Kim Jones, roller derby and haute couture debuts: whats in fashion? – i-D

When we entered this dreary month, whod have thunk that it would turn out to be so damn CHIC! Ok, well, many aspects of it that have been quite the opposite, but thats not what youve come here to read about, is it? Just as this dispatch is your weekly respite from the morose headlines elsewhere, fashion over the past seven days has been all about fantasy and escape. Weve seen a flurry of SS21 haute couture collections, with blockbuster debuts and of dazzling turns from the proudest names in sky-high dressmaking, not to mention a fresh crop of spritely spring campaigns! There is some joy in the world, after all. Anyway, lets get on with it: heres whats in fashion this week.

Courtesy of Schiaparelli

Haute couture: its a term loaded with connotations of glamour, excess and fantasy -- of fashion with a capital F. Well, lucky for you, this week was packed to the rafters with it. There were, of course, the expectedly dazzling turns of the categorys doyennes -- Chanels garage-soundtracked gala and Schiaparellis muscular vision of contemporary glamour; Valentinos schooling in pared-back poise and Diors opulent, historical exploration of tarot. But some of the most anticipated moments of the week came in the form of newcomers to the schedule, like Alber Elbazs emancipatory new label AZ Factory, NYC favourites Area and Sterling Rubys S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., with its breezy West Coast take on the coded Parisian mtier. And there was another one, wasnt there? Ah, thats right MS

Courtesy of Fendi

By now, there is no doubt you will have seen it. Demi! Kate! Lila! Christy! An antique-filled crystal maze in the shape of Fendis monogram! On Wednesday, Kim Jones picked up from the illustrious 54-year tenure of the late Karl Lagerfeld (fun fact: their birthdays are a day apart) and made his haute couture debut for Fendi with a starry show dedicated to Virginia Woolfs 1928 novel Orlando. To celebrate Kims first-ever womenswear collection, we compiled an extensive oral history of Kims career and impact on fashion, which you can read here. As for the show, the key takeaway was gowns, gowns, and more gowns. No expense was spared in the ornate embellishments and sumptuously draped silhouettes. If its a taste to whats in store for Kims vision of Fendi, then we can only hope to expect a return of OPULENCE to Italian fashion. Thats right: Kim clap owns clap everything! OA

Courtesy of Chopova Lowena

Emma Chopova and Laura Lowenas eponymous label is one of the most exciting features on Londons fashion landscape today -- but you already know that, dont you? If so, you know that their seasonal campaigns are key contributing factors to the buzz, the result of a longstanding collaboration with photographer Charlotte Wales, stylist Agata Belcen and art director Jamie Reid. Each season, a different high-octane sport becomes the prism to view their eclectic mle of subcultural references, vintage sportswear motifs and artisanal making methods through: equestrian vaulting for AW19, a skydiving Lily McMenamy for SS20, and now for SS21, have entered the roller rink. Replete with bloodied faces and bodies blurred from moving at break-neck speed, this latest campaign offers a modern observation of traditional dress incorporating elements of western mainstream clothing, which the addition of roller derbys athletic attire emphasises throughout our SS21 collection, the labels founding duo say. Starring dancers and choreographers Holly Blakey, Becky Namgauds and Nandi Bhebhe, the uncompromisingly fierce images highlight the vigour and beauty of their athleticism and [show] a reverence for female-powered sport. Get your skates on! Well see you in the rink when this is all over. MS

Back in September, Salvatore Ferragamo was one of the few brands to stage a physical show at Milan Fashion Week. It opened with a Hitchcock-inspired film made by Luca Guadagnino and Ferragamos British creative director Paul Andrew, shot in a desolated Milan, with a cast of Anok Yai, Mariacarla Boscono, Maggie Cheng and Jonas Gler all neurotically on edge as they teeter down empty streets and corridors, constantly looking over their leather-clad shoulders, clutching their enormous nappa handbags for protection, intensely peering through the tinted rectangular lenses of their Ferragamo sunglasses. Now, the film is frozen in time in the Italian brands SS21 campaign, which sees Luca swap his film camera for a, err, photo one. Usually when producing a campaign for Ferragamo, I start with the images and then video content to accompany it, explains Paul. The process of selecting the stills from a moving image was so fascinating, I can relate it to that of pulling apart vintage garments or shoes, discovering secret beauties that perhaps would have gone otherwise unnoticed when looking at the original product as a whole. All the more reason to revisit the original show and movie, which can you find here. OA

via Instagram (@telfarglobal)

Fashions waters have been especially choppy over the last year, with many independent labels struggling to ride the waves. And then there was Telfar. By engaging in carefully-considered collaborations and shifting its focus to the production of a now-ubiquitous it-bag -- AKA the Bushwick Birkin -- the New York label has scaled dizzying in such precarious times. A crucial part of its success has been that it has always existed outside of fashions institutional frameworks, operating entirely on its own terms. In recent years, major institutions have been falling over themselves to applaud the label, the latest being Londons Design Museum. This week, the museum awarded Telfar its Fashion Design of 2020 award for its vegan leather tote, seen everywhere from the streets of Chattanooga to the crook of AOCs arm. In an era where true luxury is having a functioning health and social security system, I think their slogan Not for you, for everyone rings very true, Emily King, guest curator at the Design Museum, says. Deserved a win as it may be, securing the bag through one of the brands regular drops aint gonna get any easier in 2021! MS

Tucked away in Loewes Show in a Book a celebration of the work of legendary queer artist Joe Brainard was a Show on a Shirt. A white t-shirt was printed with a collage of every look from the new Eye/Loewe/Nature collection, modelled by French and Spanish actors Stphane Bak and Omar Ayuso. Layered up in bright sportswear and utilitarian clothes, it couldnt be further apart from Jonathan Andersons AW21 menswear collection for Loewe, which was all about sartorial subcultural motifs. This is really a think tank project about recycling and sustainability for us, as a company, explained Jonathan. We now show them both at once, but it is a collection in itself. 25 per cent of it is upcycled, and by following products from start to finish we can monitor it and learn from it and implement it across the company. Eco-friendly and wardrobe-friendly. What more could we ask for? OA

Courtesy of Kenzo

Travel remember that? Well, for those of us who barely do, Kenzos latest campaign will do a good job of jogging your memory. Building on the distance photography concept that Felipe Oliveira Baptista first developed with photographer Glen Luchford and stylist Jane How last season, Kenzos SS21 campaign transports us or models wearing Felipes sophomore beekeeping-inspired collection, anyway from LA to Havana, New York to Marrakech. Things as they currently are, though, the models werent afforded the luxury of a getaway either. The emotionally stirring landscapes and cityscapes you see are, in fact, images that Felipe selected from Glens archives. Models were then shot under similar lighting conditions and transposed into the dreamy vistas. I think it is a nice representation of a cultural dimension, Felipe says, and a good message of escape in a time where we cannot travel. Well, if our only travel plans right now are from our sofa all the way to our fridges, images like these are the ultimate escapism. MS

Nothing says self-love like a Christopher Kane vibrator. Yes, really. This week, the Scottish designer unveiled his latest More Joy collection just in time to place your orders for Valentines Day. Forget flowers and chocolates and just do it: delete Hinge. Dates are off the cards for the foreseeable, and even the most loved-up couple are having homicidal thoughts. But romance neednt be pronounced dead just yet. In this rather gloomy year, we could all do with a bit more, well, joy. And it doesnt get more joyful than a truly self-indulgent night in with yourself, amiright? 😉 OA

Courtesy of KARA

Fashion campaigns typically exist to visually translate a mood and concept dreamed up by a creative director at the top of a labels pyramid, but for a couple of seasons now, New York based accessories brand KARA has been bucking that trend with its You Be You campaigns. Committed to placing full creative agency in the hands of the creatives it casts, visionary young women such as Agusta Yr, John Yuyi and Gala Prudent. Each of them have put their own spin on the KARAs whatever-you-want-it-to-be world. For their latest campaign, the labels founder Sarah Law worked with stylist Monica Kim to spotlight non-traditional relationships and identities in the Korean communities, working with tattoo artists, LGBTQ+ advocates and artists. Across three shoots, they cover everything from diamante glitz to campy 70s sci-fi, with each image serving as a testament to the out-of-the-box plurality at the heart of the brand. MS

Haute couture is arguably one of the most human art forms, exquisite clothes made entirely by skilled white-gloved petites mains (little hands in English). Yves Saint Laurent once described it as the secrets whispered down from generation to generation, so shrouded in secrecy is its ritualistic techniques and processes. This week, Valentinos Pierpaolo Piccioli staged his first genderless couture show in Rome, which you can read all about in our review. But beyond the intricate latticework structures and glittering gold faces, there was an interesting component at play. Pierpaolo enlisted British artist Robert de Naja (AKA Massive Attacks 3D) to not only soundtrack the show Massive Attacks Ritual Spirit, of course but to create a film about the making of Valentinos couture, filmed over a three-month period and centring on the idea of teaching an artificial intelligence the process and making fashions highest form. The result is a time-lapsed video that has all the relaxing rhythmic patter of ASMR. But if it illustrates anything, its that robots wont be replacing petites mains any time soon. Vive la couture! OA

Another blockbuster debut, another blockbuster first campaign, as the old adage goes. Following on from the philosophical musings of Raf and Miuccias Prada SS21 image series, the spotlight was, naturally, always going to fall on Matthew Williams and his first official campaign for Givenchy. Rising to the challenge, he enlisted Heji Shin to shoot the tight-knit community of friends and artists that Matthew has placed at the heart of his nascent tenure at the Parisian couture house, including Bella Hadid, Playboi Carti and Anok Yai. Shot against a background chosen to express each of their individual personalities, the resulting campaign occupies the perfect middle ground between nostalgia and modernity, refinement and ease. To me, fashion expresses a point of view where formality and informality, construction and comfort co-exist. My ethos is about the luxury of infusing clothes with your own personality, not being worn by them, Matthew says. In each of these portraits, a strong character wears a look that reflects who they are: theyre the ones who bring the clothes to life. MS

Courtesy of Carharrt

Carhartt WIP and Converse are American fashion icons in their own right, the only thing more iconic than either being their ongoing collaboration. The two brands first paired up for SS19, when Carhartt WIPs rugged workwear-focussed aesthetic was translated to Converses iconic hi-top Chuck 70 silhouette. Now, for SS21 -- the latest chapter in their partnership -- theyve pushed their exploration of each others heritages further, giving us two Chuck 70 makeovers in Carhartt WIPs best-loved fabrics -- a hardy canvas in a woodland camouflage print, and another in the labels iconic Hamilton Brown. Breezy, versatile footwear at its finest. Check it out here. MS

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Kim Jones, roller derby and haute couture debuts: whats in fashion? - i-D

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