There are five collections ranging from the Spring/Summer 2008 to Spring/Summer 2010 seasons that I can’t get off my mind. This isn’t a recent advance or some twisted testament to the regressive nature of my style–I’ve loved each independent collection since I first saw them own their respective runways. But over ten fashion seasons later, it’s high time I ask myself (and fortunately or unfortunately, you, too) why I’m still not over them.
Initially, I had two hypotheses. On the one hand, I wondered (but not in the way Carrie Bradshaw wondered) if I was so drawn to the collections because they all clock in from the last few seasons that I was still “an outsider.” I used to look at the shows through whatever lens Style.com would allow me with big bright eyes, the way a young boy might look at his cool older brother who’s in high school and wonder when he will experience the zenith of his existence, too.
On the other hand, I humbly asked myself if fashion has actually reached a strange, post-postmodern peak. Are these the collections that inform the last time fashion felt fresh? (I can probably take this a step further and blame the internet on the banality of current trends which are essentially the above photographed trends recycled ad nauseaum.)
Last week, I critically looked at the collections and tried to uncover precisely what it was I loved about them. In combining the pieces that struck most prevalent chords from the respective shows and then looking at them as a collective, I thought I might recognize patterns, or similarities, or whatever additional clues the garments could have been unconsciously informing about the way in which I consume fashion.
But I learned it’s not that unilateral. The commonality that I could note hasn’t informed just the way I consume fashion, it’s informed the way fashion consumes fashion. These collections were all, in their own subversive ways, trend benchmarks that are still percolating through our style psyches.
Take those highbrow, surf inspired, tie dye Proenza Schouler looks. Sure, everyone was doing dresses and people were certainly doing cut-outs but were they melding worlds so perversely different from one another to infuse these unique elements. Conversely, I have to wonder if Phillip Lim subconsciously suggested that I wear denim on denim–with an additional coat over my shoulders but not through my arms–from the getgo. I need not explain my infatuation with the Versus dresses, which seem so appropriate right now given the imminent Punk inspired Met Gala and as for that Alexander Wang. No one (short, of course, of Galliano and Gaultier) was doing a contemporary motorcycle jacket that high fashion at a seemingly attainable price point. It seems like right there stood the re-birth of fashion’s most modern iteration of the tomboy. And–don’t shoot me–I still think about that mesh bodycon dress sometimes.
Per that Balenciaga collection–the watercolor florals, the strong silhouettes, the shoulders, the lace-up boots. It’s bereaved admiration I feel when I look at Ghesquiere’s work. So is that it? Have we reached a standstill? Or to swing this pendulum way, way, way around, is this just a hard case of nostalgia that is reflectively forcing me to see and subsequently feel something far greater than I had in the moment? Let’s ruminate.
Runway images from Vogue.com