Helmut Lang NYFW SPRING 2020 READY-TO-WEAR

Helmut Lang NYFW SPRING 2020 READY-TO-WEAR

Not far from where Mark Thomas and Thomas Cawson staged their second runway show for Helmut Lang the brand today, an exhibition of Helmut Lang the man’s latest artwork was opening. Lang walked away from his company 15 years ago, and in the interim, it’s gone through its fair share of incarnations. Perhaps because of the significant amount of time that’s passed or maybe because of the recent success of the reissue concept, Thomas and Cawson are taking a very faithful approach to their reimagining of this famous label.

The reissue is a divisive concept. On the one hand, it’s a clever way to address youthful FOMO, on the other, it’s a design cop-out that doesn’t push the conversation forward. The pros see smart money and the cons insist fashion must reflect the present situation or it risks becoming costume. As with so many things, there’s a generational divide. The olds raise an eyebrow, but the youngs turn up in droves. Today, Jeremy O. Harris, Maisie Williams and her new boyfriend Reuben Selby, Charlie Plummer, Lucky Blue Smith, Selah Marley, and Paloma Elsesser all sat in the front row.

Millennials, it would seem, are the target customers. But in fact, what Thomas and Cawson are up to looks good enough that the Helmut faithful might be intrigued. Absent a few dresses that read too sweet, this was an accurate accounting of Lang’s signatures: the minimal tailoring, the utilitarian parkas, the sheer elements, the chromed leather, the touch of latex kink, the denim shapes. Reproducing the electricity of anticipation that used to course through Lang’s show spaces is a much harder trick to pull off. And it’s probably not fair to ask it of Thomas and Cawson. Lang was an original.

Source: VogueRunway

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Elie Tahari NYFW SPRING 2020 READY-TO-WEAR

Inspired by the vibes of 1970s Soho, Elie Tahari’s collection at NYFW September 2019 emits an electric energy that melds the industrial and creative worlds into one. As an ode to The City That Never Sleeps, textures and patterns evoke a vibe that contrasts urban with artistic, lighting the stage with a vibrancy that can only be described as “New York.”

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Alyx Spring 2020 Men's and Women's Collection

Matthew Williams of 1017 Alyx 9SM (his brand’s full name) didn’t seem to attach much meaning to his venue—a stunning, modernized bank building—yet two words projected loud and clear: big and business. This is what Alyx is fast becoming and what the combined men’s and women’s collections encapsulated with their assertive silhouettes and high-fashion positioning.

As the penultimate show of a strong week, Alyx was something to behold, arousing the glory days of Thierry Mugler in the 1980s while attracting the next-generation crowd that has brought incontrovertible energy back to Paris. For now, at least, Williams is committing to a more formal form of urban than his peers. For him, tailoring is not just an outward statement, but an inward reflection of mastery. “Tailoring is a really difficult thing to do as a young brand,” he said. “Some of the construction we’re attempting to do is trying to find our own language. I think it’s a nice challenge to define what that is for us.”

Arguably, his challenge is how to achieve that difference without appearing over-designed. From past visits with him, before he switched to a show format, he revealed his process as methodical, almost obsessional for the way he will privilege one detail over another. Chances are, he vetoed at least a dozen chains before landing on the one that repeats as a parabolic flourish on several of these looks. Other details—elongating panels, zippered knees, hammered hardware, sculpted heels—were fine-tuned in order to be fully integrated, not gratuitous. Elsewhere, outdoorsy pieces that harked back to earlier collections blended in while the draped dresses towards the end remained slightly unresolved.

But that’s just surface stuff; anyone who read the accompanying notes would have learned about the metal hardware sourced from a sustainable factory, the near-waterless leather-dyeing process, the three-dimensional printed seams and myriad more examples of innovation adding functional and psychological value to the clothes. Or, as stated in this succinct yet thorough document, “We engage with systems, scales, and soul.”

Williams, for his part, also suggested the designs gain dimension from those wearing them. “Our casting is a real mixture of models and friends and family—those people’s energy really brings out the clothes.” See Model 54, aka his wife Jennifer, who wore a croc-embossed jacket (the treatment of the season) and a corresponding translucent skirt. Enough of the guests knew her that cheers echoed through the space as though she were an international celebrity. It was a telling moment. Alyx, now acting all grown up, remains as independent and in-the-know as always.

Source: VOGUE RUNWAY

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Off-White Spring 2020 Menswear

Off-White-Menswear-S2020

The opening look and most of the closing, women’s included, at this Off-White show were made in collaboration with the New York artist Futura—aka Lenny McGurr. His vivid spray strokes and sleekly alien Pointman figure were incorporated as print or jacquard into suiting, soft trenches, cycling vests, denim, a blanket, and evening dresses. As Virgil Abloh sketched it in his long sentences backstage: “In his lifetime, and in the culture that we come from, which is a segment of hip-hop and graffiti, [his work] started out being seen as a form of vandalism, not art. . . . But as well as painting on the side of subway trains, he was part of the scene and showed with Basquiat and Keith Haring. . . . . He was on what was once thought of as the fringe. . . . but now, through time, we can see that the beauty of Basquiat is also the beauty of Lenny, Futura.”

That transition from the counterculture—the fringe—to become both the subject of establishment acclaim and an agent of change within the establishment mirrors Abloh’s own path: In the 10 years since he was photographed by Tommy Ton with Kanye West and crew outside Comme des Garçons, Abloh has completed the full loop. But reflecting on the longer span of Futura’s journey—combined with his own recent project curating his past body of work for the “Figures of Speech” exhibition in Chicago—has made Abloh consider a bigger picture. “When I make things, I look at it on a scale of 30 years. What gives the esteem and the energy . . . I know the work has to mean something now, but I’m also thinking about what it means when you zoom out.”

There was certainly a sense of space in time in some of this collection. Its span of reference was broad but as legibly interconnected as the branding on the new Nike Dunk, codesigned with Futura, that made its debut on Abloh’s carnation-field runway. The chain-link fence pattern on bags, jackets, and a semitransparent poncho played nicely against the densely hand-knit sweaters that bore patches declaring membership in the “Off-White climbing club.”

Climbing was not only this collection’s second big theme—reflected in the drawstrings worked into suiting, the technical luggage, and the nylon patched knit faux fleeces—but it was also part of the broader metaphor at play. A sky blue suede trench with detachable front pockets, a double-layered floral-print down jacket and shorts, a chain-link knit off-white shirt and shorts, plus the recut denim template workwear in washed and treated technical fabrics were all highly polished and finished pieces. Conversely, the tie-dyed cargo pants (sometimes crystal set) and denim, the bandana-patched T-shirts, those dense knit sweaters, and bleached flannel shirting were all designed to appear roughened and weathered.

In a piece of tape played before the show, Bjork spoke about the “spaced-outness” of perspective, nurtured through the landscape of Iceland, that helped her learn songwriting. Abloh seems to be in search of a similar panoramic point of view—an apex position—and the topography of the clothes he is producing as he makes that ascent is benefiting from it.

Source: VOGUE

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