The Most Meaningful Shows Of This Past Fashion Month

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 months ago | Features

Image: Eckhaus Latta SS18. Image source.

Okay, so I know that I recently argued fashion weeks basically don’t matter anymore, but each season there are always a standout few that restore my faith in fashion’s potential to communicate meaningful messages. For spring-summer 2018, those messages ranged from ones of inclusivity, to modern feminism and the need to break free from the status quo – be that in the way we consume fashion, or in terms of rejecting hyper-commercialisation.

Either way, these were the fashion shows that proved just how meaningful fashion can be and underscored why it’s important for us to all communicate messages through our clothing choices, rather than just blindly following the latest trends. This season, the likes of Miuccia Prada and Demna Gvasalia shed harsh relief on other shows, which weren’t quite so progressive, demanding the question: what is the point of fashion month if not to spread important messages? So, without further ado then, these were the most meaningful shows of the past fashion month, in my humble opinion.

1) Ellery SS18 for experimenting with a new format

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Many designers have spoken out over recent years about how the fashion system is broken – especially the way we present clothing. So, in a bid to inspire audiences once again, Australian designer Kym Ellery this season gave us a fashion show without an audience. Described as “a most exclusive – and inclusive – show experience,” the video format was filmed in a secret location and gave us more than just the straight up walking down a runway norm of recent years. Not only did Ellery push the boundaries of how we consume fashion though, the designer also delivered a compelling interview video series as well, featuring quotes by the likes of fashion journalist Maya Singer, artist Stanislava Pinchuk and the founder of creative and production management group OBO, René Céléstin. Together, these forward-thinkers discussed the future of the industry, with Céléstin placing particular emphasis on the critical role of hemp.

2) Prada SS18 for providing a fresh perspective on modern feminism

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In years gone by, female empowerment was expressed by adopting masculine style codes – or, more recently, by reclaiming hyper-femininity, as we have seen on the runway at Gucci of late. But for Prada’s SS18 presentation, feminism meant something far broader in its appeal; it meant dressing however you damn well please. Which is why feathered tactility and overtly feminine corsetry collided with masculine staples such as crisp shirting on the runway. “My question is about feminism and this idea that it’s stupid to be seductive,” said designer Miuccia Prada of her inspiration for the collection. “Is it right or wrong for a woman to be seductive? Is seduction something that was invented by us or by society? Is it horrible?” And, in short, the designer’s clothing communicated a resounding ‘no’. 

3) Calvin Klein SS18 for riffing on socio-political happenings

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Belgian designer Raf Simons is still fairly new to the NYFW schedule and, for SS18, his perspective as an outsider is what gave him the unique opportunity to comment on America’s socio-political climate right now. As fashion critic Cathy Horyn explains, his spring-summer 2018 presentation “brought archetypal images of American violence into fashion in order to unsettle and provoke.” In other words, she writes, Simons rendered a national obsession with disaster in the form of printed dresses that seemed to imitate a bloody splatter. It may have seemed a little morbid or, at times, downright scary, but if fashion fails to interact with the harsh realities of the world in which we live, then it also fails to be truly meaningful in the grand scheme of things.

4) Eckhaus Latta SS18 for the brand’s continued inclusivity

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Eckhaus Latta’s SS18 presentation was held out in Bushwick, instead of on site in Manhattan. But aside from shifting things to a more realistic and accessible location that reflects the brand’s roots within the creative industry, designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta also continued their inclusive vision in style. This season, the brand’s tailoring certainly became more grown up, while their focus on diversity was stronger than ever. Aside from featuring their mates on the runway, Eckhaus Latta further cemented their real world relatability by using both male and female models, in a range of ages, sizes and even states of motherhood – yup, their presentation included one pregnant model, whose belly was on full display.

5) Balenciaga SS18 for its anti-corporatisation messaging

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As Nicole Phelps asserts on behalf of Vogue Runway, this season, “Demna Gvasalia had something to say about the political failings and corporate detritus of the age with his banknote prints and tourist tchotchke accessories” at Balenciaga SS18. This mindset even extended to the designer’s collaboration with famed ‘ugly shoe’ brand Crocs. Rendering these inherently practical pieces in a range of candy colours with platform heels, Gvasalia also helped to reinforce the importance of the Gorpcore movement right now. A movement predicated upon practical items such as Crocs, Gorpcore rejects the hyper-commercialisation and blatant environmental disregard of many major fashion companies today, in favour of pure utilitarianism.

 

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