Far from its frivolous and momentary reputation, fashion has played an enormous role in the processes of historical change by being a reflection of the economic, political or social reality of the moment.
Beyond its artistic component, fashion has been, and still is, a driving force in the socialisation and individualisation processes, by reflecting both the established status and the emerging tendencies of the distinct ideological revolutions that accompany every process of change, in which the way of dressing is considered one of the most used elements to show certain position and to distinguish social groups.
Even though fashion is a crucial factor in the process of social integration, there has always been someone who has used it to defend his/her opposition to the system, to reflect his/her ideology, a new way of seeing the world and even a way of protesting against the established order. The most contemporary example is the punk, which has been used a lot as an inspiration in the fashion world.
However, already in the 18th century existed a youth current that used their clothes as a vehicle of expression. The Incroyables and Les Merveilleux were members of an aristocratic subculture who inspire today the autumn 2016 collections of great designers, such a Rei Kawakubo, John Galliano or Alessandro Michele (current creative director of Gucci). The “air fabrics”, the “dog’s ears”, the boxer boots, as Oliver Twist, and the Nankeen trousers step on the catwalk this season, not just to captivate us, but to remind us of their nonconformist character.
Who better than the alma mater of Comme de Garçons to revolutionise the catwalks. Rei Kawakubo is the responsible of one of the greatest bastions of innovation and design, as she demonstrates not only in her collections, but also with the invention of concept stores or her Dover Street Market store in London. For this autumn, the Japanese designer has been inspired by what she denominates the 18th century punk.
“The eighteenth century was a time of change and revolution”, she said. “This is how I imagine punks would look like if they had lived in this century”.
Jacquard prints, countless floral motifs, an amalgam of upholstery and corsetry, flounces and laces, armours, pink flounces and bondage straps using materials associated with Versailles wealth and 3D structures. This is Kawakubo’s reinterpretation of a revolutionary time that has inspired her autumn 2016 collection under her personal and always-surprising taste.
John Galliano, current artistic designer of Maison Martin Margiela, graduated from St. Martin’s School of Arts precisely with a collection inspired by the French Revolution. Although his collections always have a “romantic air”, which is his seal of identity, this season his frock coats, inspired in the 18th century, travels us back to the Victorian era of the Industrial Revolution.
The masculine military suits contrast with the sheer but tight dresses in pale colours. The same applies when lace blouses are combined with muddy Nankeen trousers in grey tones. And the outfit is complemented with boxer boots, among other eccentricities following the British style such as pocket-watches or newsboy’s caps, in a pure Oliver Twist style.
Alessandro Michele, current creative director of the masculine and feminine collections of the Italian brand Gucci, has designed an autumn 2016 collection inspired by the dandy and revolutionary spirit.
A collection intrinsically connected with the club of the early 80s known as New Romanticism. Although it’s, above all, eclectic, once again he stands out due to his luxury and excess nurturing; his designs for this season show a provocative attitude and an exaggerated look. Alessandro Michele forces on purpose the folds in his tailoring for Gucci by finding his precedent in the intentionally forced appearance of the Incroyables.
Provocative and romantic, that’s the trend that the big brands have wanted to rescue for their autumn 2016 collections. In Magazine Horse we feel inspired by the result of the view that some designers, such as John Galliano, Alessandro Michele or Rei Kawakubo, wanted to reclaim with the return to the catwalk of a time primarily marked by the fashion, the 18th century.