Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, New York.
The concept of youth is not a new fixation for fashion. Fashion is largely based on beauty; beauty is largely based on youth; so therefore fashion is based off youth (it’s basically math; a simple postulate.) But between fashion’s relentless cycle, unforgiving nature, and expensiveness, there is no room for the carefree youth it proclaims. The constant, desperate search for youth is actually quite aging. Only a tired, faux youth is present; not quite mutton dressed as lamb (as the models wearing the clothes are actually quite young), but more like mutton desperately pretending, wishing, to be younger by buying lamb’s wool. Fashion's obsession with youth isn't a focus on consumers; it's a fetish on false reality. Dior's show opened with 14-year-old model Sofia Mechetner, controversial for her age, wearing what will most likely be bought by women well into their 30s and 40s.
Maybe the obsession with youth, newness, is an attempt to occult the old concepts presented. As a whole, fashion lately is based off old ideas wrapped up in reused trends, draped over young girls, to be sold to a middle-aged audience. Fashion loves extremes, so it was inevitable for an understandable passion for beauty, and subsequently youth, to turn into the belittling of women. Maybe this misconception of old-youth seems so wrong to me because of my state of true youth. This season, a good chunk of the designers experimented in keeping their collections youthful, which resulted in vulgar, immature shows (such as Dolce and Gabbana), or infantile, callow ones (Jaquemus’ baby shapes.) I may be young, but these efforts at achieving youth do nothing for making the clothes “relatable,” “modern,” “hip,” or whatever other excuses they use. At the end of the day, they just make fashion seem more shallow, unimportant, and silly.
Burberry by Christopher Bailey, London.
Christopher Kane, London.
Gareth Pugh, London.
The only designers that actually delivered youth were those that were, believe it or not, young. Fresh talent carried London this season, with Christopher Kane, Gareth Pugh, and Christopher Bailey at Burberry. Christopher Kane was the name on everyone's lips this month, with his abstract concepts, unapologetic colors, and clear aesthetic, while Gareth Pugh delivered a dazzling ode to the young culture of London's SoHo. Christopher Bailey at Burberry, however, had the struggle of bringing modernity to an age-old brand, but his flowing silks and reinvented trenches quickly disproved any sign of struggle. Established, old designers are the only ones diminishing themselves and their designs through weak forms of false modernity. It's heartbreaking to see storied designers use such desperate and poor design as a call of help for a changing time that's already left them. I understand the FOMO (fear of missing out) fear that may be driving them, but I assure that good taste and good design will always be valued.
Gucci by Alessandro Michele, Milan.
Thom Browne, New York.
Pleated skirts were a building block for this season, from Prada to Gucci and almost every street style snap in between. For me, freshly coming out of a Middle School where they were mandatory, pleated skirts represent a school-girl type of innocence and immaturity. Although not carried out in the traditional dowdy nature of the pleated skirt, the youthful connections were still present. But they were also a step outside the box from usual, sleek slips and, lately, boxy normcore blobs. They represented an eccentricity and old-timey aesthetic that ruled this season.
More on that eccentric part of this season in Part Two. Keep an eye out!
My reviews from September Fashion Month 2015: