This season's shows have seen a shift from an androgyny obsession to a celebration of girlhood – whether angst-ridden teens, off key lolitas or 90s party girls. We chart their clans
Whatever you think of her famous family, Kendall Jenner is already a fashion powerhouse. Uh-huh honey, you heard that right. The eighteen-year-old has transformed herself from a tween on the sidelines of a reality show to the fresh faced, dynamic beauty that’s leading fashion’s current celebration of the teen icon and its obsession with a new type of femininity. Not so much a return to all things feminine – that would be a record repeat. It’s a new understanding of what being a girl is all about today, and Kendall Jenner, for many, is the starting point of the topic.
She’s given us different types of Kendall, in the way a very good model does to a photographer. It’s like a scene in one of the cringe-inducing films about fashion. You know, the one where the photographer yelps “give me sexy”, “give me shy” or “give me loud”. Kendall’s gone from gothy Givenchy girl in the corner of the brand’s current campaign to front and center at Dolce parading in a floral headpiece reminiscent of a young Spanish virgin. She’s become the athletic, all American teen for David Sims and a 70s hippy for the Tommy Hilfiger runway show.
It appears she can do it all, then. Much in the same vein as fashion’s new girl. As we forward march into the Paris shows, there’s a feeling of letting go of that sportier, roomier almost tomboy aesthetic that’s made its way from runways to the wardrobes of the ‘thinking woman’ or the ‘office based girl’, and waving hello to a far younger, more femininely charged figure. The question is, which type of girl do you want to be? Because for SS15, there’s a fearless line-up of personalities to choose from.
LONDON’S MOODY TEENAGER
Whether it was the more literal school girls in what, at points, looked like tennis kits behind the bike sheds at Topshop Unique, or Marques'Almeida's PJ Harvey inspired muse coming out of hiding, London was rife with angst-ridden young girls. And why wouldn’t it be? From punk to grunge, we’ve always been home to her. This time though, she’s just as tough on duty as she is off. She’d mix bits of her P.E kit with the tough, metallic bikers we saw at McQ to wear on the back of her boyfriend’s scooter.
MOSCHINO’S LIVING DOLL
Okay, so this was Barbie on acid – but it says a lot of the idea of femininity and its extremes. Jeremy Scott had his troupe of models acting like living dolls. It might be a nod to what’s going down in pop-culture with all those big-ass-obsessed, have-it-on-a-plate singers, or it might just be Scott up to his usual headline grabbing tricks but still – if you want to take a look at feminine nightmare then feast your eyes here.
PRADA’S WANDERING, FOLKY NOMAD
Not a literal gypsy or nomad, no. The lavender coloured dunes that made up the set for the runway show took me back to Cary Fukunaga’s gothic 2011 reworking of Jane Eyre. Those scenes of a lost Mia Wasikowska wandering foggy fields seemed to match Gemma Ward making a wide-eyed comeback for the Italian brand. The fact that Ward still looks the same as she did when she first made her mark says a lot. It was that deer in the headlights model stare teamed with the rich, raw fraying on the clothes that reminded us how elaborate femininity can be.
JIL SANDER’S WARPED LOLITA
30s photographer Annemarie Schwarzenbach was our initial reaction when we first saw this collection from the brand’s new designer Rodolfo Paglialunga. And so was 'schoolgirl'. The buttoned up shirts and longer length skirts made for a more formal classroom dweller, but if you looked down to the leather socks, there was a hint of fetishism and sexuality that felt like a warped Lolita meets teacher's pet making eyes at her rebel crush.
DOLCE & GABBANA'S BULLFIGHTING BEAUTY
This is the girl that, with all the rich red roses in her hair, high-waisted, bejewelled hot pants and cropped bullfighter jacket knows how to pull a boy away from the ring. There’s an innocence to her of course, and one seemingly inspired by a young, Spanish spirit amidst the heat of a Valencian summer. This girl’s femininity is tough, sexy and even ravenous though. It’s almost like she left her innocence at the fiesta.
VERSACE’S 90s PARTY GIRL
Well, some may argue that the Versace girl is always ready to party, but for SS15, Donatella moved away from floor spilling evening dresses to more wearable pieces and brighter separates. Apparently inspired by a 1994 campaign for the brand by Richard Avedon, there was also an air of the decade’s teen movies if the lipstick ready, laser cut handbags were anything to go by. In fact, the comparisons to a teenager going clubbing for the first time in 1995 felt undeniable. These are clothes that introduce an impressionable young girl to the idea of having an attitude.