Appearance Recognition: Distorted Reality Version

The thick white mist that rolls over the Musée d’Art Moderne on a sunny day is like a thick layer of cotton wool, obscuring your view, making it hard to tell what will happen next. It’s a Rick Owens show, but the crust of reality seems horribly familiar.

Icons are blooming at fashion week: models like Dior’s chess pieces; Saint Laurent’s wet stage and pouring rain. Some options create more headaches than others; some seem more suitable. Owens’ “Fogachine” is a travesty.

For all the talk about sex! and party! is the way forward, the general mood at the water cooler or along the runway is the ambient air: Are we really happy to be back – in the office, at a gig – doing the same old things , the same? Is that what we want? And if it isn’t (because: no, not quite, or at least not exactly yes), then what is?

The yin and yang of the reentry are being grappled with real-time on the runway. It’s a way of reflecting on what’s going on with more nuance and complexity than just cutting skirts and revealing bras or the goofy bras of ’50s housewives looking at Rokh, and it are producing some much more interesting clothes .

fashion Week Models walk during the Rick Owens Spring 2022 fashion show in Paris, September 30, 2021. In the mists of mysticism, the dance floor and the chest stickers of Rick Owens, Chlo??, Raf Simons and Loewe at Paris Fashion Week. (Valerio Mezzanotti / The New York Times)

“I spent the lockdown in a fiercely defiant pose,” said Owens, whose previous pandemic demonstrations were held on deserted beaches in Venice. “And now it seems a bit silly to pull back on that and be sensitive. But we have to be a little bit responsible, right? So I’m trying to be both”.

Thus, the duality of the collection, shifting from the imposing, ferocious role he had made for himself to the sort of gracefully inclined pleats that evoke Grecian and old Hollywood monuments; from the convex corners of a leather appendage to the ovate curves of a silk underwire; and from weaponized boots cut to evoke surgical pins to provocatively speckled, spider-web laces with holes resembling small gaping mouths. just waiting for something to latch on.

Thus, two women, all dressed in black, were sitting on the roof of the museum and, like tender florists, scattered dried jasmine petals from Owens’ garden in Venice down to the show. performed in memory of last year. And so the fog, with its interconnected layers – mystery, nature, ritual, disco! – burped by small black machines of German origin.

However, they are not just a hoax. Owens is working with the manufacturer and will sell the fogger in three sizes (wrist and ankle wearables, plus a coffee table option) as part of its collection. You can also have fog and take it with you.

They will probably sell out.

Meanwhile, Raf Simons has blurred all the lines between vest and t-shirt; treat gray and black matching Wall Street ready-to-wear like band merchandise, and accentuate it with silkscreen printed logos invented for different groups – goth, metal, techno – in one The opposite is truer of the increasingly clichéd nature of streetwear as it becomes increasingly confusing to discuss business dress codes and who can say what “appropriate” clothing means.

To that end, he, like many designers, has erased the distinction between men’s and women’s clothing, so all models of any gender wear the same skirts, shirts and dresses. or loosely oversized sweaters or shirts. Buttons down complete with old-fashioned cursive labels, clearly placed at the neck or at the wrist, and a small bone-shaped metal bracelet (first introduced last season) hugs biceps, like a ghostly harbinger of old ideas surrounding work and the future that have finally come to an end.

All of this has made Gabriela Hearst’s Chloé show – held on the banks of the Seine and in front of an audience for the first time since she was named designer late last year – rare in clarity. like its sun. Hearst is one of the few designers still openly talking about sustainability, and Chloé is in the process of being certified as a B Corp (with verified social and environmental achievements); The designer also said she is determined to use the brand as a platform to elevate her work.

As a result, she focuses less on silhouettes or shapes than on textures (“I’m trying to make textures a brand signature,” she said in a preview), which means lots of felt and caftan coats, low-waist skirts and loose linen. Also a new brand, Chloé Craft, registers garments, such as a dress covered in hand-knotted silk tulle or one consisting of multicolored scallops inlaid with macramé, looks simple but can’t be done by machine.

They’re not flashy, but they’re valuable and are a silent reminder – like Owens’ fog and Simons’ switching games – of how distorted our world has become. .

fashion Week A model walks during Loewe’s spring 2022 fashion show in Paris, (Valerio Mezzanotti / The New York Times)

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, simply consider Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe, where classicism and established expectations have been subverted, spanning one way, another, and another. Literally.

The shirt’s long columns are pulled through the rope structures, creating a geometric disturbance in the line and rotating the body into a pointed new shape. Wrought gold breastplates are placed on dyed ribbed cotton and the skirts slit from back to front, then pressed into an asymmetrical, side-sloping. Heraldic chiffon pleated trousers are light blue denim. Lace-up dresses feature a cancan dancer’s pleat, not a slit but an actual hole in the shirt, as if the wearer’s legs were ripped off.

It is magnificent and unpleasant in equal measure. “Neurosis, hallucinations, total hysteria” is how Anderson put it in his program notes. Well, duh. Welcome to now.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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