gingham glory that was his Spring/Summer 2010 collection. Initially, the bejewelled crocs shocked me. However, fashion is all about the unexpected, and crocs on a high fashion runway certainly fulfils that definition. I can only presume that somewhere there are consumers willing to embrace the ironic luxury of Christopher Kane crocs.
Perhaps it’s my own infatuation with metallic at the moment but I was thrilled to see the metallic trend continue. The London shows in particular embraced the trend. Sequin skirts at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Silver leathers at Marques ‘ Almeida and gold tasselling on Erdem’s evening wear; there were just so many options. Designers are refusing to limit the potential of sequins. Golds and silvers are being embraced as every day staples, adding a little bit of ‘pizazz’ to the general gloom of classic stripes, neutrals and florals we are used to wearing.Metallics. Photo: Glam UK@Flickr