Thrashin’ Fashion: A Lover of Weirdos
by Laia Garcia
A soft blanket of romanticism fell over London this season. The city’s usual wild and crazy spirit gave way to silks hanging by thin straps, ruffles, and an abundance of florals. This romanticism was not without its edge (this is London, after all), but there was a palpable calmness on the runway. The rebel spirit borne out of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen’s influence lives on, but in a younger generation; I guess that’s the way that it should be.
Meadham Kirchhoff, the label favored by Tumblr girls, continues to proudly carry the #1 weirdo torch on the London scene. I say this as a compliment — what am I if not a lover of weirdos.
The designers put out a casting call on the internet for “non-traditional runway models” and chose Arvida Bystrom, one of the faces of the new internet feminist movement, to open and close the show. It was entirely appropriate. The collection featured wildly colored knit bodysuits and tights, designed for boys, girls, and non-boys and non-girls and everything in between), patent leather, oversized jackets, and artfully tattered tops falling off the body just so. The models looked like they had just spent an evening rummaging through the best thrift-shop ever, coming out dressed to be club kings and queens for a night.
The mish-mash on the runways might seem a little intense, but Meadham Kirchoff knows what they’re doing. Six months from now, when the clothes hit the store, a multicolored oversized David-Byrne-esque jacket might be the exact thing you need to throw on over your jeans as you head out the door; you’re going to be tired of being tied to society’s standards of size. Fuck your “too big” or “too small”, this one is just right for me, Goldilocks-style. Bonus points for their tampon tree.
At his namesake label, designer Ashish Gupta continued his exploration of putting sequins on everything. Sequins appeared on everything from leopard print sweatsuits to jeans, but it was his sweaters with the sequined likenesses of Miley Cyrus and Kimye, that are unequivocally the must-have pieces of the season. Possibly even the most emblematic pieces of the year 2014. Start saving up now.
Designer Yasuko Furuta is a designer shrouded in a bit of mystery. At Toga, her clothes are always steeped in “the classics”, but screwed and chopped until they become weird enough to warrant what we call “cult” status among the fashion cognoscenti.
This season, she turned out normcore (yeah, there’s that word again! I love normcore, #sorrynotsorry), making it both glamorous and, well, anti-normcore. Like a self-imploding normcore black hole. Long tan trenchcoats were wrapped with gold chiffon, and paired with high-waist denim trousers. Bunches of chiffon emanated from the armpits of tan turtlenecks, and patchworked dresses looked like they had been discovered after years of lying dormant in wooden trunks, slightly aged and all the more beautiful for it. The clothes seem like they might want to tell a story, if they could talk, but it’s better to guess than to know the truth. Their beauty cannot be denied.
The bold photo-prints Mary Katrantzou made her mark with can now be found pretty much everywhere. In the last few seasons, her collections have expanded beyond that, without losing her sense of color and surprise.
This season, she was inspired by the phenomenon known as Pangea (also known as: the favorite thing I learned in the third grade. The concept showed me what a wonder the planet we live on is). Her clothes evoked movement through pleated chiffons and swingy silhouettes, fitted loosely around the body, and there was a slight lingerie influence in the silhouettes that evoke another kind of movement (winky face emoji); a new development in the Katrantzou vocabulary, which was previously involved with sculptural fabrics like neoprene, patches and heavy embroidery. Dresses from previous seasons ave been able to stand on their own, literally, and travel in boxes — they are too heavy for hangers. Pieces featured strategically-placed fabric around the torso, surrounded by a sheer fabric that suggested the “nothing” in between. Their obviousness did not make them any less beautiful. Katrantzou remains one of my new favorite designers, and it seems like she’s only just getting started.
Simone Rocha has always imbued her clothes with a sense of drama. She is the reigning queen of the London romantics. In previous seasons, her inspirations veered towards the dark and macabre; for Spring/Summer 2015, there was an undeniable lightness and, dare I say it — optimism — in her clothes.
It wasn’t only her choice of an exuberant red floral fabric, but the fact that the flowers literally burst out of it; it was in the form of appliqués that delicately laid on sleeves, skirts, and the brogues that grounded her flights of fancy. Other shoes were surrounded by what looked like fur, making them appear to be actual little birds at the models’ feet.
Like other London collections, sheer fabrics abounded, made into trenchcoats, veils, and of course, sinuously sexy tight-fitting dresses. Rocha has never been one to create masculine clothes, but this collection feels especially celebratory of womanhood. Her magic lies in the fact that no matter how delicate her dresses may be, the woman who wears them is never weak. There is strength and bravery in showing the world your true self, in wearing your heart on your sleeve. Simone Rocha and, surely, the women lucky enough to wear her clothes, delight in this dichotomy.
But then again, there’s no room for wallflowers at the London scene. Whether you’re a romantic or a wild child, just make sure you’re turned up to eleven.
Laia Garcia is a writer and stylist based in Brooklyn. One time, Chris Kraus made her cry.