Nazanin Shahnavaz presents THE FASHION WORMHOLE, a series connecting the widely separated regions of space-time from the season’s latest trends. Fashion is an infinite loop, stuck in an endless rush for the new. Season after season, designers produce collections, shows and campaigns amalgamating a dense web of references that split and sprout into a frenzy of disparate trends. Navigating this terrain stretches consciousness across space-time, leaping into the past and future through a cyclone of zeitgeists, Instagram moments and hot new accessories. Just in time for the autumn, Nazanin enters the fashion wormhole, exploring the moods, themes and moments underpinning your FW19 wardrobe.
Caffeine induced anxiety, dead houseplants, misplaced airpods, lost Instagram followers – there’s a lot to be sad about – so why not claim it as your signature style this season? Grab a tissue and discover your inner emo via some classic MRC-era Gerard Way looks: dyed black hair, eye makeup, studded accessories; or take Drake’s Stone Island normcore approach, immortalised in countless sad memes. Then there is the sad boy of the decade and trend catalyst, Yung Lean, whose post-internet style consists of monochrome palettes, bucket hats, sad face icons and Japanese characters. So whether you’re crying behind a pair of opaque Komono sunglasses, sulking under a Mister Green bucket hat or sighing morosely in a black on black Kiko Kostadinov outfit, being sad has never looked so good.
From John Wayne to Jon Voight, Madonna to Lil Nas X, the legend of the cowboy continues to be re-interpreted and reappropriated within popular culture as one of America’s quintessential icons. Once a powerful Hollywood archetype that reflected an idealised hetero-normative post-war ethos, the deep-seated mythology of the Wild West was used to symbolise the breakdown of traditional social mores with Midnight Cowboy (1969) and to parody the status quo with the Village People during the disco era before providing the likes of Britany, JT and Madonna with a camp millennial aesthetic, best seen in her video “Don’t Tell Me” (2000).
Today, Lil Nas X gives the cowboy look a contemporary makeover. With him bare chested and donning a cowboy hat and string ties with oversized Louis Vuitton puffers or the latest Dior denim ensemble, his style is about much more than fashion. It’s repurposing a symbol of conquest and subversion, claiming a stake in Americana and producing an unquestionably patriotic image that nonetheless provides a political commentary. It’s no surprise then that tan leathers, neckerchiefs and cowboy boots have resurfaced in Trump’s America. Saddle up, partner!
Patchwork clothing is having a resurgence. A micro-trend from the sixties, the technique first emerged as a means to use up left-over fabric scraps and extend the working life of a garment. A popular detail in hippie-style, it gave individuality and a handcraft feel to an outfit, offering a sustainable and DIY alternative to mainstream fashion. Inspiring high-end designers to add single patches, create tonal denim on denim pieces or florid mixed and matched prints, patchwork transitioned from a technique to a look.
Resurfacing in nineties with grunge via denim and plaid combinations, it was later picked up by designers like Marc Jacobs at Perry Ellis and Tom Ford’s Gucci Collections. Today the patchwork legacy continues with contemporary denim interpretations by Levi’s Made & Crafted collection to Nike’s colourful Atmos collaboration, Gosha Rubchinskiy’s flag scarf and Stussy’s 90s-style panelled tracksuits.
As survivalists braced for the end of days and unreliable computer networks were poised to fail and reboot society a century or two, others embraced the dream of a new millennium and the techno-utopia Y2K promised. The world was dialing up, connecting and sharing as they’d never done before. The past thousand years had had its ups and downs and it was time to shed that baggage and own the bright and shiny future we’d deserved.
A playful naivety defined the aesthetics of the period: colourful translucent plastics with rounded edges, soft pastel pallets and inflatable furniture all suggested a youthful innocence; baby toys for our new era infancy. The retro-futurism of the past had been given an update and appeared across the music, films and fashion of the time, combining the mystique of space exploration, alien encounters and online personas with the romantic simplicity of cute teen idols in lycra. Now 20 years later, many of us are trying to transcend the present and move onto the future.