I've just read (and you should too) Angelo Flaccavento's lovely article for BOF on Milan's not-so-lovely fashion this season. He addressed that unspoken issue (the elephant in the room, some might say) of the rising amount of aesthetically displeasing designs walking today's runways. Despite what we like to believe about effortless style, true style can only be achieved through precise proportions, styling, and scrupulousness, which makes it a rarity. This inability to easily achieve style and beauty has caused designers to turn to its opposite: ugly.
It's how they add character to collections. Characters are quirky, odd, and a little bit off, which translates to clothes that are hard on the eye, clothes that take a real abstract eye to appreciate and not denounce it to be an artsy fraud. Flaccavento proposes the question whether frequent ugliness is "an attention grabbing tactic" or "aesthetic democracy." These garments are beautiful like modern art, not like clothes, but who's to say which way is right?
This ugly trend also doubles as a desperate act of creating newness. Especially today when it's easier than ever to attain the looks from the runway and copy them, unsightly designs are the solution, at least in the designer's eyes, because of the plain weirdness of them. When things are extremely beautiful or extremely abstract, society marks them valuable, and since the first is out of question, designers are forced to turn to the second. This ugly excuse has been slowly taking over our runways, but its break into conscience happened in Milan, a place where frauds are abundant, but genuine genius is certainly present if one looks.
Autumn/Winter 2015 looks from (L-R) Gucci, Marni and Prada | photo via BOF