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Wednesday, May 1st 2019

7:29 PM

Beyond Complicated

I t is good to be back and wonderful to see you reading this blog again. The Fall Winter 2019 season has been fascinating to say the least, with one of the reasons for making such a claim lying in the observing of regional differences as far as how fashion expresses itself. Really, one has to take notes on two fronts; one being the unfolding of current events and the other being the full immersion of the collection seasons during the cluster of fashion weeks that effectively become more of a fashion month. Within each region of the world there is a perspective of what is around ourselves and how we feel interacting with what we perceive, both the interpretation of our environment and our role within it. Fashion becomes the translator, converting these feelings into shapes, textures and colours that we identify with. Those who have been following from the onset know that this has been broken down here before. A few times, actually. This is the process that links observation with creativity, and those who are more attuned to the symbols we choose become successful translators, and thus more popular designers.

In the last article, we noticed a few things happening, such as the increase in clothes becoming more flowing and sloping on the body versus being stiff and reinforced, strong shoulders and all. Both looks are still here. After all, the world doesn't always share the same base notes of sentiment. In some areas the strength of defensiveness remains and in those regions the roomy structured shoulder-padded garment thrives; previous articles have explained the reason for this recurrence (a good reason for being both a subscriber and a consistent reader!). In others, the resignation of how things are lies in the increase of this languid expression of lack of shoulder reinforcement and unstructured design, much as in the early 90s when the world came to accept the inevitable state as the economy faced a downturn while seeing nuclear threats dissolve due to the Cold War ending. While the US charged fearlessly into the Middle East amidst this, it wasn't seen as immediately apocalyptic versus when the Cold War tensions reached a crescendo. That is, it did trigger some religious-connected concerns but without major players holding nuclear arsenals participating, the impact on the collective psyche did not translate the way that matters did in the mid to late 80s. Defensiveness wasn't necessary, and the shoulder pads became passe.

Another aspect is transparency. In the last article before Fall Winter 2019 came forth, it was noted that the transparency had pretty much vanished. This was reflected in the media as more and more opinions shared a collective resignation that the truth was no longer present in politics, world affairs, and even the reporting of such. Why, our whole social media culture seemed to celebrate a fascination for everything fake. The USA in particular has both captured the lion's share of attention with morbid fascination while unfortunately influencing imitation, emboldening less desirable political change to progress via shameless mimicry, giving rise to more right-leaning leadership while fueling xenophobia and intolerance. With recent revelations coming from releases of investigative processes (for the USA, this would be the Mueller investigation) as well as more thorough pattern revelations in journalistic reporting, hope has returned to a degree, and more transparency came back, as was seen in some collections.

It should be noted that different parts of the world hold different sentiments depending on the proximity to threatening action in relation to triggering past memories of fear. This is why certain collections bring back certain expressions; our allowance for a larger vocabulary supported by the trends of originality over the last few years allow for various voices. However, there are new, more sophisticated commonalities that connect with the larger perspective. One of these is a growing understanding in how nothing in our world is simple. To understand ourselves is to understand that we are more than what we appear. Our depth has layers, and they are not always uniform.

There are two interesting approaches that the world has been immersing itself in. One is the attempt to understand our collective behaviour and its role in the world. The drama of the USA and how it emboldens other political initiatives across the globe has given to collective soul-searching. Articles abound where our self-consciousness seeks understanding on our motivations and the directions these lead to. This ranges from behavioural interaction (views on race, class and sexuality in comparison and contrast to individual and collective beliefs) to world activity introspection (how personal attitudes become political shifts). It's no longer important to note that things are happening as much as to try to understand how and why, and to achieve this requires addressing the deeper questions.

The other is to see how this relates to our past. By examining past patterns, we seek to avoid repetition of our failures, but it requires uncovering darker truths as well as cold observation of our surrounding environment. In various platforms such as Quora and Reddit (as well as in more local media platforms supporting local interaction), these conversations have been on the increase, and more and more media stories are taking on an almost anthropological approach in examining various aspects of culture and events. Foreign intervention into election processes, particularly in USA and now Canada, have driven a reaction of further local discussion to get to the truth. Part of that truth is in determining what we ourselves actually feel versus the perspectives that trolls attempt to shift opinions towards. Again, this solicits a deeper introspection form the individual that media and events did not before require the public to do.

Through all this we have increased discussion on trying to disarm the damage that trolling has done, especially as the results involve supporting regressive populist views that encourage hate and isolation. The work is ongoing and far from complete, but the dialogue is happening, and that sentiment informs the perceptive creative voice. This find itself translated into more complex design aspects such as intricate cuts in intriguing layering and in artfully proportional cuts. The former can be seen in collections by Antonio Grimaldi (here), Bed j.w. Ford (here), Chanel (here), Dior (here), Facetasm (here), Maria Aristidou (here) and Y Project (here), and from younger labels such as Oriane Tonnerre (here) and Supramorphous (here). The latter, meanwhile, can be seen in collections from A Cold Wall (here and here), Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood (here), Dion Lee (here), Mowalola for Fashion East (here), Ralph & Russo (here), and from younger labels such as Jean Claude Court (here), Karl Friedrich Hieronymus (here), Marta Jakubowski (here), again Oriane Tonnerre (here) and Peter Do (here).

As you can see, these skillfully wrought assemblies are not your average design executions. Much like our introspection and the many factors involved that such undertaking uncovers, the design process reflects the complexity that we face as we, armed to the gills with more information than one can humanly digest, becomes the norm every time we decide to swipe our devices we habitually turn to. Technology, more than a tool, has become an extension of our consciousness. Fashion heartily reminds us of that with every jacket, pant and blouse.

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