In Shining Armor

JC Report issue 3 trumpeted the influx of protective gear as a major trend and while retail stores and fashion editorials subsequently turned out hordes of military and utility stories to support our forecast, the thesis continues to evolve. Designers are now applying details inspired by medieval armor to inspire some of the chicest collections for fall. Leather and metal, usually juxtaposed to convey a punk rock or biker feel, teamed up this season to deliver armorial accents nicely dosed in metallized glint. Meta luxury brand Bottega Veneta‘s designer Tomas Maier researched at Les Invalides, the military archive in Paris to inform his slightly aged looking armor pleated bags. Christian Dior‘s metal grommets on leather bags and shoes, Versace‘s clunky metal zippers and buckles shining from cigarette pants and skirts and edgy mixing of leather and skinny studded belts at Micheal Kors are some quick examples. Alexander McQueen‘s Eurasian expedition soldiered in articulated bustier top dresses with metal looking strips that can only be said to shell the body. Designers including Proenza Schouler, Narciso Rodriguez, Luca Luca and Stella McCartney figuratively interpreted armor via metallic colored bustiers while simultaneously identifying one of the must purchase pieces for fall. Paco Rabanne‘s chain mail dresses seem a cheap and obvious example but then at the fall showing in Paris, never have those dresses looked more relevant. Look past Balenciaga‘s trapeze lines to his gripping silhouettes by way of shearling bombers and Nicolas Ghesquiere’s protective armor story is revealed. In accessories, Baltazar served up rough cracked leather cuff bracelets and belts adorned with studs, brads, and grommets galore. At Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs cracked open an armor story in studded tunics with heavy pleating and layering easily inspired by costumes from the movie Gladiator. Soldier on!

- Georgianna Garcia
Photo: Proenza Schouler Fall 2003

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