Wednesday, 15 October 2014

the best of fashion month (part 3)

Yohji Yamamoto SS15: PFW

Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring/Summer ’15 collection appears as if from underground 19th century Paris. The models stalked the runway liked haunted seductresses; each movement simultaneously sultry and subtly menacing. Mismatched and outsized, the clothes hung loosely, but with bare shoulders, thigh slits and tiny crop tops, the collection had an unprecedented amount of sex appeal. Yamamoto has purposefully avoided ever created a collection with such a sensual approach. Until now.

Yamamoto’s starting point for the collection was swathing fabric freely on a woman’s body because he “enjoys the feel of fabric against skin.” The simple, baggy tailoring appears to seamlessly blend comfort with style. Although simplistic monochrome overpowered the collection, bursts of gold towards the end served the purpose of making people “wake up.” This intention is questionable, however, because undoubtedly, the monochrome looks were the most powerful and interesting of the collection.

The hair and makeup reinforced the 19th century atmosphere, as the dusty eye shadow and waxed hair made it appear as though the models had come back from the dead. Alongside the spontaneously draped fabrics baring shoulders and thighs, this questioned natural beauty. The helmets scattered across the collection also created a ghostly tone. suggest that Yamamoto used this accessory to make the point that we must protect the mind; protect the imagination.

The closing look was a ghostly Miss Havisham-esque creation; put together using fresh dahlias and orchids. A driving force behind the collection was Yamamoto’s view that “sexuality and flowers' beauty for me are the same. Flowers are not always beautiful; women are not always beautiful. It depends on the conditions.” There was a delicate beauty to the collection reminiscent of the delicacy of sexuality and flowers alike. Lightness and fluidity added power to the collection. It felt very natural, linking again back to flowers and sexuality.

Yamamoto’s SS15 collection reinforces his place as an iconic designers, showing how he is unafraid to deviate from his usual direction in order to experiment with different breeds of elegance. He blends timeless monochrome pieces with visionary, avante garde accessories.
Comme des Garçons SS15: PFW

Love, lust, danger, energy, power, passion, strength, desire…If there is one colour on the spectrum that is the most abundant with strong connotations, it is red. That is why it is curious to contemplate Rei Kawakubo’s decision to focus her entire Spring/Summer ’15 collection on this single potent shade. Kawakubo explored many of these associations through the idiosyncratically deconstructed pieces that made up the collection. Powerfully thought-provoking and experimental as ever, this season was a strong one for Kawakubo.
The clothes themselves inspired a range of emotional responses. The first includes fabric shaped to appear like roses, immediately bringing to mind connotations of love. A later look made up from small cut up pieces of fabric comes across as more dangerous and the hooded looks could be from Little Red Riding Hood, or from M. Night Shymalan’s The Village. One piece strays from the dominant colour scheme in that a red pattern is splattered onto a white background. This could be reminiscent of spattered blood, creating a much darker tone.
Kawakubo manipulates the power of the colour red to create pleasant, romantic vibes, contrasted starkly against a lot of darker tones. Some outfits appear light-hearted; others not so much. The importance of colour is no more obvious than when the second hooded look comes out. Instead of the bright red shade, the hood is black. This immediately has darker connotations and creates a drastically different tone to the red hooded figure seen previously. The model’s face is shaded and the red inspires thoughts of blood and danger. The collections closing look, features not quite a hood, but what appears more like a plastic bag. Is Kawakubo suggesting death; murder, even? It feels that way.
Comme des Garçons is one of the most memorable SS15 collections, if not only for its colourful consistency. It proves that colour is not just random; but purposeful and powerful. Tavi Gevinson recently did a piece for The Times’ Style in which she discusses colours. Apparently red lipstick is inappropriate for the office because studies have shown that red makes people think of vaginas. Oh.

Chanel SS15: PFW

The collection itself was an optimistic celebration of individuality. Models walked down the Parisian boulevard in pairs and groups, creating an atmosphere much more natural and applicable to everyday life than Lagerfeld’s past collections. The clothes were a bright myriad of colourful tweeds and floral prints reminiscent of water colour paintings. Sartorially, it felt as though every age demographic was represented; cute floral mini dresses to smart monochrome suits to comfy slouched tweed looks.
The collection, however, was overpowered by the show itself. Although this is often the case with Lagerfeld’s presentations, this time it was true to a greater extent than ever before. People rushed to social media to express their opinions on the protest march that closed the collection. Some spoke of it in a positive manner, emphasising that anything that brings feminism into the conversation is progressive. However, others believed that signs like “Boys should get pregnant too” and “Féministe mais Feminine” trivialised and poked fun at the movement. Furthermore, commercialising protest and using it to sell clothes does seem rather distasteful given what is going on in Hong Kong at the moment. Lagerfeld cited 1960s women’s liberation movements as his inspiration, but feminism is still an important cause today. If done by a designer who seemed to genuinely support feminism, created powerful slogans and included a wider range of ethnicities, ages and body types then it might have worked. However, Lagerfeld (who has previously stated that Chanel was not ugly enough to be a feminist) clearly did not meet such requirements.
Nonetheless, the collection as a whole did have very Gabrielle Chanel vibes. The women strolling down the “Boulevard Chanel” were confident, independent, individual and daring; all qualities that were to be admired in the brand’s founding designer. The protest at the end may have been questionable, but signs like “Be Different” and “Make Fashion Not War” worked wonderfully with the theme of sartorial confidence. One thing is certain; Chanel SS15 will not easily be forgotten.  


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