Fashion month may have gone sub-digital, but the memory of Live shows Linter. With the closing of the London collection, our fashion critics traded ideas on the shifting landscape.
Vanessa Friedman Well, you and I have just spent four days immersed in “Kitchen-Neutral Fashion Week” on our kitchen table, also known as London Fashion Week. Personally, I think gender-neutral is a misnomer. It suggests collections that focus on the extremely contemporary issue of gender identity, and how it is conveyed through the fabric – which is, after all, one of the historical battlefields of what men and women are.
It would be fascinating, if that’s true, but as far as I can tell, only Harris Reid – that’s the fame of Harry Styles-in-Vogue-in-a-ball-gown – actually addressed these questions, Stung and sued at the genetic level and forcing the audience to face their own biases and prejudices. All other shows were predominantly male or female (or male and female). Given that we are now all-digital and change should be a guiding principle, I was hoping for more.
Guy Trebe It is easy to see the binary gender only in the context of a pejorative cliché – it is constricted, rigid, patriarchally applicable, etc., but also for social commentary (Willie Chavrea), silliness (Bernhard Wilhelm), fickleness (Palmo Spain) or Can be distorted. Stolen irony (Tom Ford). I know there is no woman in that string of names, and that may be one of the reasons that fashion can feel stuck.
VF But London is full of interesting women at work! Even if they are wearing what they are giving us, they are pushing those boundaries in a very elastic way.
For example, Molly Goddard, whose explosive prom-dress tulle blows the whole idea of girlfriends into a game of some kind of scorching power, finds her a powerful figure by lying on 1950s James Dean denims and 1970s Fair Isle sweater vests. Made into mixed cocktails. , Plaque and striped scarf. Victoria Beckham is sliding between Domexrix tailoring and floaty silk chiffon. Even Emilia Wikstead, one of the Royals’ favorite dressmakers, whose clothes may well be “appropriate”, this time cut the midriff of the garden-party frock to be slightly subversive. Peekaboo.
GT Somehow we wrongly – temporarily, I hope – have the freedom for designers to explore a creative space between an exaggerated sexuality, say, Victoria’s Secret and Clothing so neutered that people designing robberies for the Saturnian cult Let’s end.
VF Talking about eye-catching clothing, Bethany Williams, who is mainly making men’s attire, collected a capsule of wool coat with all the patchwork sourced from sour vintage blankets from markets around the UK. I think any woman would like to wear them – and, very easily. There was nothing particularly “male” about them: they were really about transcendence and history, both concepts that resonate with men and women alike. (And as an aside, outerwear in London has been stellar.)
GT The reality is that we were all dressed alike even before the lockdown. So as you suggest, the fun is to fasten the penis. Fashion is more than just clothing. These ritualized spectacles are not only economically important but also culturally compelling. Once people started criticizing the system in earnest, how standards of beauty suddenly became widespread. Digital shows are fine for now. But can they compete long term with TikTok? In fashion, as in politics, the focus is on sports.
VF One thing that kept me in my seat was the Roxanda minifilm, which had three generations of Redgraves: Vanessa, Jolie Richardson and Jolly’s daughter Daisy Bevan. Also their dogs. It was filmed on an iPhone at Ms. Richardson’s country house, where three women were playing cards, running in the garden – you know, lockdown stuff – wearing Ronkanda’s signature brand of color-saturated silks and generous sweater suits Happened. If there was any compelling argument for dressing up Eggless, that was it.
GT Federico Markheti, founder of Yox Net-a-Porter Recently noted on instagram “The beauty of the show and the clothes are enhanced by the beauty of the venues, often providing cultural insights into the craftsmanship and inspiration behind the product.” Do you agree Maybe it’s my inner Jane Jacobs, but I love how fashion shows put old buildings to new use.
VF In Paris, he often felt like a competition. Who may be the first to show in the X Heritage Building. Have you seen anything equally compelling in London? For me, what stood out was the Ahluwalia film, set in the Crossness Pumping Station, the extraordinary Victorian structure at Bexley that helped transform London’s sewage system and was named “Siston Chapel”. It is a visual metaphor if I have ever seen one, most notably with Cktrl on the work of Sachs and Priya Ahluwalia, which is effectively a melting pot of cultures, consistency and streetwear elegance. She won the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, by the way.
GT With the rolling lockdown in London, location shootings have apparently diminished, although Grace Wells Bonner assembled a look book with a typically bizarre and restrained collection, seen as the quadrangle of the university Was. The shoot was inspired by Black scholars who traveled from parts of Africa and the Caribbean to attend Oxford and Cambridge in the 1980s. Ms. Wells Bonner has talked about “how people create language for themselves in certain places.” As a Briton of Jamaican descent, he has often done a good job of mining the resilience of migrants retaining their home culture while adopting hostile dominance.
VF Sometimes a look book is more successful than a show / video. I could not for the life of me find out what was happening with the sculpture in Matty Bowen’s film because all the strobs and bleeding colors were there. If the goal was disorientation, then to experience the disorientation we are all experiencing – and her clothes do the rules of dress very attractively – it worked. It was only later, when I still saw the photos, that his ingenuity came through, particularly the graffiti Mahankot and Titanic cable-knit evening gowns and opera gloves. Or were they hand warmers?
GT On a WhatsApp chat, Ricardo Tissi talked about how he was inspired by the obvious corner of classic British tailoring for his men’s wear show at Burberry, but also by eccentrics like Leah Bowery and Michael Clarke. He showed up at the huge Burberry store on Regent Street and later talked about his longing for nature, about running down the street (and spending time in quarantine with his 93-year-old mother).
A unique bold show, it has been signed. Mr. Tissi carried with him the label – vocal contours, powerful graphics, hinted at the whimsical banner offset by the bullion fringe – styled at Ibn Kamara. If codes were traditionally masculine, the attitude was not. Gender Fluidity, as Mr. Tissi puts it, is much more than “a lace dress on a manly boy”.
VF Ib Kamra! He is a man of the season. The new editor of Dazed also styled through the brilliant show of Zoom Not Less, Erdem Moralioglu, which took place at the Bridge Theater and was inspired by the designer’s experience working with Royal Ballet a few years ago. (Four of the “models” were actually dancers, including one in 70.) It was not about the fluidity of any gender, but rather a kind between day and night, home and event, historicity and modernity. There was a time table. I am particularly thinking of ribbed gray knit shorts, cardigans and leggings that were speckled with primer ballerina tutu gems with flickering floral cocoon coats and white regime poplin shirts.
The Erdem Collection could very easily fall into the costume trap, but they didn’t do it this time, the way Simone Rocha’s work became more powerful, I thought, the way she did with her baby-doll laces and floral citrus. Phantom romance with a splash of cut leather and buckle harness. Both collections have led me to think that some minimalism of the applied lockout may have an unexpected effect. Have you seen any fashion results we’ve experienced?
GT I think the clothes looked loose in general, more intimidating and forgivable, and that the structure we saw often had blocky, monastic, or lookalike shapes. Stephen Jones is the “French Kiss” video for women’s hats, in which the designer explains his lifelong fixation with “Frenchness,” can’t help but think about how dully fashionist fashion has become. It is as if we have forgotten the tools of deception. I’m not sure a hat could be erotic, yet some of those Jones designed – two interlocking tongues, say, pierced with a bead – were highly sexual objects.
True, he was designing for women. (Or, at least I think so.) Mr Jones is a canny soul, however, and his appearance at London Fashion Week seemed to allude to Vivienne Westwood’s observation that the point of fashion is to finally be naked.