DAN­GER­OUS WOMEN

From po­lit­i­cal slo­ga­neer­ing to space-age es­capism, pulp-thriller femmes fa­tales to rad­i­cal blobs, Jamie Huck­body wel­comes a new fash­ion sea­son and asks, are you ready for lift-off?

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The News -

“Fash­ion is not vac­u­ous. It’s where a lot of ideas are con­veyed,” Mi­uc­cia Prada stated some years ago, as we dis­cussed pol­i­tics and rad­i­cal­ism over tea. “Fash­ion is far more se­ri­ous than peo­ple think.” It’s some­thing with which Diana Vree­land, the vi­sion­ary Harper’s BAZAAR ed­itrix (whose un­con­ven­tional wis­dom seems even more per­ti­nent in this, our 150th an­niver­sary year) would surely have agreed: “You can even see the ap­proach­ing of rev­o­lu­tion in clothes,” she fa­mously quipped.

So what to make of the Au­tumn/Win­ter ’17 col­lec­tions, hailed by many as the most rad­i­cal in years and set against a back­drop of po­lit­i­cal tur­moil in much of the West? Well, pro­ceed­ings kicked off with war of words in New York as de­sign­ers quickly mo­bilised them­selves into third-wave fem­i­nist for­ma­tion fol­low­ing newly crowned Trump’s with­drawal of fed­eral funds from or­gan­i­sa­tions that “pro­mote” abor­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally, his run­ning misog­y­nis­tic com­men­tary, and the im­mi­gra­tion ban. Cue Crea­tures of Com­fort’s long-sleeved silk tees em­bla­zoned with the slo­gan “We Are All Hu­man Be­ings”; Pra­bal Gu­rung’s fi­nale of pants suits and state­ment tees—“The Fu­ture Is Fe­male”, “I Am An Im­mi­grant”, “We Will Not Be Si­lenced”—and pin badges declar­ing “Fash­ion Stands With Planned Par­ent­hood” worn on the run­ways and front rows.

“It’s im­por­tant, no mat­ter whether you’re a fash­ion de­signer or an ac­tivist, to make a state­ment when­ever you have the op­por­tu­nity,” said Syd­ney-raised Ryan Lobo who, along with his Tome de­sign part­ner in crime, Ra­mon Martin, at­tended the Women’s March on Wash­ing­ton, DC, and took in­spi­ra­tion from Guer­rilla Girls, the anony­mous all-woman ac­tivist art co-op whose mem­bers Martin had the chance to meet. That ex­plained the “GG” ini­tialling on the backs of blazers and the trompe-l’oeil va-va-voom curves cre­ated from con­trast­ing pan­els and pip­ing with care­fully placed but­tons—a cheeky wink to the Free the Nip­ple cam­paign.

Not that ev­ery po­lit­i­cal state­ment was as ex­plicit. Raf Si­mons’s ro­man­tic, im­mi­grant’s view of Amer­i­cana for his Calvin Klein de­but saw the Bel­gian de­signer win both the menswear and wom­enswear De­signer of the Year gongs at this year’s CFDA awards, prov­ing yet again that the Amer­i­can dream has al­ways been cre­ated by/for the out­sider. “All of these dif­fer­ent peo­ple with dif­fer­ent styles and dress codes—it is the com­ing to­gether of dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters and dif­fer­ent in­di­vid­u­als,” Si­mons ex­plained, “just like Amer­ica it­self.”

Throw Brexit into the po­lit­i­cal hot­pot and the only thing on Lon­don de­sign­ers’ minds was to es­cape to the moon. “Any­where but here, right now,” said Christo­pher Kane in jest as he sent out origamisharp skirts, tops, and dresses sliced from posh draw­ing-room bro­cades; shiny flo­ral cor­sages and asym­met­ric metal­lic patch­works for a Brit aristo-Avatar mash-up. And with this inim­itable knack of

Maria Grazia Chi­uri’s demo­cratic col­lec­tion for Dior Au­tumn/Win­ter ’17

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