The dressing-up trend buzzing this season, most effectively displayed at Prada, is only the start of more statement dressing to come. In response to the Tom Ford era of clothing which called for women to be smaller than a size six with a killer instinct for trussed up, sex on tap styling, the new dress-up is a prescription for mixing and matching different elements — not to resemble J. Lo or Sarah Jessica Parker — but to deliver something of your own. Colors and prints are obviously important ingredients in the new expression, but the big story to come is fabrics. Textured fabrics are ready to explode in all kinds of ways, as sumptuous and arresting as ones seen at Prada this season, but more subtle and unique selections will soon emerge to give women the opportunity to create their own pastiche through the layering and pairing of offsetting fabrics.
Brands like Dries Van Noten, Marni, Project Alabama, Alaia, Lanvin, and even Prada will continue to benefit from this set apart dressing as their foundations are all built on a kind of nonconformist platform where woman are encouraged and expected to bring their own style to their chosen pieces — Prada’s robots and other cool accessorization brings even more singularity and uniqueness to personal expression.
The avant-garde has been in a slump in recent years — it simply hasn’t seemed right to have extra appendages and challenging shapes in clothing while the world was battle-torn and troubled. But it appears the right time again to go for more extreme dressing (within reason). The new avant-garde is about strong, structured pieces, grabbing attention without overshadowing the identity of the wearer — instead bringing personality forward. Think Comme des Garcons, Boudicca, or Pierre Cardin (back in vogue) top paired with jeans (a trend going nowhere soon).
Note also that Hollywood women are moving out of the easily defined box, a fact we can also attribute to regular women wanting to express their singular style. Where you used to witness off-duty celebs in anonymous Juicy Couture uniforms and Louis Vuitton bags, now they’re spotted in tasty skirts, embellished pumps, and slogan t-shirts (yet another key example of individual expression) — more and more the look finished off by bags you can’t quite identify (Anya Hindmarch, Asif Vaza, Leflesh). Shoes with embellishments, new shapes, and boldly-colored pumps will continue to punctuate the look. And for their red carpet and other high-profile appearances, nothing scores more style points than one-of-a-kind vintage (also coming back in a big way), or a made-to-order couture dresses (Martin Grant to Chanel) that weren’t even shown on the runways. Now that’s individual!
Dries Van Noten