Cassia Carter reports from the catwalk.
ASHISH’S CAPITALIST CRAZE
In a Western world dominated by consumerism and crippled with debt, one can hardly ignore the consequences of societal and financial pressure on the self. A pressure to carve out a successful career, or to gain acceptance, for instance, seem to seethe, consciously or not, into the minds of both the young and the old, the rich and the poor. As a result: hundreds of conferences on ways to overcome binge-shopping outbursts sprouting globally, and a plethora of financial-connected, self-help books sprawled across entire shelves in bookstores. Money has never stressed the world out as much as today, and its devastation is affecting an all-including string of individuals, where millennials now reign as prominent members. No surprise then that that Indian-born, British designer ASHISH wished to focus his latest show, last Sunday, on the dark deeds of capitalism, hinting especially at the implication of the mighty USA, land of the wealthy.
His core values, which include interpreting societal trends into fashion, were omnipresent in his collection for autumn-winter 2018, as Ashish has mentioned in the past to The Guardian his belief that “fashion is so much better when it engages with the zeitgeist, when it leads rather than reflects”.
Most mini dresses, jumpsuits and sweaters dazzled with Ashish’s characteristic multicolored sequins, intertwining the atmosphere of dark dystopia with that of a carefree, sybaritic lifestyle. Big, psychedelic flowers were embroidered onto black dresses, like somber representations of a drug-induced fever. Was Ashish’s intent to portray the fraction of today’s youth, the same one that tries to escape the brutal reality of the world? Oversized sweaters seemed to point in that direction as they revealed the words “HEDONISTIC”, “AMERICAN EXCESS” and “ALL I WANT IS LOVE” in capsized letters across the chest.
The fluffy sweaters were adorned with fringes, which seemed to squirm as the models walked. Maxi dresses with clashing patters embodied once again a vision of disturbance and unrest. The models carried plastic-like shopping bags—yet another indication of a consumer-driven society. Fair to say that Ashish’s woman for next season is dazed and confused, riddled with anxiety and afflicted with the dilemma of either fighting or coping, forgetting or conforming to such a straining environment.
Ultimately, Ashish produced a thought-provoking show, where fashion was used for a greater good than selfish needs: the denunciation of our century’s mentality.
Marta Jakubowski’s Confusing Ode to Women
For next fall-winter season, Polish-born and German-raised Marta Jakubowski focused on a cause that in itself seems to be one of the most fashionable ones in our current society: that of women’s celebration.
As the lights dimmed down and the models appeared, Whitney Houston’s cult “I’m Every Woman,” blasted throughout The Strand’s BFC show space. The models danced across the catwalk, flashing bright smiles and twirling onto themselves.
A refreshing twist from the usual deadpan model essence we as a fashion crowd are usually accustomed to.
Yet if the atmosphere of the show was fun and upbeat, it wasn’t enough to save the show.
Though said to be inspired by the nineties, the clothes suggested more of a melting pot of late 20th century decades than the one. If Jakubowski remained loyal to her assymetrical cuts and draped tailoring, she also threw in a plethora of different shapes, such as 80’s-evoking big shoulders and wide-legged plaid trousers, combined with 70’s-inspired, buttery leather boots. And when it comes to color, Jakubowski seemed equally lost as to what she was attempting to illustrate as a theme: bright purples and clashing fuschia pinks gave way to softer hues of petrol blue and camel.
Though Jakubowski marks points by reminding the fashionsphere that fashion is, ultimately, about fun, she neglected the fundamental rule that makes a show a great one: cohesion. If some women decide to subject themselves to such style, let’s just hope that not every woman does.
Ashley Williams’ Shoreditch sorceress
Inspired by her journey of reconnection with nature, in opposition to the influence of our digital era, British designer Ashley Williams’ show was one about Mother Nature. Her set featured two massive menhirs, evoking the earthly eeriness of the mystical Stonehenge site.
A perfect spatial illustration of fall-winter 2018’s Ashley Williams girl, whose bright fuchsia-makeuped eyes and spiked, punk-like hair was tailored for a cool, Shoreditch-based witch of modern times. That same girl (or sorceress, should we say?) is one with an attitude, tinted with anticonformism and defiance.
Cropped hoodies bore the mantra “Don’t Know Don’t Care,” across the chest, whereas sheer tulle frocks were covered with a rebel’s favorite word: sex. Yet the Williams girl for next season does seem to care about something, and that would be the environment, thanks to a blue tartan suit made entirely out of plastic bottles.
After all, William’s aesthetic has always been one of gritiness and grunge, or a winning combo for today’s protégés within the fashion scene: the millenials. Even the colour pattern of the show, featuring lilacs and mauves and roses, are considered 90’s-kid favourites. As for the shoes, they were fluffy slippers, some of them stamped with the Y and Z generation’s signature life impediment, anxiety.
A good indication, therefore, that Williams’ collection will appeal to Youth with its capital Y, and be a commercial success. How can one be sure? Well don’t forget that any witch, even one who takes her almond-milk latte at the Ace hotel, can predict the future. We can now only wait and see…