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Fashion Week Focus: Uniform

Dazed's Senior Fashion Editor Katie Shillingford looks closer at the uniform and subtle military references during Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week ended on a high. Louis Vuitton’s powerhouse of supermodels was an impressive show that not only involved Kate and Naomi but porters and elevators to boot! Even on entering the venue, prim and proper maids in black and white sinisterly sexy uniforms were wafting oversized feather dusters over the banisters. Cheeky grins were intact and Louis Vuitton monogrammed stockings perfectly symmetrical. If Louis Vuitton were to do Ann Summers… this is what it would look like. It was very clear that we were about to witness a spectacle. As the show began, Aymeline, Raquel, Joan and Iselin stepped out of their individual working elevators, each opened by their own private porter.

Monogrammed military caps were perched atop of heads and worn with matching bags, sheer black sculpted blouses revealed bare breasts, restrictive corsets sat above pencil skirts and the ultimate fetish boots made the walk back down the stairs, appear somewhat painful. The supermodels were wearing uniforms, albeit rather kinky ones with elements from the saucy maid as well as military aspects perfectly borrowed from ‘The Night Porter’. It seems as if fashion’s affair with uniform is back for Autumn Winter 11. I, too, had been working on another uniformed collection; the Viktor & Rolf show earlier on in the week. It didn’t have the sadomasochistic undertones of Vuitton, but Viktor & Rolf’s army of angry-faced women created a uniform for everyone.

A few girlish types wore rose-emblazoned polo-necks with stiff pleated felt skirts, whereas others sported hard, structured leather jackets brought into life with spirals spiking up and out of the shoulders... and the show ended with knights in shining silver armour, which was actually structured silk. Simple beautifully tailored suits and coats sat amongst the string of elaborate uniforms in raw cut stiffened felt and were worn with military belt bags… perhaps to carry extra ammunition. Overall, the collection consisted of beautifully tailored individual pieces that you’d love to wear- but the drama of Viktor & Rolf’s red-faced army stomping over a drawbridge and down a catwalk was extremely exciting to witness!