From mid-show selfies to Marc Jacobs's departure – this is our take on the top 10 polarising moments in fashion this year
RICK OWENS: IS THIS THE START OF A REVOLUTION?
“For Owens this wasn’t just another spectacle – this verged on the radical. Their full-throttle, hair whipping and teeth-gritting performance became a massive statement about the “vicious” and almost grotesque nature of fashion week (the circus, the drama and the hierarchy).”
“I WOULD CLAP BUT IM TWEETING”
"Shows these days are a sea of phones. Sometimes I’ve left one feeling like I didn’t actually see it. Last week, Pinar and Viola did a dA-Zed Guide to Selfies, and after this week’s London shows, we can add another category: F for front row selfies. Not smug ones taken pre-show (although that’s cringe enough) but right in the middle of it. As far as show etiquette goes, it’s hard to think of anything more vain and disrespectful. #justno.”
WHAT PLACE DOES MENTAL HEALTH HAVE IN FASHION?
“We tend to put our jaded pants on for fashion week, but suggested suicide in the context of showing clothes was unnecessary. It's a weak jab when op-eds place the fashion week circus on the same plane as global crisis, pointing feebly to the frivolity of the week's events. But in this case, it's relevant to note that nearly a million people worldwide die from suicide every year. The question that comes when sitting tense in the setting is: why the mental illness emphasis?”
CAN FASHION FILM STOP OUR EYES ROLLING?
“What is it about the words fashion and film which, when combined, have often provoked me to involuntarily roll my eyes? I’m not normally a big eye-roller, and either word separately is fine, but the idea of fashion film I’ve come to harbour really only deserves a hair flick (everything deserves a hair flick) and the cold stare of indifference.”
“Donatella showed her collection to the sound of Drake rapping Versace Versace Versace in Migos' song “Versace”. This track had powerful traction this year, prompting artists from Angel Haze to Frank Ocean to write responses. It used to be that high fashion came into rap lyrics as a reference to money. Dropping a luxury brand name represented access to wealth that, pre-fame, was faraway to the artist. Well this time, the influence was the other way around.”
“Anderson plays with gender archetypes as though he’s setting himself a dare. Never mind gender bending, he’s increasingly speeding up on an ongoing gender swerve, playing with levels of masculinity and femininity in both his menswear and womenswear as though they were adjustable dials on a turntable. What’s interesting though is how appealing Anderson’s apparently ‘sexless’ clothes are to women.”
“When Hedi Slimane took the design reigns at Dior Homme, he stripped the studio’s walls bare save for one photo: of David Bowie presenting Aretha Franklin with a Grammy in 1975, dressed in a black suit so dapper it would put Oscar Wilde to shame. As Bowie introduced the award, he greeted the audience with a sly grin: "Ladies, gentlemen... Others." It’s a definitive moment in the costume history of a superstar who has had such a profound impact on the way we see gender within a fashion context. For at the height of his eccentricity Bowie always sidelined sexual identity from his appearance, no matter how classic the shell.”
MUGGING THE STREETS, BRANDING FASHION
“Graphic text and reworked logos are carrying the day, and not just in simple brand representation as per the nineties and early noughties. The new interpretations are far more complex than the literal luxury cues of then. The designers pushing the word-resurgence - Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air, Alexander Wang and cult tee shirt parody brands like Conflict of Interest and LPD New York Now – are all helmed by men who grew up during the height of logomania. Their logos are a reference to the street culture from that era; their execution completely new.”
OPINION: A SOMBRE DEPARTURE FOR MARC JACOBS?
“Jacobs sent out a gang of sombre and expired showgirls dressed entirely in jet black. It was as though the circus had been cancelled; the girls were in mourning and preparing for their final performance. Their black feather headdresses by Stephen Jones still upright, but everything felt completely off balance.”
“Freedom and constraint: it’s a magnetic play-off consistently explored in the charged photography of Nobuyoshi Araki, his explicit images of rope-bound women mixing pleasure and pain with high voltage intensity. It was Araki’s aesthetic that fed the sexy undercurrent surging through Simone Rocha’s SS14 collection, heralding the designer’s return to seduction. “I wanted it to be more provocative … to evoke another feeling,” Rocha explained post-show.”