I’ve been thinking a lot about the designers who truly matter — the ones who veritably change the way that we want to dress. There was Alexander Wang, who in 2007 created a new space between luxury and contemporary, commoditizing and then selling an entity that was previously never up for purchase: cool. His foray into leatherwear — as motorcycle jackets and pants — informed a moment that still runs deep through the veins of consumerism. The shape of contemporary fashion changed. No longer did flouncy floral mini dresses reign supreme. We became the cool kids, no matter how dorky we are — extolling the virtue of false edge because everyone knows that fake edge is better than no edge at all.
Recently, Rosie Assoulin has started to do something similar with her larger-than-life shapes that are becoming not the exception, but the rule, to dressing for the nuances of living. If normcore dominated the year 2014, glamcore is shaping the way we will discuss 2015. This is in large part due to designers like Assoulin, protégé to some of the fanciful greats like the late Oscar de la Renta and Alber Elbaz. Of course, designers have been experimenting with shapes that read delightfully extravagant for years, but only after Assoulin’s launch has this sense of exaggeration begun to feel approachable, manageable and ultimately achievable.
Smack between the Wangs and Assoulins of fashion, there is a camp heralded by Phoebe Philo. She has indubitably changed how we approach high fashion. When her contemporaries were still slapping bombastic logos onto everything, Philo sauntered into the house of Céline hoping to build a sustainable wardrobe for women, redefine power dressing and shift the perception of that which constitutes sexy.
Similarly to Assoulin, she makes clothes for women who aim to feel understood and live their lives. There’s a difference between the two, though, because where a Rosie Assoulin garment shouts, even if it doesn’t mean to, Céline has mastered the art of whispering. Her clothes are not wears-of-many-words, but when they speak, you listen. You can compare her to Marc Jacobs in that she gives us what we don’t yet know we want. In fact, she takes this a step further and provides what we think we definitely don’t want and then makes it lucrative.
Her most recent unveiling of Pre-Fall 2015 is a proof of this concept.
There are the classic silhouettes: the broad shoulders and wide-leg, slouchy pants. The bell sleeves and coats and culottes and mermaid skirts. Then there are the new shapes: the triad of skimpy, off-the-shoulder silk shirts worn under spaghetti strap dresses. The henley-style ankle length shirt dress. The fringe, first as a poncho, then as two floor-length dresses. These are the pieces that inform what comes next — what characterizes how we identify with our bodies, how we determine what we consider appealing and how we structure the events of our lives. We are consistently reminded, at the hand of Céline, that the power of fashion is nothing more, nothing less than a silhouette.
All Images via Style.com.