Fashion – a mirror or an escape ?, Life News & Top Stories
This article first appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore, the leading fashion magazine for the best in style, beauty, design, travel and the arts. Go to harpersbazaar.com.sg and follow @harpersbazaarsg on Instagram; harpersbazaarsingapore on Facebook. The July 2021 issue is now on newsstands.
Over a year later, the impact of the pandemic on the way designers approach their work has fully crystallized.
Besides the obvious conundrum of how to show off their collections (which has resulted in some wonderful displays of creativity), what they choose to create says a lot about what they think fashion should be in these days. crisis.
Does fashion have to be grounded in realism, reflecting a difficult time and endowing people with sartorial solutions for a new normal? Or should it be pure fantasy, to fly in the face of misfortune and sadness to keep people away?
This dichotomy was especially evident during the last series of spring / summer 2021 haute couture shows.
At Valentino, usually famous for their extravagant volumes, opulent details and glorious colors, Pierpaolo Piccioli decided to strip things down – the silhouettes were clean and the palette calmer. It was still clothes for the 1 percent, but it was less flashy statements and more lifestyle.
There was a similar restraint at Chanel, where Virginie Viard downsized the show for something more intimate, sending out variations of charming and simple tweed ensembles – not big concepts, just beautiful clothes.
Then there were those who were going in the opposite direction. At Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri immersed herself in the mysticism of tarot cards, creating richly gilded, pleated and embroidered dresses. Convenient? Not quite, but very pretty.
The creators of Viktor & Rolf, too, had escape in mind – defiantly scenting their couture with a rave spirit.
Newcomer Area continued the party vibes. Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk had already caused a sensation in ready-to-wear with their maximalist crystal confections. Their beginnings in couture were showgirl flamboyance taken to the next level. These are clothes that people dream of wearing when they can become creatures of the night again.
This polarity continued in the pre-fall 2021 collections.
In the camp of realists: Valentino continued his more low-key approach to the wardrobe. Proenza Schouler showed lightly fitted knits and loungewear. There were distinct militaristic undertones in Alexander McQueen, Sacai, and Givenchy that matched the harshness that this moment demands.
In contrast, there was moss and cheerful feathers at Bottega Veneta, JW Anderson and Balmain. Meanwhile, Stella McCartney has gone from her usual quiet sophistication to bright, tangy colors.
Fast forward to the next season, however, and it seemed the scales were tilting in favor of an uplifting fad – not so much of escape as of hope for a crazy New Year.
As the vaccinations progressed gradually and the blockages slowly lifted, there seemed to be a collective desire for joy in dressing very positively.
Prada, Miu Miu, Paco Rabanne and Lanvin presented party-ready collections for fall / winter 2021 that were rich in shine, color and texture.
At Louis Vuitton and Loewe, the volumes have been inflated into fantastic shapes.
The world’s largest retailers are already starting to feel the change.
Ms Natalie Kingham, Global Fashion Manager at MatchesFashion.com, said: âWe have invested in what I call the ‘new sexy’ for Fall / Winter 2021. The designers are in tune with the fact that we will want to dress and feel feminine, but versatility is important – combining these silhouettes with softer fabrics, styling them with more casual pieces.
âOur client is ready to dress up and feel glamorous again, while remaining effortless. It’s about embracing the color this coming season.
Libby Page, Market Editor of Net-a-Porter, added: âWe have noticed an increase in the popularity of ‘separate matching’ compared to Bottega Veneta, Proenza Schouler, Nanushka and Frankie Shop as an easy way to our customers to make the transition. away from loungewear.
âAs some parts of the world slowly come out of restrictions, we are also seeing increased interest in raised dresses in bold colors and prints, from brands such as Saint Laurent, ChloÃ©, Jacquemus and Zimmermann.
“We have adapted our shopping to reflect the new normal, without losing sight of the fact that our customers always love fantastic fashion – it’s about finding the right balance.”
At times like these, it seems a little bit of whimsy goes a long way.