In these uncertain political times, dissatisfaction with the administration has become the mainstream. At NYFW, it seemed like every other show was an obvious reaction to the election. For example, at Prabal Gurung, we saw plus-sized models, edgy androgyny, and Bella Hadid closing the show wearing a t-shirt that read “the future is female”. In the wake of women’s marches and social media scandals, it seems like the fashion industry forgot about Brexit.
Yes, Brexit is still happening. So why weren’t there any designers at London Fashion Week raging against the British machine? Because the American machine is louder. In comparison to us living in the North Americas, our European colonizers seem to have it together.
For years, the problems facing Americans have overshadowed other global events. So, not many London designers seem angry enough about Brexit. Then what is the current mood in the United Kingdom? They, like us, are looking towards our uncertain future through the lens of the past.
Five collections at London Fashion Week completely nailed the concept of a retro-meets-modern mash-up. It’s kind of like the Jetsons; the distant future, imagined by the present. Escaping into a fantasy can be one way to cope with these troubling times. It’s futuristic antiquity.
5. J.W. Anderson
J.W. Anderson‘s Fall Winter 2017 relies on avante garde to create escape from the This collection seems to be asking two questions, striking a delicate balance between them: to understand “what will the ‘it’ girls be wearing in the near future?” and “what would modern sci-fi look like on the runway?”, look no further. I don’t know about you, but I see Princess Leia in the look second from the left and Khaleesi in the look second from the right. It’s uber-feminine utility.
4. Emilio de la Morena
Emilio de la Morena took the futuristic vibes in a slightly different direction. Plenty of designers mashed up retro and modern vibes this season, but the really successful ones do it differently; by mashing up retro silhouettes and fabrics with modern details and setting, Emilio de la Morena has created a look that is entirely unique, not to mention functional. Here we have the basic wardrobe essentials for a trendy millennial who finds herself in a forward-thinking work environment: the pantsuit, the work dress, the party dress, and the oversized coat are a few.
3. Le Kilt
Le Kilt presented a collection that was ripe with retro vibes and futuristic details. By opting for a lookbook shoot instead of a traditional runway presentation, Le Kilt is staying ahead of the curve.
2. Versus Versace
Donatella Versace took a bold risk with this Versus Versace collection. By pairing 80s-inspired hair and makeup with futuristic, edgy clothes, this collection does a great job of capturing futuristic antiquity. Going with the 1980s’ vibe is a brash choice; the 80s aren’t exactly experiencing a comeback in fashion. But somehow, this collection pulls it off.
Versace aren’t known for making bold strides against the mainstream. For example, this show’s star-studded lineup, complete with Hadid sandwich (Gigi opening, Bella closing), really speaks more to the TV-watching audience than the streaming one. However, lots of the models in this show go against the industry standard; some of the supermodels they cast are older and sport more fillers than their fresh-faced counterparts. No matter how anyone feels about it, the fashion industry is changing. Age, plastic surgery, and gender are starting to matter less on the runway every year. Having a perfect figure is still essential to the aspiring model, but who knows how much longer that will be the standard for.
Huishan Zhang completely blew the competition out of the water with this one. The five-year old, self-titled brand retrieved elements of antiquity and redesigned them for the modern age. Many collections are inspired by a particular decade in fashion, but this goes beyond that. There are silhouettes and details from the 1800s to the 1960s, with a twist so modern it’s hard to put a finger on.
All of these looks are so Instagrammable that it’s hard to believe the brand only has ~1,500 followers. The things I wouldn’t do to bring that fuzzy coat on the right to my feed. Huishan Zhang are known in the fashion world for their super-frilly, ultra-girlie looks, but this season has a particular quirkiness to it.
I never thought I’d crave a live-action Jetsons remake, but if Netflix made it and Huishan Zhang designed the costumes, I’d be there for it. With the impending doom of the world’s political systems, there’s never been a better time for a little escapism. Maybe once Brexit starts wreaking some havoc on the collective consciousness, we’ll get a little more edge from London Fashion Week.