Monday, July 31, 2017

Salvatore Ferragamo // Spring 2018 // Menswear

Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director at Christian Dior, faces one major challenge in her new position: achieving the pedigree of French couture rather than Italian sportswear. Her work at Dior has been perceived as a misfire, a dangerous one given the legacy of the house she finds herself at. French designer Meilland became the latest creative director at Salvatore Ferragamo, an Italian luxury brand, last year. Contrary to popular belief, it is in fact possible for a French designer to take over an Italian brand, or vice versa. His Spring 2018 menswear show wasn’t characterised by a classically French, relaxed elegance but a distinctly Italian sun-kissed gentility 

This incarnation of the Ferragamo man is akin to an erudite scholar with a relaxed disposition—perhaps a professor of philosophy. His summer wardrobe requires unfussy clothing with a casual flair, the occasional eye-catching statement. Perhaps his summer will consist correcting papers along the Ligurian Riviera. Lucidity in menswear is crucial—for years there was a dearth of groundbreaking ideas and now we find ourselves in a period with J.W. Anderson, Raf Simons, Charles Jeffrey, Grace Wales Bonner, Thom Browne, whose creative verve rebuffs the ‘meat and potatoes’-driven menswear landscape of yore. Salvatore Ferragamo’s function isn’t to propose earth-shattering ideas but to provide beautiful, well-crafted menswear for it’s loyal clientele. For the show to have the ability to conjure up a clear image of the man who will eventually wear it says a lot.

Perhaps believability is where success lies with foreign creative directors. For an Italian to seamlessly transition at a French house, or vice versa, the greatest achievement is the ability to present something that is instantly recognisable as that brand’s aesthetic. Valentino-isms are rife at Chiuri’s Dior; Meilland has the luxury of coming from a senior design position at Lanvin, one where the extent of his contribution is relatively unknown. Compared to last season, this collection came on leaps and bounds. It knew its purpose and served it also.

Once again, Meilland’s design expertise is remarkable. He may be designing for a brand that doesn’t carry the same weight as J.W. Anderson or Raf Simons, creatively speaking, but as business, Ferragamo trumps those. The fitted mustard jacket, the pale-blue turned-up trousers, or the burgundy knit cardigan may not be seen as redefining moments in fashion but they are incredibly wearable and sellable. Meilland is melding business and creative prospects and that’s the new art form. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rising Stars: Minki, Richard Malone, Xiao Li, Roberta Einer // Fall 2017 //

It is becoming increasingly difficult for designers de nos jours to decided whether to offer a political commentary in their shows or to eschew from all political association. The latter, paradoxically, is almost as politicised as the former. Designers choosing to not reflect the times is their own decision, nor should it be frowned upon, but with the political downfall of recent times it’s hard to ignore, to turn a blind eye. 

An aversion came naturally to Minki Cheng—his label ‘minki’ is about dressing a bold contemporary woman. He was living and breathing the air of Tumblr-promoted 90s nostalgia. He revising defining moments of his childhood, one filled with video games, cartoons and children’s television programmes. He outfitted his models in colourful outerwear with an emphasis on cartoonish lines and warm fabrics. His depoliticisation of his garments came at the beginning of London Fashion Week, and perhaps they could’ve been placed elsewhere so not to upset the rhythm of the opening day. Although that statement acts reductively the clothing here wasn’t substandard, rather fingertips away from being truly special. 
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For Richard Malone it was about the politics of people rather than serious governmental conversations. His rhetoric was concerned with capturing the quotidian and rebuffing the social media age and its damning effects. “With distractions like our phones, we overlook,” he said in his show notes. What do we overlook? The omnipresent prints and patterns found on public transport, such as the Bus Éireann designs found in Malone’s native land of Ireland. Residing here also, I can attest to the fact that these unfortunately unfashionable prints and patterns go unnoticed by most; personally, I can remember vaguely a crimson design with orange specks, or from my childhood a grey cushion with the Irish red setter emblazoned on the backrest.  

Malone translated these prints into a 60s-inspired collection. It was marked by the same avant-garde functionality as in previous seasons. Trousers with pockets for the CEO who has to bring their children to school, the architecturally-inclined dresses with a function for the customer to shape the garment in their own personalised fashion, a quirky party frock and the uniform-inspired ode to the working class, specifically the working class roots of his family, based in the southeasterly county, Wexford.

Here, the removal of large-scale politics was refreshing and it was replaced with an interesting thesis on humankind’s behavioural habits. The prints were unquestionably positioned firmly on the border between good taste and bad taste but the perversity of that and the singularity of each of his models made it all the more fascinating. Perhaps other designers contemporary culture in similar ways. But with his working class perspective—there aren’t many others who can match Malone’s authenticity. 
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Xiao Li is an avant-garde designer in the more traditional sense of the term. The Royal College of Art graduate experiments with fabrication and silhouette, seasonally. She has explored the surrealism of Dali and the two dimensionality of pop art. This season she combined those to strengthen her vision, amplify the principles of her developing aesthetic and propose a lineup of commercially viable season-appropriate designs. For Fall 2017 she brought back the Elizabethan frills that delighted in the last show and her experimental denim with contrasting white accents. The styling was emphatic about its seasonality: chunky, warm knits were on her mind. 

With Richard Malone, and even Minki Cheng, there is an element of humour identifiable in their work. Li’s beginnings were in a comedic approach to cultural movements. Perhaps one could recall her witty dissection of the proliferation of genetically modified products in the food industry in 2015? Also, conversely, this shift to something more artistic and serious could benefit Li in the long run and amass a wider customer base. After all, there is a plethora of designers covering the ‘comedy’ niche in fashion and most of those have become the punchline of their own jokes. 
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Roberta Einer designs for the party girl but it’s not as simple as that. Einer is a self-described feminist and her political views, as many designers will astutely note, permeate her work and her feminist values are inborn in her designs. What makes a feminist designer anyway? To me it’s unapologetic expression of identity and for Einer it’s characterised by opulent hyper femininity, loosely inspired by her previous experience working at French house Balmain. This season she channelled the Art Deco architecture of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, forties tailoring and sixties discos into her work. 

Einer feels her label has grown in the past few seasons and identifies her new approach as more grown-up, modestly incorporating more age-defying values. Her selection of lavishly embellished frocks were beautiful but my personal favourites were the ones which skewered workwear themes. It was exemplary of a designer hitting a stride and successfully skewering the politics of the streets—hoodies with trenches? Contemporary fashion in a look.

Ultimately what these four designers have in common is their reference to the self. Whether it be in the form of their childhood memories, the ignorable mundanities of the everyday, the changing of personality or the bold personal statement—this generation of designers are predominately operating in autobiographical or, at least, semi-autobiographical spheres. It isn’t the self-centredness of the millennials, as noted by older generations—that’s codswallop. It’s an innate sense of self. That contains a multitude of political connotations. 
Photo Credits: Minki (images are my own), Richard Malone (The Impression, i-D), Xiao Li (bigglassesandcoffeecups.blogspot.com), Roberta Einer (The Upcoming, Footwear News, WWD)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wales Bonner // Spring 2018 // Menswear

Grace Wales Bonner heavily detailed, intellectual approach to design is unheard of in contemporary fashion. Many designers don’t even refer to books anymore, rather Instagram feeds to source inspiration. In the show notes for her Spring 2018 collection, entitled ‘Blue Duets’, there is an extract of text by Hilton Als from The Artist’s Insitute exhibition Hilton Als: James Baldwin/Jim Brown and the Children. The extract criticises ephemerality. Fashion is founded on ephemerality in the 21st century but you have designers like Wales Bonner whose intellectual process coupled with her affinity for producing a memorable show moment that subvert expectations and enrapture audiences. From her debut MAN show, to showing at Grosvenor Place or recreating the Notting Hill Carnival, each show is as recognisable as the last. An incrementalist, Wales Bonner has developed her aesthetic steadily, maintaining a sustainable pace and her audience’s interest.

Tenderness is commonly associated with Wales Bonner. Her dissection of black masculinity is never abrasive, nor is it invasive. It is concerned with tenderly telling a story—whether it’s about Ethiopian royalty or her family members—that skewers the subject of black masculinity. This season she tasked herself with exploring black queer culture and arrived at the James Baldwin reference. Baldwin famously explored dynamics of sexuality in his sophomore novel Giovanni’s Room which preceded the gay liberation movement. (The set design reminded one of the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue and the subsequent Academy Award-winning film Moonlight. The play and film tackled the story of a black man facing his sexuality.)

The show opened with a gentle smattering of workwear before segueing into distinctly sensual areas. Sleeveless vest and shirts, sharply contrasting colours. A low-cut, sunrise-hued leather tunic was a testament to Wales Bonner’s unique eye, her ability to include an unsuspectingly beautiful item. Her use of leather—specifically black leather trousers—introduce a vaguely fetishistic element to the show. Her visuals convey the power of fabric and colour choice and the result when the two intermingle. 

For clothing that is understated, subdued, her work is spellbinding. Perhaps it’s her tailoring, or maybe her unique fabrication. Her utilitarian methodologies differentiate her, in London, from the sea of maximalists who are beginning to dominate the schedule. Wales Bonner needn’t worry about their emergence, as post-LVMH Prize she has already amassed more acclaim and the integrity of her label is at insurmountable heights. Along with Craig Green, Martine Rose, Wales Bonner is a heavy hitter, a powerful force. It is also the most meaningful, and that is the job of the visual artist. As Als writes, “for when I am in the presence of visual material that absorbs me, forces me to feel, to look, my mind closes against that which can be spoken.”
Vogue Runway

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mary Katrantzou // Fall 2017 //

Mary Katrantzou had a career redefining moment a few years ago when she defied all expectations and removed digital printing from her collection, focusing solely on surface detail, tailoring. Flash forward to 2017 and she’s established equilibrium, with tailoring and surface decoration counterbalancing printing. The facets work symbiotically, creating a richer  experience with emphasis placed equally on tactility as on aesthetics. 

She was looking at the 1940 animated film Fantasia. The animated film arrived at the beginning of a decade Katrantzou revisits time and time again. Her analysation of wartime and post-war fashion enraptured the audience at the Tate Modern in February, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing live to accompany the models’ stride. A veiled subtext, Fantasia is a surreal cartoon and differs from the world we live in; over the past twelve months designers have been exploring what surreality means and how it pertains to the current state of affairs—truly, there are recognisable intersections. Katrantzou’s presentation wasn’t preoccupied by the political turmoil and uncertainty but rather subtly nodding to the fact that the world we live in isn’t concerned with reality. 

Enormous fur stoles encase the necks of models; prints work counterintuitively with odd pairings. The eyes adjust to the feast quickly, savouring the finer details: the jewel embroideries on coats, the swan embellishments. Whiffs of Prada were unmistakable, yet forgivable. Her work has long referenced the Italian great. However, there are now Katrantzou-isms which punctuated her oeuvre: the thick fur sleeves on jackets, the invested interest in faux fur, the micro-mini dress with fabulous embroidery or delightful prints, a pleated tulle skirt that emerged in the Fall 2015 show. The Prada references this season were stronger than in the past, undeniably and one wonders why. Katrantzou is a talented young woman who carved a place for herself on the London schedule with aplomb, experimenting with colour, texture and tailoring. She’s weathered criticism and received laudatory praise, the latter deriving from the more instinctive, original outings. Perhaps self-doubt set in? 

The possibility of self-doubt aside, if Katrantzou’s aim was balance, poise, she certainly achieved it. Her latest womenswear offering is characterised by a maturity that many other London designers lack. Sure, her collections have a youthful verve to them—one cannot ignore the nods to Disney’s Fantasia here—but the levels of sophistication found her were amped up. London designers are growing up and Mary Katrantzou’s label has blossomed. 
Vogue Runway

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Christian Dior // Fall 2017 // Haute Couture

“A complete collection should address all types of women in all countries,” is a general statement, scribed by Christian Dior in his autobiography Dior by Dior. It’s the kind of assertion that Maria Grazia Chiuri relies on to convey her commercialistic feminist message to the masses at the house. It all began with her ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ t-shirts and fencing uniforms and extended to the modern princess, the military-inspired daily outfit. For the Fall 2017 haute couture show which was the culmination of her freshman year at the house, she looked to the restless spirit of female explorers and the desire to visit faraway lands. 

Freya Stark, Amelia Earhart, Gertrude Bell are the female explorers Chiuri wanted to channel in her work. To innovate and strive for modernity she employed the technical prowess of Dior and utilised menswear fabrics, which in couture is practically unheard of. The fabric technicians mastered the fabrics imbue them with softer qualities. It came in the form of chiaroscuro on jackets and blouses that are reminiscent of aviator jackets. Moreover, milliner Stephen Jones handcrafted headpieces to accompany the collection’s 67 looks. 

The travel theme developed into exploration of the house’s heritage. A map found in the archive by Albert Decaries inspired many looks with many of the looks being influenced by his claustrophobic style of etching. It also pointed to Chiuri’s personal journey from Rome to Paris, her journey from Valentino to Dior. (You can take the girl out of Rome, but you can’t take Rome out of the girl.) She could be likened to a modern day example of a woman travelling for work. The house truly are hellbent on a feminist message, in whatever way, shape or form possible. 

It’s a terrific feat that Dior has crowned a female designer as artistic director—69 years after the company was founded, it took some time. Her feminist agenda has been inherently problematic seeing as it’s being presented in a stereotypical, commercialistic, consumerist fashion. Whitewashed feminism came in the form of their Spring 2017 advertising campaign which was modelled, photography and styled by white people. Clearly learning from the backlash that erupted from the campaign, the latest outing includes a diversified casting—there’s Adwoa Aboah, Ellen Rosa, Jing Wen amongst others. Although exploring different facets of womanhood through historical references is important—light should always be shone on the stories of women in history, especially at womenswear brands—it appears to me that this portrayal is disingenuous at Dior. Feminism is merely the buzzword they choose to associate with. Yes, Chiuri is a devout feminist herself but at a luxury conglomerate you enter a grey area, a tricky terrain where it’s best to avoid weighty subjects when it’s presented dully in an overtly commercialistic way.

Not much can be done about Chiuri’s aesthetic. Her daywear is satisfactory, although the tailoring wouldn’t be deemed exceptional. Her evening wear still bears unmistakable Valentino flavourings. In general, her work has yet to truly excite or incite an emotion other than indifference. Indifference is the worst form of emotion in fashion: one should lean on love or hate, indifference merely means the show wasn’t strong enough to indicate any significant emotions. I’m indifferent. 
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chanel // Fall 2017 // Haute Couture

France, a country that narrowly avoided the grimy grasp of nationalist Marine Le Pen earlier in the year, is governed by Emmanuel Macron, a social democrat. He promises a “democratic revolution” and time will tell if his presidency will transform the country. In light of terrorist attacks, political uncertainty all eyes have been firmly planted on France and Karl Lagerfeld’s eye is forever on the zeitgeist. What better a time to explore the brand’s Parisian roots than now? To celebrate the Fall 2017 couture show the production company erected a model of the Eiffel Tower, the world’s most overrated landmark but an undoubted symbol of Paris, France even. And how better to commemorate the occasion than Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo presenting Lagerfeld with the Médaille Grand Vermeil de la Ville, the city’s highest honour. 

It was all about Paris for Lagerfeld, who moved there in the 1940s. He worked first with Pierre Balmain before moving to Jean Patou. He joined Chloé in 1964 and a year later he embarked on what would be the longest lasting creative director position at a fashion house at Fendi. Chanel, where he landed in the 1980s, cemented his international fame. In remarkable fashion, he seasonally transforms shows into spectaculars: he preys on the ephemerality of fashion and delivers something extraordinary, even if it detracts from his clothing. In unprecedented fashion his vision of Paris wasn’t a kitschy caricature of one of the world’s most mesmerising cities but, in fact, it was exquisite homage to the city in a bygone era. 
It was a sophisticated approach and off the back of the recent ready-to-wear’s cartoonish expedition to outer space this was a grounded, elegant endeavour and its sublimity was unmatched. It was couture, by the book. There were no revolutionary design concepts, rather technical feats. The clothes rarely change at couture. It is about satisfying customers’ needs with creative propositions; it is remarkable how Chanel has become a house about preservation, not progression. 

Chanel couture is always a treat. You have an enormous mise-en-scène, some cultural relevance, but it will always come back to the clothes for me, especially at couture. The highest order of craft is found within the couture world. For example, found on the backs of feathers used as embroidery are etchings of the Eiffel Tower. It’s this personalised stamp that makes couture so special, but also Chanel shows special. I’m sure it’s even more breathtakingly beautiful in person. 
Vogue Runway

Monday, July 17, 2017

Louis Vuitton // Spring 2018 // Menswear

Kim Jones, creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, collaborated with New York-based streetwear label Supreme last season. It was perhaps the most hotly anticipated interdisciplinary partnership in recent years. Since going on sale in weeks just past, items have made it to eBay and are retailing at a whopping £7.5k. It is often difficult for designers to proceed after a monumental pairing—perhaps even a career-defining moment—like that. But Jones looked elsewhere to continue his collaborative streak: the Canadian musician Drake. Curating the show’s playlist with a line-up of throbbing hip-hop anthems to usher the models down the runway at the Palais Royal. (An accompanying song, a ‘One Dance’-lite of sorts was released the same day by the artist called ‘Signs’.)
It was enough to grab headlines on numerous music websites and blogs but the collection wasn’t brightly shining or remotely as interesting as the names associated with it. For Jones it was a case of continuing what he does best for the house, exploring sportswear codes and infusing it with traditional tailoring and workwear principles. Louis Vuitton is primarily an accessories company and there were plenty of bags and trainers to satisfy commercial requirements but there weren’t many memorable moments of the sartorial kind. The most exciting was the reemergence of the Hawaiian shirt. A brightly-coloured tropical print with the label’s logo was a standout.

Perhaps it’s the cult around Nicolas Ghesquière and his glory days at Balenciaga that make the womenswear shows more slavishly enjoyed but there is a fervent support system backing Jones. The British press will not only attest to his gentle, kind personality but to his clothing, wholeheartedly. His fluid tailoring is relatively different to most of what is presented on the runways these days but the looser silhouette often swamps the wearer, in unfashionable ways. His strong points are his use of fabric—neoprene joggers, for example, in varying shades of blue and leather trousers were remarkable, but couldn’t support the entire collection.

Jones is an expert merchandiser. His collaboration with Supreme merely confirmed the fact. This season’s key pieces were the Hawaiian shirts that will be everywhere next season, the neoprene sportswear and Safari-inspired jackets. He manages to innovate at Vuitton, occasionally exercising a powerful tailoring muscle but somehow it manages to fall flat. The proof is in the drab styling. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dries van Noten // Spring 2018 // Menswear

Dries van Noten was faced with a dilemma ahead of his recent Spring 2018 menswear show, his selected venue cancelled three weeks before the show date. Show producers absconded to the eight-floor of a functioning car park, the former office of left-wing Parisian newspaper Libération. Swapping stucco and high ceilings for a disused office block with paper-stuffed shelves, the atmosphere was ever more relaxed than the highfaluting glamour we’ve become accustomed to. However, that isn’t to say the change was in any way enervating, perhaps it invigorated Van Noten’s output.

Colour or texture? Colour or texture? The starting point for the Belgian designer was colour this season. The colour descriptions were widely reported, they ranged from ‘smoke’ to ‘bark’ to ‘tobacco’. They were all slightly off, dark and particularly subdued. Notably, they looked like the colours of an old photo evanescing in direct sunlight. Warped hues and their simplicity aside, there is a deeper, more poetic meaning to be ascertained. Dries van Noten is a keen proprietor of preserving luxury with expansive fabric research, delectable palettes—he undertakes the responsibility of heightening normality but not in the clinical way of Demna Gvasalia or the scientifically poetic fashion of Craig Green, his is determinable by its inclination to find the highest point of beauty. 

His pared back aesthetic may not be to the liking of everyone but his work can be wholly irresistible. A tobacco-hued blazer for example: he manages to create an air of exoticism around a colour best avoided for its dullness. An insect green sweater, a heavily-embroidered mustard shirt and taupe trousers—the colours feel off but look unquestionably right. 

In terms of Van Noten’s oeuvre, this could be considered his most subversive outing to date. ‘Off’ isn’t usually a word ascribed to his creations. Generally, it’s just an observation on his innate poeticism and appreciation for the finer things in live. He generated a laudatory response but for different reasons this time around—it was his travelling eye, his ability to transform the not-so-beautiful into something that was a feast for the eyes, albeit one that required time to warm to. It is rare for an elaborate flower-power combination, in incongruous shades of gold and wood green, to capture my attention and for it to be effortlessly winsome.

The venue switch up proved complementary to the season’s recurring motif: the coexistence of casual wear and workwear and where the two styles of dressing intersect, a meditation on how they mingle with one another. This show had the businessman’s staples down—tailored trousers and fine suiting—but it was auspicious also in the more casual areas—summery shirting and thigh-grazing shorts. Perhaps it was the new environment that cemented the mastery of this collection or perhaps Van Noten is in his prime—although, isn’t he always? 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Miu Miu // Resort 2018 //

It wouldn’t be a couture week without an extravagant opening. Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu provided an impetus for the week; it was a couture week which saw an influx of ready-to-wear, pre-collection and seasonless shows. Miu Miu is of course Prada’s disarmingly punchy ‘sister’ label—although Mrs Prada has highlighted her aversion to the term in recent interviews. Miu Miu boasts fundamental differences to Prada, the more serious counterpart in Mrs Prada’s creative lexicon: firstly, its bi-annual ready-to-wear and respective pre-collections are shown in Paris; secondly, the label operates at breakneck speed, developing the clothing a mere two weeks ahead of the show to allow for an instinctive creative response to whatever Mrs Prada feels at a given time. This time it was “cabaret”, “powerful women”…

What better—and more defiant—place to host the Miu Miu Club for the Resort 2018 season than the Automobile Club de Paris, a private members men’s club in the 8th arrondissement, adjacent to the recently revamped Hôtel de Crillon. A men’s club on a Sunday night in July, transformed for a fancy womenswear show—a statement in itself. The musical proceedings were kickstarted by Canadian rapper Tommy Genesis, dressed in a baby blue one piece before segueing into a significantly less offensive assortment comprised of Marilyn Monroe’s ‘You’d Be Surprised’, Rita Hayworth’s ‘I’ve Been Kissed Before’ and Nicole Kidman covering ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’. It’s the juxtaposition of good taste and bad taste, a familiar tenet of Mrs Prada’s work, that continues to complement her girly Miu Miu shows.

Although cabaret was on her mind—there were inflated bum-shorts and rompers to assuage the motion—there were also mechanic references, with the girls’ outfits appearing as 50s pin-up-inspired uniforms, equipped with race-car driver graphics. It was glamorous Formula 1, seen through the eyes of an Italian woman who keenly observes the codes of girlhood. (The show reminded one of the fame-obsessed Spring 2011 show or Prada’s eponymous label’s Spring 2012, with flames and retro car graphics.) There were many styling tricks at play here, courtesy of Love magazine’s Katie Grand who is behind all styling operations at the house: half-on, half-off boiler suits; wide-shoulders, wide-hips and cinched waists. She adapts her own stylistic vocabulary to the wonderful world of Miuccia Prada, mostly successfully.

Substance isn’t engrained in Miu Miu the way it is at Prada—this is a playground for girlish delights, where Mrs Prada can dress the fantasy woman up or down. She is a blank canvas and she has been interpreted in a multitude of ways. This season Mrs Prada endeavoured to find yet another way to express her desire to empower women through clothing. She did so exceptionally, fusing the cabaret dancer and the mechanic. Remember, it all unfolded at a men’s club. It’s no longer a man’s world, it’s Mrs Prada’s.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Matthew Miller // Spring 2018 // Menswear

Freedom is important to Matthew Miller. The London-based menswear designer fundamentally sees beauty as a moment in time, such as experiencing “a sense of freedom.” It’s not surprising that his oeuvre has been punctuated by politics since his label’s creation. Whether commenting on the jeopardy of the post-truth world or inciting rebellion on his catwalk, the idea of liberation is integral to his brand. His visual language is channelled through the teenage boy—although distinctly masculine and suitable for a mature audience, Miller’s clothing are modelled around the teenage boy and his interests. For Spring 2018 he catapulted us into a pivotal time in youth culture, the 1990s: subcultural and countercultural movements proliferated; fashion was influenced by the 1960s and 1970s; cult films Kids, The Breakfast Club and Dazed and Confused contemplated what it was to be a teenager.

Miller’s approach to the decade was much darker, inspired by underground movements and hence his work was darkly hue, a characteristic precedent. Tailoring was mostly fitted and kept to ‘skinny’ proportions. Slouchy, off-the-shoulder styled jackets were very de nos jours, portraying fashion’s never-ending obsession with nostalgia and the current 1990s fixation. (The epoch connects with the modern generation perfectly: as in the 1990s, teenagers are becoming more and more political and their lives politicised. Sexuality, race, fashion or political statements—teenagers everywhere are galvanised into action and, through Instagram or otherwise, are making their mark on the political landscape.) Leather jackets and skinny trousers; the mostly black and white collection was occasionally lightened with the additional of camel (found in tailored coats) and red accents on accessories.

An accessories driven collection, Miller placed focus on leather trainers and on handbags. Much of it seemed similar to the styling at Kim Jones’ Louis Vuitton x Supreme extravaganza back in January. Similarly, the makeup was pastiche: the models’ lips were spray painted black—it had the same ‘just been kissed’ effect as at the Preen by Thornton Bregazzi show at London Fashion Week in February. One of the opening looks screamed Raf Simons, the master of underground-inspired fashion. If one is going to foray into the 1990s, perhaps it’s optimal to avoid a movement endlessly explored by one of fashion’s greats. 

He presented in St. Sepulchre’s Church, a 15th century Gothic building in London’s Holborn neighbourhood. An elaborately decorative building with impressively ornate interiors conveyed a heightened sense of importance. Securing any ecclesiastical venue signifies scale and power. However, the collection was too commercialistic and swathed in undeveloped subtextual insight. But this is Matthew Miller’s religion, his ever-expanding base of followers are the converted.