Monday, 18 June 2018

msgm spring 2019 menswear review and why i'm bored of streetwear fashion

MSGM plays it safe again with streetwear, sneakers and skater looks.

What should have been the death knell for ugly trainers came earlier this week. The release of Margiela’s “Fusion sneakers” garnered mixed reactions. Most questioned why anyone would want to spend a fortune on trainers that look like they have been rolled around in dirt, paint, and glue. MSGM’s Spring 2019 menswear collection featured chunky trainers in every look. Whilst they were at least clean, they scored no points for originality. Ugly footwear has spent months stomping down both male and female catwalks already. 

An enormous number of recent collections have been influenced by streetwear: an overused term for the influx of athleisurewear produced by hype brands. MSGM’s recent collection is streetwear as a narrow definition for athletic jackets, tracksuits, and oversized jumpers.

The problem with streetwear in fashion at the moment is not just its overuse. It relies on brands that live off hype alone. Perhaps I am hungover from the recent McQueen documentary, but I want high fashion to be more theatrical. All streetwear does on the runway is appropriate and homogenise, like mainstream fashion’s adoption of punk did before. Margiela's trainers are a perfect example. Zoolander's 'Derelicte' collection was satire, but it is coming close to reality.

Opening with a two-tone denim jumpsuit, MSGM's collection became less daring as the show progressed. Yet there were highlights: denim utility toughens up the collection- though unfortunately only appears in two looks; fruit print shirts add a romantic touch; layering saves tank tops from being insufferable; summer holiday florals make for a ‘cool dad on holiday’ vibe. 

Massimo Giorgetti’s idiosyncratic use of bright colours brings playful hues of pink and yellow down the runway. A lemon print jacket is a more versatile statement item than some of the sportier pieces, and an orange and papaya print shirt evokes Call Me By Your Name-esque summers spent in southern Europe.

Bold prints and colours abound, straddling sportswear and beachwear with MSGM lettering and palm tree prints. It is a sellable, wearable collection first and foremost. Whether you love it or hate it- or are just bored of it- streetwear doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon. MSGM freshens it up at times but ultimately falls short. A handful of cool outfits don't make the collection memorable. To quote Giorgetti himself, it's time for "less street, more chic." 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

a time to reflect: fashion, creativity and being a teenage blogger

Three months ago, this blog turned 7. Three weeks ago, I finished uni. I haven't yet taken much time to reflect on either.

I often dismiss the work on this blog. Fashion blogging isn't really a thing anymore. We've all moved on to Instagram. The Tavi Gevinson generation of bloggers has dispersed into whatever new projects they are working on. My blog posts have become sporadic and often they stagnate altogether.

Yet this blog and I have grown up together. It's hard to think of it as my baby when I was practically a baby when I started it. I have played with the idea of deleting all my teenage posts or starting anew altogether, but then I would be betraying my adolescent self, and Morrissey has already betrayed teenage me so badly that I don't think she could take much more betrayal right now.

Fashion is about capturing a moment in time.

Fashion, like other arts and culture, captures a moment in time. It allows us to guess an era from a photograph. Style today traverses time, taking inspiration from a plethora of trends from previous decades. Fashion moments are no longer just about the clothes we wear.

The old posts on this blog captured a moment in time. They did not rock the fashion world, but they were part of a larger movement. Polyvore sets are now missing and the writing is juvenile, but those early posts were fuelled by a one-track minded determination and inspiration that I can only dream of now. I have written extensively about the importance of adolescence; the importance of forever. My forever was informed by Tavi, Rookie and the blogs they spawned. Before that, blogs like Susie Bubble and Man Repeller, when both were on a much smaller scale than they are now.  

On Wednesday I got offered a place on the Central Saint Martins’ MA Fashion Journalism programme. We talked about my blog in the interview, which made me realise how much I owe to my 13-year-old self. Before I started submitting my writing elsewhere, it was this blog that sustained my interests. 

Fashion is always thinking about the future.

Nostalgia is everywhere in fashion. It overflows from retrospectives and vintage-inspired collections. Yet, there is never time to wallow in sentimentality. The industry moves too quickly to press pause.

I have always been nostalgic, sentimental, romantic. I long for lives I have never lived. Fashion lets you try on these lives. Perhaps that is why I am drawn to it. When I think about romance in fashion, I think of Grace Coddington standing at Versailles in The September Issue. Looking out across the gardens, she says, “I think I got left behind somewhere, because, you know, I’m still a romantic.”

There is a risk of getting left behind if you dwell on the past too much. There can be something radical and envigorating about deleting everything and starting anew. Killing your old self. Selling all your clothes. Deleting all your social media posts. I am embarking on a 30-day minimalism challenge this summer. However, the one thing I refuse to get rid of is old writing. 

I used to have grandiose notions about my old journal entries being published one day. Now, I would die of embarrassment if this happened. From a more practical perspective, I can at least look at old pieces and see the progression in my writing. We are often too quick to want to reinvent ourselves. The current version of ourselves is never enough. The past versions might as well be the most humiliating people to have ever lived. 

One day we will be embarrassed by our current selves as well. But what's the point in creating at all if we are already thinking about how we will hate our creation in the future? It's a question as old as art itself.

I started this blog because I needed to. It became an outlet to discuss things that no one wanted to talk about school. Blogging probably taught me as much as school did. It has often required an equal amount of research, work and (self)education.

Blogging walks the line between personal and professional. 

Some posts read like parts of a portfolio and others, like this one, are more like diary entries. The freedom of blogging is that both can exist in the same place. I used to write letters to my future self and hide them away in my wardrobe until it was time to open them. This blog is like a letter from my past self to my current and future selves.

This is predominantly a fashion blog. I am starting a course in fashion journalism, but fashion is not the only thing I want to write about. Yet, whether I am writing about a new trend, mental health, or being a teenage fangirl (a post I planned on my phone on my way to school in Year 12), every piece tells a story about that time in my life. It might be a very public documentation, but everyone's lives are documented publicly now.

I am glad that I have more than a few blurry Instagram photos to capture my early teen years. The risk of embarrassment is worth it. 

Friday, 30 March 2018

time for transparency: see-through accessories and social media

Valentino Spring/Summer 2018

This season long plastic coats have shrugged off their Patrick Bateman associations. 

Raf Simons declared slasher movies stylish in his Spring collection for Calvin Klein and transparent coats are in. It’s not just coats either. This spring the contents of our bags are as much of a fashion statement as the bags themselves. Social media has made private interests largely a thing of the past. We want people to get a glimpse into our lives, or at least the picturesque version we choose to share. This is why the transparency trend has come at the right time. It comes with the realisation that style and self-expression are not just about clothes. We build our identities around the beauty products we use, the books and magazines we read and the food we buy; all of which can be seen through a transparent bag. With the rise of online media, print publications have moved from necessities to accessories and fashion magazines are the perfect way to accessorise a see-through bag. Gone are the cluttered oversized bags of the noughties. This trend requires minimalism and organisation. Now you must be selective about what you take out with you.

Chanel Spring/Summer 2018

However, transparent pieces themselves do not have to be minimalist. Take notes from Valentino’s Spring 2018 collection and go for sheer, shiny pieces to add an ethereal touch. For a more daring take on the trend, try Chanel’s thigh-high transparent boots. Pair with coloured tights and a rainy day. If you’re feeling extra, swap your reusable supermarket bags for a Burberry alternative. As winter draws to a close it’s nearly time to show off our outfits without hiding them beneath heavy coats. See-through coats offer the perfect transition from winter to spring; offering warmth, but also revealing the clothes worn underneath.

Burberry Spring/Summer 2018

We can only hope for rain so that we have the opportunity to try out this trend. Avoid mud, however and try to keep transparent pieces clean, but if they do get dirty, wash them with vinegar and baking soda for a shiny finish. In the age of social media, trends must be Instagram-worthy, and this trend allows you to show what you are wearing, what you are reading and what you have purchased all in one picture. So, for the first time, we might actually be praying for April showers.