(Images form Vogue and WWD)
You should be at times cynical, not as a sign of getting older, but as an acknowledgment in which one is always learning. Cynicism is to question. Never subscribe to populist leanings, particularly if you are of the creative mind, as it is prudent to steer away from the herd mentality. There is no safety in numbers, nor in its collectivism. Art and fashion must always stand on its own as a self respect to the individual, as it will be his or her efforts which push the boundaries. To stay clear of, or at least maintain an ambiguity, within the realms of politicization and at this point in time – a polarized world. That, in our ad hoc digital age of social ‘media’ dependency, the politicized and ‘outraged’ hashtag tediums, is by its accessible inundation an absurdity not a social ‘movement’. Thus it should be treated no more than a fleeting moment of pointlessness.
Despite Gareth Pugh dedicating his latest collection to “…women who accept zero bullshit.” It was various reviewers who have tried to attach his stalwart and tough representation of the female form, which is more aligned with the Femme Fatale dominatrix than bleeding hearts and current trial-by-media #tag movements, than populist causes in which he reportable denied any association. Let us, the viewers interpret the visualized sentiments and the styles for our own conclusions. As Pugh, who undoubtedly is one of the main driving forces within the Avant-garde criteria of aesthetics, has shown with his very unique vision of fashion and its melding of art and costume design. That has allowed him to hone and craft his skills since his first show in 2006, a dedicated work ethic of endurance and hardship which in turn pushes forward new aesthetics, a true testament to Pugh’s resilience as a fashion designer.
Gareth Pugh’s Fall Ready-To-Wear 2018 is a straight to the point homage of 1980s power suits (women), a raw and unabashed sex appeal with the exaggerated masculine orientated high shoulder pads, leopard skin patterns and pinstripes mixed with plunging neck lines. Futurist vamps, gothic and powerful. Protective vests as layers, sitting above suit pants, with what looks like a mock style of armor. Militarist aesthetics, which are becoming one of the main trends of 2018, does not have to ensure a rigidity. Rather it can be reworked and fused into stylized aspects of fashion, as a type of duality. The inflexibility of protective clothing over the natural flow of the feminine form. Pugh has set this dualistic array with his prior collections, as with this fall RTW 2018 collection it has a more determined movement, less restrained, with an overall sleekness to its representation.
She is battle hardened, smart and tough. Not a victim.
From an old Zen proverb or noted discussion between two monks, the senior and a junior. I have reworded and have been inspired to create my own representation of the apparent dialogue.
The Master sits next to me, unsure if he is my Master as much as I may not be the pupil. Forever learning, insight comes from wisdom. Earned with endurance, the rise and fall of life in its suffering and bliss. That pass within the now, never retained. To ponder with clear thoughts, I remark as we look upon the Void, as an infinite form. However I do not speak, but as we stare upon the majestic. The words are heard.
“One day, my son, all this will be yours.”
(Images from Vogue.com)
This is a shame, but not surprising, as Linder revealed a nicely set orientation (with its backlash as a rebellion against creeping left wing conservatism) with their Spring Summer 2018 collection, of which it was themed as a Femme Fatale sex appeal. An undeniable radiance of feminine desire and desirability, they achieved this within the context of the mentioned collection. In regards to their Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection, there has been a dynamic flipflop back to those confused, and excessive, wayward sensibilities which have gripped and now are plaguing New York Fashion week/s.
It has been reported via press releases that the creative designers Sam Linder and Kirk Miller who shared the single banner of Linder, have now split the brand in-two under the pretext of separate design ranges for men and women. Miller who will be the designer for menswear with Linder concentrating on female collections. A split in creative design aspects, breaking up two points of fashion within male and female markets under the same banner. Could indicate that the momentum of Linder is petering out. More so seen with this collection which has broken the chain of theme so dramatically, that a ninety degree turn could be a crash. You don’t chase markets, you create them. And as mentioned with my overview of New York Fashion Week, it would be fatal chasing the confused in all its sentimental polarization.
Linder’s Fall 2018 from its prescribed show notes, attempt to theme an occult or pagan representation with this collection, however, it aligns its self more with a theocratic, monotheistic or old testament ethos rather than an liberated aspect of the female goddess. The clothes are heavy ladened, stuffy and restrictive looking. Removing the female form, which as mentioned, holds more of a degree with mainstream religious beliefs. A dictum on how women should dress under religious law and interestingly described by the designer, Sam Linder, within the collection’s press release on how he wanted the clothing “…as not dressing for men.”
Unflattering cuts, from adhoc 1960s mid-drift styles, to complete head to toe coverings. With only one single piece (slip dress) which stood out, a sexy and slightly hemmed above the knees, with intricate folds, in a fiery yellow print. Possibly an indication for a Spring Summer array in coming months.
What do you get when you have last gasps of excess in faded increments of creativity, mixed with a slew of young designers whose sole intention is to backlash on fashion, with almost zero creativity?
Answer: New York Fashion Week.
A testament really to the utter confusion in which American society has enveloped its self in at the moment and of course it has spilled over globally. The excess, such as Philipp Plien’s tedium, won’t be reviewing, and Alexander Wang who not only treats his over rated collections as an inside joke, but also the crowds in attendance (from all reports) and media alike.
With other showings filled with a plethora of newer designers (also note mainland Chinese and Hong Kong designers, who are pouring out of the fashion and design schools in the US), the end result is rushed, ill fitted and sloppy collections.
As far as the backlash in fashion and what it entails, with its reliance on #hashtag tediums as a wayward diplomacy from both angles of the political spectrum (which will eventually become one in the same). Where terms like “equality” are now so watered down and deliberately portrayed as a surreal idealism, with all of its adolescent euphoria of ‘immortality‘. Which will eventually manifest into, despite its liberal perspectives, a backlash against its self. As it is that fear of the unknown. Which is death. A fear that stifles creativity and originality. To create, is to be humble. Not to be wasted.
Where at the end of the day, individuality mixed with true hard work and grit. Without appeasing to populist idealism and collectivism. But showing raw determination, if you are a young designer, which means you’ll have to endure as a long road of struggle. Then maybe a degree of merit will be worth discussing. Till that point.
There is nothing there.
My short story “Voids of the Elysium” available only on ebook format via Amazon.
Please refer to links from book sample re: purchase information.