n theory, fashion is all about the new, or at least the what-comes-next. This takes on a whole new energy post-lockdown.
Over the past few days, in lieu of live runways outlining what we might wear as 2021 dawns, the men’s Paris and Milan spring/summer shows have become digital experiences of varying degrees of fanfare. Crucially, the fact that suiting had become the lead narrative in menswear ahead of quarantine is an irony lost on no one, particularly with the dressed-down Zoom uniform.
So, designers are swinging back to easy casual, then? Don’t be ridiculous. On Tuesday, one of the most watched designers, Miuccia Prada, live-streamed Multiple Views SS21: The Show That Never Happened. Here five artists, including Juergen Teller, interpreted “simple clothes, with a use and a value” in five filmic chapters.
The silhouette started off strong and sharp with narrow suits, shirts and ties in minimalistic monochrome, with Prada’s classic Nineties nylon appearing as blazers or slash-neck tops. This evolved into neat sweat tops with tailored track pants. Classic Prada pieces such as a camel coat, a jumbo cardigan in off-green and a simple zipper blouson followed, with the whole thing climaxing in a youthful sports kit situation, the bulk of which was in white. Basically a stripped-back, no-nonsense uniform. Did it make me want to put on a tie? No. Did it make me want to put on a nylon slash neck? Yes.
“That is really the value of our job — to create beautiful, intelligent clothes,” said Mrs Prada. “The clothes are simple — but with the concept of simplicity as an antidote to useless complication. This is a moment to think and to reflect on things. What do we do, what is fashion for, what are we here for?”
Rick Owens’s take on what-happens-next was unveiled in a video set within an industrial studio, with the designer styling the entire collection himself — a stroke of extremely watchable genius. Numerous Rickisms featured, including those now infamous towering platforms, slashed tops (ideal to spice up a Google Hangout) and yes, tailoring.
Véronique Nichanian at Hermès also appeared in the brand’s digital presentation, a collaboration with director Cyril Teste, in a kind of behind-the-scenes fashion shoot of models in the atelier. The strength here though was certainly in the ease of the clothes; tailoring was light, smart trousers had a track-pant waist. Side note: if any shoe has defined lockdown then surely it’s the Birkenstock. The Hermès upgrade? A closed-toe gardening sandal.
Lemaire also delivered a similarly easy mood with a collection of usefully discreet, utilitarian separates. Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, meanwhile, riffed on their usual live performative formula with vignettes of dancers wearing a vibrant wardrobe of pleated classics.
Like Prada, both labels are proposing clothes that speak of a wardrobe edited to precision, a reminder that a pre-lockdown emphasis away from trends-for-trends-sake looks set to continue.
If you think Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson is going to give you anything as dreary as a WFH tracksuit, then think again. For starters, the designer’s concept for Loewe’s “show” came to his audiences in a box, with cardboard sheets of the looks that you could build into miniature models, allowing you to see the outfit as you would on a runway.
Looks revolved around architectural volumes with trenches that balloon out at the back. Baskets — a very Loewe motif — appeared as a super-jolly pineapple bag or a sleeveless top akin to a chic wicker explosion, its woven stands dancing upwards from its neckline. Easier pieces like a long tunic shirt featured a large circular motif created with shibori — think tie-dye but chicer.
If Anderson proved anything, it was that his trajectory to marry the artisanal and the directional hasn’t been railroaded by a pandemic.
Kim Jones put the work of Ghanaian-born artist Amoako Boafo at the heart of his latest (and best) Dior collection. Boafo, whose finger-painting technique sees him create portraits of often glorious colour, has been gathering interest both culturally and at auction. Jones met him in Miami in 2019. “I loved working with an African artist, especially from Ghana, which was close to my family’s heart,” said the designer, who grew up in Africa. “Boafo’s art touched me profoundly.”
A two-part film showing Boafo in his studio working — “I tend to look at characters that have a sense of style,” he said — was cut with Jones talking about the way they incorporated the artist’s ideas into the clothes. Ivy — part inspired by a famous Dior dress, and by a shirt in Boafo’s painting Green Beret — appears in various iterations. The film also featured a blindingly fast montage shuttering between Boafo’s work and Jones’ clothes; a visual assault that almost captured the thrill of an actual show. Buying a top with one of Boafo’s portraits on it is a sound investment.
So, no. That pile of clothes you’ve been rotating to go from the corner shop to the corner of your house with your best Zoom angle is not going to cut it for much longer. Fashion is back. And frankly, isn’t that a relief?
Author: ” — www.standard.co.uk “