Courtesy of the designers; Prada: Emmanuel Wong

style points

Style Points is a weekly column on how fashion intersects with the rest of the world.

In the old days, a collaboration was the height of credibility – from top married to bottom, luxury mixed into everyday life. But after this just concluded Milan Fashion Week, that kind of movement looks so much like 2020. Now the designers who once existed in their own competing, non-intersecting lanes are merging, with unexpected results. Perhaps the model for this was the Gucci / Balenciaga tie we saw during the Aria collection from the first in April, whose “pirated” pieces merged Alessandro Michele’s embellished maximalism with that of Demna Gvasalia. Matrix-front ready.

Milan fashion week spring 2022
Fendi by Versace

Courtesy of the designer.

“Fendace”, AKA Fendi + Versace, was the coat rack that became the topic of conversation at this Milan Fashion Week. But since the exhibition notes for the collection were quick to state from the start, “This is not a collaboration.” Instead, it was a meeting of the spirits, as Fendi’s Kim Jones and Versace’s Donatella Versace brewed a potent brew of the house’s iconographies. “This is a first in the history of fashion,” said Versace, “two designers with a real creative dialogue that flows from respect and friendship.” The first part, Versace by Fendi, featured the safety pins of the first cutting the double-F logos of the second, while the second part flipped and inverted it, layering Medusa prints over the familiar brown logo pattern. Two good tastes that taste good together!

Milan fashion week spring 2022
Prada spring 2022

Emmanuel Wong

Another fashion power couple, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, continued their successful partnership, forged in early 2020 when Simons was announced as co-creative director of the house. Their first IRL show was, deservedly, on a double podium, with models marching simultaneously in Milan and Shanghai. The theme: “seduction through reduction”, pairing Prada’s talent for unconventional sexy with Simons’ masterful minimalism. They wanted to explore, the show’s notes explained, the “clothing antecedents … the memory of a train, the bones of a corset, the curve of a bra”. So the trains came thin and single-paneled, as a Brutalist architect might envision, and the corset cords hung as loosely as shoelaces, reminders of a standard of antediluvian beauty whose shadow still hangs over us today. hui. Ms. Prada’s sense of humor shone through in an oversized sweater that retained the slight silhouette of a first-wave bra, with belts hugging the particularly erogenous zone of the upper arms. Let Prada create clothes that are both sexy and ironic.

Milan fashion week spring 2022
A Rave Review look from the Gucci Vault.

Courtesy of Gucci.

Michele, who took advantage of GucciFest last fall to support up-and-coming designers like Charles de Vilmorin and Gareth Wrighton, had a trick up his sleeve in embroidered velvet this season. No, he didn’t put on a surprise show, but he did unveil the Gucci Vault, an online concept store featuring looks from up-and-coming brands like Swedish sensations upcycling Rave Review and New York designer Shanel Campbell endorsed by Solange, as well as vintage Gucci pieces that Michele describes as “mutant relics”. Teaming up with those on the rise and letting them enter the Gucci world was a natural move for a designer who has always welcomed new talent. (“I was like, ‘Why can’t a fashion house with a creative director also have space for expressive, aesthetic and social contaminations?’ Michele explained in a statement.)

shanel campbell gucci vault
A look by Shanel Campbell from the Gucci Vault.

Courtesy of Gucci

This kind of “contaminations” between design talents with different perspectives makes sense not only on the client side, but also on the designer side. A simple logo might seem routine these days, and we’re all mired in collaboration fatigue, but the postmodernist, limited-edition appeal of two layered visions is the ultimate fashion joke for the hypebeast who has it all. In addition, the preciousness of brand holiness has collapsed and everything is now a fair game. As for the creators, they are no longer sitting alone in their workshops to pursue a singular vision. It is even possible that the solidarity rediscovered through open source sustainable development efforts and the group’s commitments to change the industry will increasingly turn them into collaborators, and not competitors. And we’re all fancier for that.

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