Ripped jeans, frayed edges and loose strings give in­sight into a col­lec­tive com­ing un­done.

Loose threads and frayed hem­lines seem to mir­ror our per­fectly im­per­fect world.

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By Joy Pecknold

Coco Chanel once said that fash­ion isn’t some­thing that ex­ists in dresses alone. “Fash­ion is in the sky, in the street; fash­ion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is hap­pen­ing.” So, what so­cial, cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ences is fash­ion re­flect­ing this fall? Karl Lager­feld’s space-themed pre­sen­ta­tion for Chanel—com­plete with a rocket—seems to sug­gest that we ought to grab our tweed and get the hell off Earth. But where Lager­feld pro­poses es­cape, other de­sign­ers seem to be grap­pling with the state of things—namely a pal­pa­ble feel­ing that the world is hang­ing by a thread. Twine was strewn across gar­ments at Mai­son Margiela; long threads hung from leather coats, folk­loric frocks and clutches at Alexan­der McQueen; and there was a pa­rade of patch­work sweaters trail­ing tufts of yarn as well as a num­ber of raw hems at Acne Stu­dios.

My dis­mal news feed may have coloured my spin on strings be­ing a har­bin­ger of a restive mood, but not all that dan­gles nec­es­sar­ily spells de­spair. Acne’s Jonny Jo­hans­son said his dan­gling tufts were in­spired by the hand pup­pets that artist Paul Klee made for his own son. In this in­stance, the er­rant threads evoke a home­spun and well-loved touch. The start­ing point for Sarah Bur­ton’s col­lec­tion for McQueen was a clootie well, a Celtic rit­ual where cloths dipped in a wa­ter source in­hab­ited by spir­its would be used to wash stricken parts of the body and then tied to nearby trees. The ex­pec­ta­tion was that when the rag dis­in­te­grated, one would ex­pe­ri­ence re­lief. For Margiela, John Gal­liano spliced in all kinds of Amer­i­can iconog­ra­phy—from the sil­hou­ette of the Statue of Lib­erty’s crown to patched quilts—with an un­der­ly­ing mes­sage that re­flected Amer­ica’s his­tory as be­ing wel­com­ing and open.

Mai­son Margiela is no stranger to de­con­struc­tion. Re­spond­ing to the op­u­lence of the ’80s, Martin Margiela, Rei Kawakubo and oth­ers re­vealed what lies be­neath, in­clud­ing zip­pers, lin­ings and raw hems that are at once de­sign­ing and un­de­sign­ing. Th­ese de­con­struc­tive de­tails now rou­tinely resur­face. Karin Veit, cre­ative di­rec­tor for Ger­man la­bel Marc Cain, says the frayed denim pieces from spring were car­ried over into knits for fall be­cause “ra­zor-frayed edges add just the right amount of im­per­fec­tion to a look.”

Los An­ge­les-based de­signer Raquel Al­le­gra launched her epony­mous line in 2003 with shred­ded tees, and while she ex­panded the col­lec­tion eight years ago, raw hems are a sea­sonal main­stay. She traces her love of loose threads to a self-suf­fi­cient youth spent shop­ping solely at thrift stores. “I have such a con­nec­tion with vin­tage, and when it’s worn the way I like it to be worn, the hems have fallen out and there are holes,” she says. “It doesn’t mat­ter what shape it’s in; if it’s per­fect in ev­ery other way, you want to wear it. That’s re­ally my start­ing point—want­ing to recre­ate that.”

For her fall col­lec­tion, which fea­tures un­rav­elled sweaters, un­fin­ished hems and ex­tra-long dan­gling ties, Al­le­gra drew from the 1973 Ja­panese erotic anime film Bel­ladonna of Sad­ness. In­spired by Jules Michelet’s 1862 book, La Sor­cière, the film tells the story of a peas­ant wo­man who seeks re­venge af­ter be­ing as­saulted by the vil­lage lord. The colour palette, as well as some sil­hou­ettes and de­con­structed edges, was taken from the film. Al­le­gra said she re­lated to the pro­tag­o­nist in an in­di­rect way. “I was ac­tu­ally go­ing through my own breakup of a very long, painful re­la­tion­ship, and I had started to com­pletely lose my­self,” she says. A trip to Costa Rica com­bin­ing yoga and bare­back work with horses helped her find her­self again. “All of this kind of hap­pened at the same time, so there are a lot of lay­ers.”

Look­ing at th­ese col­lec­tions, it dawned on me that I’ve never owned as many frayed, im­per­fect pieces as I do right now. Within the past year, I’ve cut the pris­tine hems off more than a few T-shirts and pairs of jeans—that is, if they didn’t al­ready come that way. I hadn’t con­sid­ered why be­fore, but I’m start­ing to see a thread. I’d share what it is, but I think it’s best left dan­gling.

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