Rage Against the Machine at NYFW

New York is widely regarded as the fashion capital of America – the land of the free, the home of the brave, the birthplace of modern democracy. The United States might not be known for their unified front right now, but designers at NYFW FW17 appeared to be on the same page.

The creative people of America’s fashion industry are in an uproar over the state of their country’s political affairs. With the Trump victory fresh in their minds, five designers pulled out every stop in an effort to create the angsty, edgy collections.

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All rights reserved by Jeremy Scott

I know what you’re thinking; it’s Gigi in Jesus pants. You’re right, but the people’s designer didn’t just stop there. As a relative outsider in the fashion industry, there was no one better than Jeremy Scott to publicly express his outrage at the Trump victory. Fit for nasty women and perhaps courageous bad hombres, this is about anger and ferocity. In the face of political oppression, perhaps Scott is suggesting we embrace our bad selves.

Scott grew up in rural America where he found himself surrounded by conservative fashion and ideologies. From a young age, he was creative and imaginative; he was constantly pushing the boundaries of art and aesthetics. After graduating from high school, he moved to New York, and then to Paris, where he eventually started his self-titled line.

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All rights reserved by Jeremy Scott

Although he faced a great deal of rejections at the start of his career, Jeremy Scott has become both an icon and a mainstay on the red carpet. Scott is known for blending street style and pop culture, but it’s a certain rebelliousness that makes this collection so distinct. It’s like, fuck fashion, I let my 5-year-old dress me, but if the 5-year-old has a penchant for fishnets.

In some ways, Jeremy Scott is the epitome of The American Dream. He was born without any connections to the fashion industry, and now he’s dressing pop stars and working for some of the most iconic houses in the biz. Not only has he done something great, but he’s done it himself.

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All rights reserved by Jeremy Scott

These looks are loud and proud. That butterfly applique dress was so nice I screenshot it twice. The Jesus motif was used throughout the show, perhaps poking fun at the looming reunification of church and state under a Republican presidency. No doubt some of the Trump supporters he’s encountered have reminded him of some of his less-than-favourite high school classmates.

Scott is, and always has been, an underdog. And who better than a chronic underdog to rage against the system? The big fashion houses donned by 5th avenue brat packs could never make a statement like this, even during a time in which seems to call for one, and get away with it.

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All rights reserved by Jeremy Scott

The looks that are supposed to be for men were even more outrageous than the ladies’. Typically, women can get away with more when it comes to fashion; but not at Jeremy Scott.

Although he now finds himself a fixture in the fashion industry, his haters are never far behind. Suzy Menkes and other high profile fashion writers have called his designs ugly, superficial, and stupefying. However, he never alters his vision to suit his critics.

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All rights reserved by Jeremy Scott

For me, the highlights of this show were Gigi in an Elvis-inspired jacket and pants, the applique dress I mentioned earlier, and the “As Seen on TV” top at the end.

Public School gave another obvious nod to the Trump presidency with their “Make America New York” hats, pictured below;

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All rights reserved by Public School

When faced with the tough prospect of inspiring a political left-wing, the designers expressed a desire for more liberal-thinking leaders. “This Land is Your Land” blared in the background as models stomped down the runway donning either rural and rugged or silken and feminine looks. It’s about coming together by celebrating our differences; perhaps Americans should abandon the metaphorical “melting pot” in favour of a more Canadian mosaic.

Philip Plein expressed a desire to “make New York Fashion Week great again” at his presentation. Although the actual collection wasn’t as daring as some of the other politically-inspired presentations, this drew a great amount of press coverage because of who was seated in the front row.

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All rights reserved by Philip Plein

With Madonna, Kylie Jenner, and Tiffany Trump in tow, this show started with the vehicle of spectacle and took it past the point of reason. With his markedly avante-garde style, to paraphrase this designer, he chased his dreams until they came true. Sounds like a lot of talk, but this is actually a great collection.

High-powered businesswomen might actually wear this stuff to the office, causing their male counterparts to think critically about aesthetics and dress. Plein falls a little short here by assuming that boys and men cannot think critically about attire without the assistance of heteronormative women, however, his point is valid. Women actually have an advantage in the world of fashion, because it is socially acceptable for us to wear things that are thought-provoking and occasionally daring. This is particularly true for women in the spotlight; see Plein’s star-studded front row.

Rachel Antonoff, on the other hand, does not design pantsuits for high powered businesswomen nor dress stars for her front row. This season, her clothes are meant for trashy, tacky, opinionated women.

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All rights reserved by Rachel Antonoff

She said it herself; there’s beauty in trash. With this collection, Rachel Antonoff is keeping the market of loud and liberal women alive. Not only can she talk the talk, but she can walk the walk; Antonoff is very active in the U.S. political scene, particularly within grassroots women’s movements.

I am obsessed with this collection because of this masterful usage of millennial pink as a backdrop against vintage-inspired perfection. Antonoff touches on nearly all the major trends without obscuring her uniqueness: everything from the 90s-inspired denim looks to the silk pajamas to the Victoriana-inspired finale dress has me shook.

Antonoff uses her line to express her political views in subtle ways. However, Wendy Nichol used her presentation to send explicit political messages.

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All rights reserved by Wendy Nichol

 

I know what you’re wondering; what do all those little signs say? Lucky for you, I counted all of the messages and discovered that some phrases were used twice, and others once. The phrases that were used once are as follows: I am (a/n): warrior, mad, Iranian, woman, horrified. The phrases that are used twice are as follows: I am (a/n): immigrant, fearless, uncategorized, fighter. You’re welcome.

The clothes are meant to complement the political messages. This collection of back-to-basics utility pieces is contemporary, classy, yet caustic. Wendy Nichol is angry about the way the world is and the direction in which it’s going.

Street style, desireable basics, and vintage wear will reign as top trends this fall and winter. In this unpredictable political climate, however, it’s becoming more fashionable to be an underdog.

 

 

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