Production:Leah Hotchkiss, Celestine Griffin, Hannah Reinhard, Cleary Chizmar
Photography: Ankur Maniar, Cleary Chizmar
All clothing stylist’s own.
Styling inspired by Ryan Roche SS16.
Production:Leah Hotchkiss, Celestine Griffin, Hannah Reinhard, Cleary Chizmar
Photography: Ankur Maniar, Cleary Chizmar
All clothing stylist’s own.
Styling inspired by Ryan Roche SS16.
Well, it’s fashion month again and as usual, we kicked it off with New York Fashion Week. Every season hundreds of designers have the opportunity to show their collections to ultimately, the whole world. They dictate what’s in and what’s definitely out. So, here are just some personal favorites after watching almost all the shows. If you have missed some runway shows and want to watch them, most (if not all) have been posted on nyfw.com.
ZAC Zac Posen’s collection was eclectic and lively with a bunch of ruffles and other effects to add some texture and to make the pieces slightly more relaxed. But the colors are what really made the clothes come alive. A feathered “blush pink” dress with coral velvet flats and a silk dress with the same shade of pink gave it a slouchy look. Similarly, a long flounced “powder blue” dress paired with velvet flats completed the dreamy and posh collection. Posen successfully created the diverse collection he was hoping for. Besides these light and more casual ensembles, there was a sharp black silk tailored jacket over a simple white boyfriend shirt paired with velvet “blood red” flats.
Zimmermann– At first glance, the pieces look like they were taken right out of Pride and Prejudice, except in 2015. Women’s Wear Daily described it as “provocative yet…colonial.” The show was titled Master and Mischief and was inspired by Ethel Turner’s novel Seven Little Australians. The runway included high buttoned and ruffled necklines, and Victorian-like collars and corsets. These details combined with lace-up blouses and sheer embroidery showed Zimmermann’s rebellious and soft vision.
Givenchy– Let us put aside the facts that he invited 1,200 local fans to the fashion show, the collection was a tribute to NYC and 9/11, it was Givenchy’s first-ever New York show, and it was on a pier in Tribeca that gave all of the audience a view from the Freedom Tower…The consensus among the fashion industry is that Riccardo Tisci finished on top again. Before the 88-look show (that’s crazy), first Marina Abramovic’s interactive performance began. Performance artists were on platforms against the skyline, there was a monk, live chanting, and once the show began, music was a mix of several different cultures and religions.
The collection itself was perfection. It was a jaw-dropping mixture of goth and romance–which he is known for. The color palette was of course, black and white. It was very evidently inspired by lingerie, with lots of lace slips, trails of satin, and robes. It was delicate and romantic, but at the same time Tisci incorporated chains, pearls, and leather to add masculine and gothic vibes. Like many of his past shows, models wore facial jewelry, masks, and metal headbands. It was a breath of fresh air that amongst Anna Wintour and world-known fashion editors, there were people like you and me who were able to soak in his talent. It was a true ode to New York. Legendary.
Rebecca Minkoff- Her collection was all over the place- in a good way. There was lace, leather, suede, fringe, short hemlines, bohemian maxi tanks, and black leather jumpsuits. However, there was one definite inspiration to her collection, which she discussed backstage, according to Vogue: Marianne Faithfull. For those of you who do not know her, Faithfull is a total badass- not only is she a musician or because of her style, and not even because she used to date Mick Jagger, but because of her “sweetness and her rebelliousness.” The black leather jumpsuit was a nod to Faithfull in The Girl on a Motorcycle. My personal favorite was the fringed suede lavender cloak with a buckle and matching mini skirt. I definitely sense some Almost Famous vibes.
Alexander Wang– If you have ever heard of Alexander Wang, you know he does it big. His shows are not just events where models walk down the runway; they are unique experiences. He is a favorite among celebrities, which is why there are always so many in the front row. Kanye and Kim, The Weeknd, Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner, and Lady Gaga were all present for his 10th anniversary. Yep, it’s been 10 years since Wang graced us with his talent.
Interestingly, this was the first season his menswear made an appearance on the runway. His collection was inspired by the current trends we see in the streets, especially in a diverse and urban city like New York: bomber jackets, pajama-chic, denim, and moto. A black satin dress with a long camel coat signaled that Alexander Wang knows what the people want when it comes to their clothes—pieces that are cool, daring and at the same time relaxed. Cheers to another 10 years of success.
Mara Hoffman– Willie Nelson was her inspiration for spring. So, naturally the first song of the show was Nelson’s “Blue Skies.” Models wore sky and rainbow-print suits and dresses under denim jackets with matching headbands, braids and even a few cowboy hats. One thing you do not see too often on runways (even in 2015) is diversity. Her show was diverse in an attempt to show what America really is. The closing look was a sheer shirtdress embroidered in stars that was layered with bellbottoms.
Opening Ceremony– There is a story to their collection. Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous architect or also known as “the greatest American architect of all time,” who designed over 1,000 structures, inspired designers, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. His philosophy, called “organic architecture” was simple. He believed that structures should be in harmony with humanity. The collection included beige tones, knit dresses, pom-pom sweaters, jumpsuits and tunics with upside down arch-shaped necklines. Overall, it was a very symmetric and minimal collection—just like Wright’s architectural designs (Fallingwater).
Jeremy Scott– Undeniably, Jeremy Scott’s collection was very much inspired by the 60’s. There were digital television prints, funky sweaters, sequin, and seed pearl embroidery. Gigi Hadid, who opened the show (obviously) wore a bright matching top and mini skirt paired with yellow pumps, peach lips, huge hair, and a cat eye. Another model dawned a matching bright green-cropped sweater and mini skirt with pink accessories and shoes. Give me a martini, please.
Tommy Hilfiger- Okay, this was overall just a cool set up. The runway was surrounded by palm trees, a lagoon, and a beach-bar shack. Hilfiger called it “island life.” The collection was heavily inspired by the Caribbean, specifically an island called Mustique, where many celebrities have vacationed (including Tommy Hilfiger himself). It was colorful, with tropical florals, tank dresses, satin bombers, crochet bikinis, knit sweaters, rainbow colored bucket hats, and oxford shoes. Cue the Bob Marley and I’m ready for a vacation already.
Rag & Bone– It is really not surprising that this show was held in Brooklyn and in a warehouse, which Lou Reed has performed at. Rag & Bone just always oozes cool. The designers, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright were inspired by the ‘90s, the Notting Hill Carnival, and Wainwright’s own military clothes. Slip dresses, bomber jackets, and oversized parkas. Must I say more?
Vera Wang– Wang is better known for being a wedding dress designer. Her spring collection was different than soft, white, and pure (what brides want). This collection was intimidating, cool, and sophisticated. It was masculine and very sexy/feminine at the same time. The main color palettes were black, white, and red. Her first look was a long black coat on top of a black bandeau with shorts and black heels that looked like they’re 100 years ahead of our time. There was also a classic white button up worn with black shorts and those same heels. Perhaps the most romantic of the bunch was a sheer dress with a matching bra and shorts with a vest on top. It was totally “techno.”
Oscar de la Renta– Peter Copping, Oscar’s successor definitely proved that he is the best fit after taking Oscar’s spot after his death in 2014. There is one word to describe his spring collection (besides amazing): carnations. When Oscar lived in Madrid, he picked a deep red carnation for his buttonhole. According to Vogue, “Copper was partially inspired by his discovery that Oscar had met Ava Gardner, whose lover was a bullfighter in the 1950s.” The color choices were phenomenal- emerald green, powder pink, grass green, mint, and of course, red. He designed lilac and ice-blue ball gowns and slid through black lace. It was breathtaking.
DKNY has been revived. This is thanks to Dao Chow and Maxwell Osbourne (Public School). The two designers looked at DKNY’s classic pinstriped power suit from the ’90s for inspiration. There were broad-shouldered, pinstripe blazers, tunic dresses, sheer striped fabrics, which were layered and shirt-dresses. It was all very tailored and the same time relaxed. It is a collection that every modern woman would want to have in her closet.
Marc Jacobs– Marc Jacobs is no doubt one of the most talented and interesting designers in the industry. After the dissolution of Marc by Marc Jacobs last year, people were curious to see how he would set up this collection. The collection itself was patriotic-literally. The main colors were red, white, and blue. It was grunge. It was theatrical, which made sense for the venue (Ziegfeld). It was diverse. It was honestly magical. A powder blue suit, a red leather jacket, a striped bright red suit, and a red striped two piece with a blue satin blazer worn by Bella Hadid… Jacobs is always going to win.
Lebanese designer Elie Saab is renowned for his fairy tale evening gowns. Saab uses sequins, beads, brocade, crystal, lace, sheer paneling, and pastel colors to create dresses that recall a classically feminine, high-Hollywood style.
So the Elie Saab ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2015 Collection released on Saturday understandably stunned audiences at Paris Fashion Week (taking place from March 4-11 this year).
The latest Saab collection is a noteworthy change from the designer whose claim to fame has been intricate, ethereal princess dresses. Saab’s new releases include coats, suits, day dresses, and cocktail dresses in addition to his trademark evening gowns.
Saab hosted his Paris show in a massive black tent in the Tuileries. Heavy metal played in the background as models slunk down a catwalk lined with cardboard cutout trees. The collection followed this woodsy, naturalistic theme. Fashion writers overwhelmingly described the designs as “dark,” “commanding,” and “masculine” rather than the usual “delicate,” “airy,” or “elaborate.”
The runway was dominated by constructed silhouettes, leather, and dark furs. Straight-legged pants, sleek uniform-style coats and shiny brass buttons all combined to create a strongly militaristic vibe.
Models were invariably accessorized with slim, plastic-looking belts, colorful leather gloves and purses, and laced-up open toe boots. Black, teal, and olive green colors were prominent, along with some burgundy pieces.
The show’s sylvan motif was emphasized with a heavy-handed use of leaf embroidery, leaf-printed macramé lace, and leafy appliqué on leather. Other details included leafy chiffon, leaf-toned tweeds, and leaf-toned fox fur.
Dresses were all high waisted, long-sleeved, and either mid-thigh or ankle-length. They featured latticed cut-outs, sheer paneling, and Saab’s customary brocade.
Models were uniformly made up in dark, smoky kohl and loose, tousled waves. The show was opened by Karlie Kloss, a standout in her knee-length black coat, straight black pants, and black open-toed boots.
Fashion week attracts people from all over the world, including celebrities. But I’m going to steer away from that topic because fashion week isn’t only about appearances—it’s about the clothes. Forget about Australia, Miami, Berlin, Paris, and London. This is New York Fashion Week. This is the week where people will literally kill (maybe not literally) for a seat in any of the shows. There are over 100 designers who participate, but I’m only going to show you my personal favorites in a few sentences, and the one I kind-of have to bring up because, well, it’s Yeezus. All photos are from Vogue.com.
Kanye West- I’m going to get him out of the way. His collection is not exactly wearable or ready-to-wear, but he gave one hell of a show. Not only was this his real debut into the fashion world— he premiered a new song. It’s no doubt that he’s influential in the music and now the fashion industry, but there’s one question that hasn’t been answered in NYC yet—Does he have what it takes to be a designer?
BCBG- Everyone knows winter and fall are all about layers, but BCBG’s collection featured something way more special than the ordinary layering. Many of the looks had a longer layer under sweaters and coats. Instead of the normal greys and blacks, there were several white and tan pieces. One of the more memorable pieces was a cropped wide-set pair of pants. Other models wore turtle necks paired with knee high boots and long coats.
Coach- Coach was perhaps the most shocking collection (in the best way possible) of the week. Stuart Vevers, the creative director at Coach made a collection that was drool-worthy and definitely deserves serious praise. It was bold, dark, and risky. The runway models were dressed in pins, leather, biker boots, bandanas, sheepskin coats, and plaid wool. This new Coach line appeals to girls who want to be free and luxurious at the same time. With “Bad Girls” by M.I.A. playing on the runway, it was the perfect show.
Wes Gordon- There was a “perfect T-Shirt,” a high slit and double-slits throughout the show and a lot of lace. The long line coats and the combat boots were a perfect combination. At the show, there were 5 shades of gray, including a silver-mink vest and a strapless cashmere dress. In addition, there were 70s prints shirts and dresses paired with bell-bottoms.
Jason Wu- Jason Wu made his legitimate mark in dressing Michelle Obama for the 2013 Inaugural Ball in a red velvet dress. He has evolved over the years and you can see this in his collection. Having been inspired by Bianca Jagger, there was a silk satin jumpsuit with a belt. There was also blouse with a scarf-tie paired with black pants, a long coat, and black pumps. The 70s are back—for a while.
Lacoste- Within the first 2 minutes of the show, I only had one thought—Wes Anderson. The jogging suits, headbands, and wool coats were a perfect homage to Margot in The Royal Tenenbaums. This collection was tennis-inspired, similar to their collections in the summer time. Designer, Felipe Baptista wanted to the same, except in winter, inspired by Rene Lacoste himself. There were tracksuits with the words “Rene did it first” spelled out. The active-wear mixed with luxurious cashmere coats would make anyone want to pick up a racket.
Alexander Wang- It’s no secret that Alexander Wang is one of the hottest designers right now at just 31 years old. His show featured music by French dark/industrial techno DJ, Gesaffelstein, which went perfectly with his soft, bohemian-chic, carefree collection. Just kidding—it was totally goth and dark with mega-platform boots and velvet hiking boots. The best way I can explain his collection is—romantic and tragic (and very successful). With red plaid, velvet, gold jacket bombers, studs, chains, high neck shirts, and silk robes, Wang once again impressed NYC and the fashion world.
Opening Ceremony- I had to do some research for Carol Lim and Humberto Leon’s collection. Director and photographer Spike Jonze was the one and only inspiration for the clothing. It was based on “an intimate conversation between Humberto and Jonze,” Lim told Vogue. There were photographs featuring Sonic Youth and Bjork against the walls for one night only. The coats were long and the shorts were flared.
The Row- Mary-Kate and Ashley’s style is undoubtedly one of the best in the business and their minimal, effortless, sophisticated line is a testament to that. The models were dressed in neutral tones and robe slippers finished off with long coats. There were cashmere knits, slouchy trousers, double breasted coats, wide cream pants, a satin slip, and a to die-for chocolate coat. Minimalism will always win—and so will the Olsen twins.
Public School- Designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne completely nailed street style and high fashion. Their inspiration came from 90s House and Hip Hop culture. There were parkas, long silhouettes, oversized scarves and sweaters, baggy shorts, hats, beanies and lots and lots of layers. Want to have a feminine look? They got it. Want to channel your inner tomboy? They got it.
Hood by Air- Shayne Oliver’s models had their faces concealed with stockings, so they were basically anonymous. This not only made it impossible to tell the gender of the models, but I was able to focus on the clothes instead of the models. There was a camel coat and an incredible oversized fur coat with the letters “HBA” on the front.
Tommy Hilfiger- Ah, the American touch. The show was set up to look like a football stadium circa 1985. Celebrating the 30th anniversary this year, Tommy Hilfiger’s collection was extremely athletic with models sporting pleated skirts, long scarves, and oversized football jerseys. There were capes, mink jackets, fur headscarves—it was totally preppy and fabulous.
Rag & Bone- Marcus Wainwright and David Neville perfected “coolness.” Layering was important, with a satin slip dress (personal favorite), capri pants, a quilted vest, leather puffer coats, and a black-cropped jacket. Similar to many collections this season, this one also showed that it’s possible to have the boldness and roughness of a tomboy and the vibes of femininity.
J. Crew- J. Crew is like the younger sister you never had—fresh, lively, and colorful. Unlike its peers, there were colors, including yellow faux fur, bright jackets, and vibrant scarves. Of course, it’s no Alexander McQueen or Prada, but it’s wearable, stylish, effortless, and affordable.
Diesel Black Gold- Lace was a major component of the show. It was sophisticated and glamorous at the same time. The colors were dark—black, gray, and deep blue. A favorite look was black lace layered underneath a black long sleeve turtleneck, a black blazer and men’s dress shoes.
Michael Kors- The vibes of the show were somewhere right in between the 70s and the 30s. There was a lot of fur, camel, coats, and plaid. Forget about his way-too-popular bags for one second. His aesthetic is one of a kind and reminded everyone that his brand is not only about his bags.
Anna Sui- The 60s are often remembered as a time of change and progression. Anna Sui’s collection is a perfect representation of that, which was certainly inspired by the era. Gigi Hadid walked down the runway in a lamb red/orange vest worn over a flowing floral dress, topped with long necklaces. Another look was an orange min-dress, orange tights, fur boots, and a white fur jacket finished with glasses and a statement necklace. Her collection was chic, effortless, fun, groovy, and inspirational.
The busiest week in the fashion industry has just ended, leaving the attendees and spectators in awe. This Spring/Summer 2015 Ready-To-Wear collection has truly elevated glamour and eccentricity to a whole new level. Let’s take a look back at the most iconic collections of the fashion weeks around the globe.
What is the perfect combination of pragmatism and aesthetics? Gucci’s latest collection. The elegant creations of one-piece acrylic dresses and Gucci’s usage of earthy colors such as camel literally made my heart skipped a beat. When paired with the classic Gucci bag’s sporty strap, the timelessness of this dress is emphasized even more. The adaptation of oriental prints onto silk materials is another highlight of the collection. The vibrant yet soft floral patterns combined with the flowing silks create the image of a delicate watercolor painting.
Kenzo, the edgy darling of the high fashion world, once again amazed the crowd with its signature geometrical structure and minimalist design. It was truly a breath of fresh air to see such a succinct yet sophisticated collection during Paris Fashion Week. When you think Kenzo, you think about fit and shape. Kenzo didn’t disappoint with its emphasis on the structure and volume of its garments. Capitalizing on the much acclaimed sport-luxe trend, Kenzo managed to add an extra dose of chicness by giving a more unique shape to otherwise very-structured tops. Kenzo’s signature geometric aspect is also reflected in the positioning of color patterns. Kenzo successfully transformed the femininity of pink patterns into an ultra-modern color palette through its abstract yet structural forms.
Last, but not least, the most awaited collection of this entire month of Fashion Week was without a doubt the debut collection by Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton. Following his stint at Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquière, as the new designer for the fashion powerhouse, kept the signature feminine details he pushed for at Marc Jacobs while extensively showing off his mastery of distinct fabrics. Leather, velvet, silk, and sequins are found in almost every single outfit of the collection. This time, under the direction of Nicolas Ghesquière, the French luxury house took the audience back to the period of aristocracy and fine dressing, when elaborate patterns, lacy blouses, and roomy sleeves were the motifs of womenswear.
Image Source: Style.com
As we Berkeley students are overwhelmed by midterms and homework, the fashionistas are busy preparing their best looks to be spotted on their way to the fashion shows. Yes, right now is the hottest time during the year in terms of the fashion calendar. With Milan Fashion week having just ended, the people on the fashion A-list has already hurried to the Paris Fashion Week. So let’s take a look at the street-style of the past fashion weeks, especially the Milan Fashion Week, and be inspired by the wonders of grandeur and colors.
For womenswear, plaids are definitely one of the biggest trends on the streets of Milan. Black and white plaids of regular shapes or red and black Scottish checks are just some examples of how versatile plaid patterns can be. Mixing the plaids with some bright colors such as yellow adds an extra dose of fun to a typically edgy look. The possibilities of mixing this seemingly old-school pattern with an otherwise plain outfit are endless due to its vibrancy.
Another hit trend on the streets for women is the long, flared skirt. Yes, the vintage retro style is back in season. The long skirts now are however more structured and eye-catching than before. The high-waisted design delicately shows the feminine curves without making the skirt seem too mature-looking. Pairing those wonderfully-tailored skirts with some sweatshirts or merely a polo shirt is one way to create a classic yet creative look.
For those cool and stylish men on the streets of the fashion capital, the combination of the structured hat and colorful, chunky scarves seems to be a necessity. Just like the long flared skirts for womenswear, the structured hat is a ‘vintage’ piece for men’s outfits. Other than the possibility of hiding a bad hair day, the structured hat is used to create a timeless look to any outfit from formal suits to casual sportswear. The colorful, chunky scarf on the other hand adds some funky touch to break the seriousness of the ‘gentlemen’ look. The vivid colors of the scarf contrasted with the darker jackets and pants, brightening up the monochromatic winter streets of Milan.
Loving these amazing trends already? Look no further than high-street brands including Zara, H&M, TopShop! Here, we have a selection of our favorite pieces from those brands that can help you emulate that flawless Milan streetwear!
Rick Owens is having quite a season. Last month in Paris he debuted his S/S 2014 collection, a celebration of racial diversity and plus-sized women in an industry which they are often lacking in. Rather than use a conventional runway, Owens recruited four step teams from the U.S. (an American phenomenon, he called them) to give a 10-minute performance in clothing individually tailored for each performer.
Hailing from Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C., the step teams were instructed to put on an elaborate pounding, thudding performance, complete with menacing and violent faces. The result was what Owens described as “vicious.”
At the end of the performance there were tears in the audience. It was provocative, powerful, and moving, with an ethos that beauty comes in many forms. Many in the industry were quick to praise the designer, showering Owens with positive reviews for his novelty. His representation of diversity was deemed genius.
There were many, however, who expressed criticism.
It seemed incongruous, for instance, that the beauty of diversity and plus-sized women required angry, nostril-flared faces to be conveyed. If the intended theme was “ugly is beautiful,” that seemed to imply that these women and their performance were to be considered ugly in order to be considered beautiful.
In fact, the designer insisted that the performers be scowling, intimidating, and tough, as if the stomping of step dance was equated with grittiness. Critics found this problematic, claiming that the culture of step was misrepresented and that the show was one-dimensional, even contradicting, in its accidental perpetuation of racial stereotypes.
The show was, ultimately, much more nuanced than it appeared on its surface. The performance was an impressive feat, certainly a beautiful one, and while its merit can be debated, we can at least share an appreciation for Owens’s desire to do something different.
A conversation on diversity in fashion was much needed, and in light of the show’s controversy, Owens has now laid an appropriate foundation for us to now engage in the debate.
Days are finally starting to warm up and even getting hot! Of course, we cannot, absolutely cannot, let fashion trends of this season go unheard. So, let’s dive in and see what is going to be popular for spring 2013. Floral will always be a spring trend, so here are the new spring 2013 inspirations:
Leather on leather on leather
This spring, we have been seeing a lot of leather pieces on the runway, including leather shirts, dresses, pants, and, of course, leather shoes. As always, the leather jacket will remain a timeless and worthwhile piece in our closets. Some designers such as Proenza Schouler and Rodarte even take it to the next level by incorporating a lot of colored leather in their outfits.
Lace in the Bedroom
Lace continues to be a beautiful spring trend in 2013 with its soft and intricate detailing. At all the Fashion Weeks, lace was fabulously coupled with the sexy, sleepy make-up look on the models. I feel that girls will always embrace lace. It’s timeless, feminine, and seductive.
Every year, I wait for this style to literally pop out again … and that is bright, BRIGHT clothing pieces. Do not get me wrong, jewel-tone colors for the fall and winter are breathtaking in contrast to the dreary cold weather. But once the snow thaws and flowers emerge, it’s time to take out the colors, and make them neon while we’re at it. We can be bold in a monochrome style, or we can look to Oscar de la Renta and DKNY for clashing color-blocking outfits for this spring.
Black and White-Forever Classy
Among all the bold colors and nautical styles, black and white will forever make the greatest statement in the fashion world — you can never go wrong with black and white. In this spring’s runways, the two statement colors work effortlessly together as contrasting patterns on the same piece of clothing.
The spring 2013 fashion weeks also presented many oriental-inspired and European clothes that are full of exotic patterns and colors. This theme seems to beautifully incorporate traditional styles from around the world. Some of the popular colors seem to be gold, royal blue, and rich purple.
Remember, fashion is about having fun and feeling good!
I have seen some pretty crazy spectacles being pulled off on the catwalks (men strutting in stilettos better than any woman I’ve ever seen), but I must say that one sight that has intrigued me for quite a while are the Maison Martin Margiela masks from its Fall 2012 haute couture collection. It’s been a while, but strange headgear have been popping all over the runways recently and these masks certainly stand out from the rest.
Interestingly enough, I had never noticed these masks until I came across an article, announcing how Kanye West (most likely in his shaky attempt to integrate himself into the fashion industry) has begun donning on a blinding crystallized Maison Martin Margiela mask for his 2013 tour. While Yeezy might be wearing this mask to shock, there is certainly a subtle statement that these masks seem to make behind their initially blinding glamour.
Just to see these stunning Swarovski-studded enigmas making their way down the runway is truly a sight. The crystals catch and reflect the light, juxtaposing the mask sharply with the rather muted palette of the clothing itself. These masks are tied haphazardly and conceal the entire face of the model, making them faceless with a sinister beauty. Although Maison Martin Margiela has always had a history of staying inconspicuous and hidden (they didn’t release their first advertisement until 2010, and even then, they concealed the face of the model), bejeweling these masks is taking it a step further from their usual incognito policy.
Why would designers try to hide the faces of models on the runway? An obvious answer is that designers want the audience to pay more attention to the clothing rather than the model her/himself. I feel that theory is on the right track, but has deeper undercurrents. Right now, we live in a culture that celebrates celebrity, faces that are instantly recognizable, and physical beauty. The best known models of today embody all three aspects and, soon enough, become the only part of a fashion show that the audience remembers. People are far more likely to recognize a face like Karlie Kloss or Daphne Groeneveld, connecting them to the big names that hired them like Karl Lagerfeld or Oscar de la Renta. Soon, fashion shows become a jumbled camaraderie of who’s walking where and where names are being dropped. Not so much about the actual art itself.
So, I appreciate Margiela’s attempt to invoke a little bit of the magic and mystery that fashion shows once held in greater proportion. Now that the Fall 2013 collections have come out, you can see bizarre headgear making a comeuppance, best demonstrated by Alexander McQueen’s extravagant beaded collars and netting. I can’t help but wonder if obscuring the faces of models is an attempt to return to the past, where craftsmanship and design held more prevalence than the face itself, or if it is an attempt to establish a new future where fashion design can continue to evolve and thrive on its own merit rather than name recognition.
Image Courtesy of Maison Martin Margiela, photgrapher Lam HUA, and Style.com
Several weeks ago, one of my guy friends was completely puzzled by a short Facebook status: ‘…broke up with my boyfriend of three years. I am going brunette.’ I briefly explained to him that changing hairstyles is a cathartic method for some people. Indeed, it is for me as well. Although I tend to refrain from daring colors and drastic haircuts, bleaching my hair a few shades lighter or cropping myself blunt bangs gives me—temporarily, at least—delight and relief. I encourage anybody who wants a quick ‘reset’ to try this out. After all, it involves zero calories unlike, say, eating a tub of ice cream (although everybody needs that once in a while).