Can wearable clothes still be considered new or exciting?
Whether a designer’s intent or not, the general viewer’s perception of a collection will fall into one of two categories: 1) wearable or 2) great for Instagram. The second category is the millennial’s version of “editorial,” but the difference is that back in the day, an editorial piece implied that it was art. Not always the case with “great for Instagram.”
No matter how many eye-rolls the idea of “Instagram clothes” may elicit, that first category — “wearable” — can feel like more of a detriment. If it’s wearable, where’s the risk? Where’s the style? Where’s the fashion?
Fashion shows can be boring. It sounds so jaded to say, but it’s true. You sit through a show, chin in hand, waiting to be blown away or have your life changed. When it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t always mean the clothes were “bad.” It just means you were expecting something to jump from behind the curtain after a burst of confetti and scare the shit out of you. I said as much to Leandra, who brought up Cathy Horyn’s commentary on Kanye West’s spectacle as it relates to “the general state of the fashion world.” Horyn writes for The Cut, “[A]n experience often begins with delight and almost always ends with a feeling of nothingness.”
Sometimes, perhaps. Not always. Three collections today answered my initial question: Yes, they said, each in their own accents. Wearable clothes can knock you off your seat.
Tome certainly woke me up. Following a monochrome Victorian clown (the non-scary kind) with Swarovski crystal droplets under her eyes, puffy sleeves and a big old collar was the court: women in corsets come undone; women in manipulated shirting, patch-y denim, latex turtlenecks (?!), zebra print and shaggy shearling. To say it wasn’t cohesive would be such a boring conclusion. To be wearable but exciting, you need variety, not a “concept.” Besides, I much prefer to call this mix fun. Perhaps it was felt crowns atop their head, but one couldn’t help but hear Maurice Sendek’s Max cry out loud, “Let the wild rumpus start!”
There will be no such thing at Derek Lam — his collections are bold, not loud, and his models certainly aren’t about to go galavanting with monsters. There is nothing impractical about the precise man who designs these clothes, nothing superfluous about his stitch, drape or cuff — which means that the beauty you see isn’t an accident or afterthought. It’s an inherent part Lam and his vision.
But no frills doesn’t mean no fun. It also doesn’t mean no literal frills, because there were some: tiny ruffles sat high on the collars of his well-poised women. Details — he’s a master of them. What his models did do is move a little bit faster this season. She who wears Lam is busy, in-demand and important. No time for fuss. (You see? wearable.)
And then there was Sies Marjan, the new label you need to know. Designer Sander Lak, formerly of Dries Van Noten, showed his line’s debut collection to a crowd of expectant onlookers. Without a circulation of sketches or hyped-up press, we had only heard insider whisperings. The rumors were true: the clothes were outstanding. Full of electrolytes. High-C, high voltage orange struck like lighting while Gatorade yellow flashed the room. Earthy browns gave the collection some ground, and adding even more weight were the heavy shoes; the collection, however, was light. And it was fun. (That’s three “funs” in one day, by the way!) It was also wearable. Definitely wearable. But to wear these clothes well — like the bright shearling puffs — you have to be like the aforementioned Max: a little bit wild.