The Spring 2016 collections just closed the fashion month with Paris Fashion Week which gave us to see some extraordinary settings, memorable moments and unique styles. All along this fashion season, we were surprised by each one of these collections, and whether in New York, Milan, London or Paris, designers have surpassed themselves. It was a very particular season, not only because of many new faces’ premieres but furthermore because of the trends they showed. We assisted to a new wave of hippie-bohemian looks with high-ends details while some minimalist pure silhouettes with new kinds of cuts and shapes walked the runway alongside color-blocks of bright summer shades. But we are not here to discuss these trends, let’s dig into designers’ visions of our current world and interpretations they propose.
It seems designers are embracing positiveness as a new definite trend. Happiness, joy of life is shown throughout bright colors, fine stripes that can be seen at Ralph Lauren, Armani, Dolce Gabbana etc… In general, they seem to be confident in the future, even though this might in fact hide some true disbelieves. These last years have been the battle field for many wars, violence and natural disasters. Today, while editors, buyers, street-style celebs and photographers were gathered all over the globe to discover what designers have prepared for them, soldiers were dying fighting against ISIS, migrants were left nearly dying to the European coasts with nothing behind them than war and death and climate change was each day causing new victims over the world. And designers have understood the fundamental mean of fashion: they created over and over again a dream, an illusion, raising funds like Donna Karan or Vivienne Westwood to help the poorest and the victims of nowadays’ though world. We have been the witnesses of extravagance at Moschino, exuberance through these huge massive settings like Chanel and we have accepted the weirdest shows like Rick Owens. Something is going on that has never happened before. Designers have decided to express their rough feelings through a non-commercial fashion that set as a primary goal to shock or to make a statement than to sell clothes. Prada, Margiela, Vuitton, many major superbrands themselves decided to fight a society corrupted by technology, preconceived ideas and non-openmindedness. Ghesquieres saw on the long term how our society would evolve, a world where technology rules us all and where those who walk against it will end up like this Louis Vuitton woman, outsiders from another world, fighters and wanderers, rejected explorers. Others have explored this societal critique with humor. Jeremy Scott is denouncing constant industrialization, destroying nature and creating wide cities with no end. We could interpret this show as a direct criticism of countries whose economies are booming, and which are using every part of their territory as a mean to expansion. One lesson we shall remember is that we must not forget our planet’s needs and we shall listen for what she expresses. At a time when the Paris Climate Conference will be held in Paris at the end of the year, designers have taken a step towards more environmental-friendly behaviors.
There is though hope throughout the collections. Designers have also been inspired by feelings, love stories and Jane Austen’s novels to create romantic, simple dresses, worn on flat shoes. Simplicity still remains the key to success, and let’s not forget that the 2008 crisis is not behind for many customers. In addition to these neo-romantic women, we have the boudoir dressing coming up, fine lace and lingerie mixed with pajama style. Women want to feel desirable, womanizing, captivating. And they will certainly if they wear some Balenciaga, Celine or Lanvin. Different schools of thoughts then emerge. There are the super-romantic idealistic artists who dream their world but don’t live it and those who are launching since several seasons already the streetstyle influence into clothes with performance ready-to-wear, their master being of course Alexander Wang for his eponymous label. The latter campaigns for a more democratic and accessible fashion. The industry has indeed some good students regarding humanitarian help. Alexander Wang for example militated for the DOSOMETHING campaign in favor of youth and social change. Something is definitely going on. Givenchy has been the first fashion house ever to invite the public to its show in New York. Democratic will or marketing tool? We would obviously tend for the second option but the Givenchy show was again one other proof to show support to the current global situation and stood against religious tensions, including in its show traditional songs from the four largest religions in the world.
This was a beautiful proof that there still is hope for the society to change, to open its mind and accept the other. Fashion designers stood up, stepped out from their usual attributed place to militate for a more equal, peaceful and accepting world. Beautiful statements, even if they set idealistic and simplistic points of views. But politicians should worry about these messages, as it has repeatedly been proved how fashion can predict future historical tendencies and events.