Alessandro Michele is in at Gucci and bringing that horsebit detail back to life. Nicolas Ghesquière has managed to make discernible L’s and costly V’s feel cool again, and Chanel, for better or for worse, has never really attempted to abandon its interlocking C’s to appease the popular opinion. This opinion, of course, has been following a model that extols inconspicuous luxury.
It celebrates innocuous but extravagantly luxurious leather accessories like those from The Row, applauds the discreetly pointed toe at the front of a Manolo Blahnik heel and has heretofore successfully built the kind of brands that have been able subsist on a vision that pegs you an insider by reason of your knowing a Céline blouse is Céline because of the way it is made, not because it shouts its name at you. This has left room to fine-tune what it means to “fake it ’til you make it.” Without anyone ever really knowing what you’re wearing, you decide not just who, but what you are in the clothes. In 2015, Dior’s dame on a Zara budget is still Dior’s dame; the fast-fashion power house makes sure of it.
But we’re back at an interesting intersection where what we’ve spent the greater half of the 2010’s calling tacky — putting your style where your wallet is — is slowly beginning to feel tasteful again. And if 2013 saw the rise of an era defined by a new form of discernible label — the Nike swoosh, the Adidas triangle, Calvin Klein’s stamped initials on a white underwear band — 2015 is on track to take back ostentatious branding coupled with the expensive labels that command it and exit right next to a pair of Roberto Cavalli sunglasses. Sold out.
It seems kind of problematic, right? Because here we’ve convinced ourselves, through the fell acknowledgement and subsequent wearing of unobtrusive labels, that we’re above articulating our personal style using the contents of our wallets as a metric to define it. But with logos once again pervading our bag(uette)s comes the recognition and with that recognition comes price tags being broadcasted for all. And the thing about wearing that price tag is that while Zara can trick you into thinking you’re wearing x, it will never trick you into spending y.
So what happens? Are we back at a grisly inflection point that honors those who have it and polarizes those who can’t? Or do the recent nods to blatant branding further substantiate a case for slow fashion — quieting down the necessity we’ve cultivated to buy, buy, buy, cheap, cheap, cheap in order think more thoughtfully about what we want to say when we set out to script our sartorial screenplays?
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; styled by Ella Viscardi