Fashion Week is done. Well, more accurately, Fashion Weeks are done. Sort of. Paris, New York, Milan, London, Stockholm – Finished. But Seoul, Reykjavík, Athens, and Odessa still to come. Still, we can probably call it for now. Because it never ends. The record keeps spinning, but eventually you just have to stop dancing.
Literally everyone who knows me has hit me up to ask what I thought of Saint Laurent’s post-Hedi vibes. Like they already didn’t know. How do you eloquently write out the side-eye emoji long form? Cause, seriously, the menswear hurt my feelings. Like a deep-seated metaphysical sucker punch. Drop crotch skinny sag suit trousers stacked on full breaks? How the….Okay, nevermind. I’ll take a deep breath.
Truthfully, Mr Vacarello showed some interesting looks on the women’s side. Except for one epic issue. Walking through Union Square Park earlier this week a friend mentioned that she thought that there was one small solace to the Trump era – people are more woke than ever before. People today are woke like those methamphetamine addicts that perpetually flit through the pages of Warhol’s Diaries. On some ‘It’s 5am somewhere’ ish.
Yet, in the midst of modern feminism’s great moment, Vacarello’s chosen aesthetic for this collection seems chaotically, almost wilfully tone deaf. How in the actual fuck do you choose the Freudian Madonna-Whore over the warrior? Today. This week. This month. How?
In the demonstrably non-vestigial aftermath of the largest recorded protest in modern history. While Prabal Gurung’s runway reads ‘The Future is Female.’ Public School is recontextualizing those #maga hats into ‘Make America New York’, the sartorial equivalent of using a Confederate flag as a placemat at Mr Fongs. Can’t we all get together on the message for a hot second?
Obviously, fall winter isn’t all gonna be political, and it doesn’t have to be. Raf’s first collection at Calvin Klein was fêted on merit, justifiably. It was fire, no two ways; a po-mo’ masterclass in interpretive American minimalism. Still, I can’t help but continue to think that they really should have just handed the reins to Telfar and got out the way, Ludacris steez #movebitch.
Rousteing’s Balmain Nation – a collective ideology so fucking fierce it would use outtakes from Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency as a cum rag – walked to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” With fractured lyrics from the Eurythmics floating in and out of our aural subconscious; “Some of them want to abuse you, some of them want to get used by you”. Samantha Bee would have been proud. Camille Paglia would have popped a capillary. As it should be.
Rick Owens’ Glitter of Civilization show went full tribe; 70s reimagined Amazonian; Barbarella gone bulletproof Wicca. Chanel went orbital (sub)literally, with a rocket ship ‘blasting’ off off the catwalk (to the inevitable accompaniment of Elton John’s “Rocketman”, natch), though even that rocket ship couldn’t draw my attention away from an armour-esque shawl in corruscating bedazzled silver that literally looked like Fabergé bubble wrap washed in unicorn tears.
And Demna….oh Demna. With both lines he continues to sit right on that razor’s edge between troll and genius. Vetements’ sous-groupe normcore exceptionalism titillates and frustrates in equal measures, and the noble house of Balenciaga has become an explosive ideas lab of Debbie Harry trust-fund Hypebae skullduggery; encompassing the best and worst of highbrow streetwear simultaneously (see: a four figure price-tagged hoodie with Balenciaga’s corporate master’s name on it in the single most outré piece of subversive uptown v. downtown culture war cross-pollination we’re likely to see for some time).
Alexandre Plokhov, after a couple of crystalline early collections at Helmut Lang, seemed to be in a sort of DH AW/03 luster purgatory of fractal anthracitics. Stars were being aimed for, but not exactly being hit. A mile high, but an inch deep. Perhaps why it’s just been announced that he’s audi, in favour of Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver and Dazed Mag’s Isabella Burley, who will be the brand’s ‘editor-in-residence’, whatever that means.
Plokhov’s low-key departure is far from the only segue, as the industry’s incestuous inner workings continue to comprise of allegiances and partnerships shifting faster than Stringer and Avon’s peoples (or some GOT reference or other, for those undersexed nerds in the audience).
The biggest of these shifts, you know, this month, is Tisci leaving Givenchy. We would have assumed that it was to take over Versace, but there’s been no movement on this, as of yet (much like we haven’t yet seen Elbaz finally linked to Dior or Slimane’s eventual takeover at Chanel). Givenchy showed both elegance and restraint in their PFW presentation, walking a collection comprised entirely of iconic silhouettes Tisci created during his tenure there, unified in a single colour – Givenchy Red. I’ve never personally been a huge fan of Givenchy or Tisci, to be honest, though I always respected the artistry and ability involved. This was a Grail level coup of both marketing and design, as each piece in the (admittedly gorgeous) collection bears a vintage label indicating when the revisited piece was originally made, thereby immediately becoming an eBay resellers wet dream.
Speaking of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri (who goes, in the fashion press, by the unfortunate sobriquet of MGC) took the ‘….is the new black’ to a whole new level, upping the ante on Picasso’s ’01-’04 Blue Period jawnz by turning the Musée Rodin into a uni-shade tone poem of Elliott Smith-ian morosity. I think Chiuri is a talent to watch, and I’m not even fussed by the ‘all navy everything’ vibe, but do we no longer even pretend to adhere to the tenets of the great ateliers we’re representing? Denim on the Dior catwalk? In pseudo blue collar boiler suit iterations, no less. Quick tip, it’s ambitious to evoke blue collar from Avenue Montaigne. When Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent did his iconoclastic Russian collection, it was Dvoryanstvo, not Gulag. And Dior was conceived of as a veritable temple of modernity; constrictive, elegant, elusive, allusive, and ever haut-de-gamme. The typical Miss Dior’s shoes cost more than my rent. In Manhattan. Might be appropriate to acknowledge that.
This could go on forever, but enough is enough. Stay woke. I’m gonna have a quick nap.