There was a moment, midway through the Balenciaga show at the New York Stock Exchange in May, when the hall’s countless stock displays began to panic, screens flashing and pixelating to the beat of the techno soundtrack. while latex-masked models satirically clad in grand business suits trampled on, never breaking pace. Ah, I thought: Yes, we truly live in the extended dance remix era of late capitalism. Everything is collapsing – global pandemic, culture war, real war, climate crisis, inflation, what else is crypto, anyway? – but the song keeps playing on its endless loop, and so we keep dancing to its beat.
At its best, that’s what fashion does: it shows us it now. Through the prism of a collection, we see a stylized snapshot of our time – its obsessions, its dreams, its anxieties, its strategies for making sense of the world – and, against all odds, it is this acute reactivity to the present who shows the way. forward, towards something new. As Diana Vreeland once said, noticing the mirror that fashion offers to society, one can “see the approach of a revolution in clothing”. What’s fascinating about this particular fashion moment is that it heralds not just one revolution, but several at once.
The designers featured in the portfolio accompanying this piece are all trying to “re-establish fashion in a new way”, as Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele puts it, referring to his own idiosyncratic approach to reinventing a brand inherited from the modern era – an ongoing process, he notes. For Michele, that means embracing the fact that fashion is no longer supposed to speak to an elite of insiders – a perspective shared by Glenn Martens, who runs both Diesel and concept label Y/Project, and Telfar Clemens of Telfar. , two designers very different from Michele – and from each other – in every other way.
Michele also finds common ground with Parisian sui generis upcycler Marine Serre and New York indie darling Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada in their commitment to sustainability – and the suspicion that part of the answer to the overproduction problem of fashion resides in aesthetic continuity: We may very well be witnessing the beginning of the end of the concept of so last season. “The goal for me is to show people that you can have a relevant brand without reinventing the wheel with each collection”, explains Taymour. Serre, who uses many of the same materials and prints in each of her shows, hopes that by doing so she will alleviate some of the pressure on the consumer to constantly seek out the new.