Joie de vivre
Fashion has entered a stage of wilful, rebellious optimism, says Kenya Hunt, where anything goes as long as you feel good in it
We’ve entered a moment of rebellious optimism. Throw away the rule book, wear what makes you happy – and dance, girl!
When was the last time you danced so hard you got light-headed, or laughed so hard your cheeks hurt? Fashion wants you to do more of this, my friends. Case in point: the SS17 runway season, where the clothes were a riot of print, colour, fizz, vivacity, sparkle and joie de vivre. A celebration of life, honey! With gorgeous girls dancing. And dancing. And dancing. Fashion has entered a stage of wilful, rebellious optimism, challenging you to be happy and giving you permission to wear any colour or print you desire, preferably all at once. Ideas that were once considered too frivolous, uncool or downright tacky are now highly encouraged. As I write this, for example, I’m strongly considering a graphic Prada skirt, trimmed in lemony ostrich feathers… for work. It’s the kind of piece I might have balked at in
2015, but in 2017, it just feels right. When anxiety levels have risen among women, and employment rates are high but the number of people feeling their life is worthwhile isn’t, the jolt of sartorial serotonin is much appreciated*.
The party began at the shows. At Molly Goddard, a small rave happened at the foot of the runway during London Fashion Week, models swaying and bobbing in neon-coloured smocked tulle, like they were high on, well, molly. The following week in Milan, models performed a choreographed lindy hop in cheery gingham at Antonio Marras, then a flash mob, complete with blinking lights and blingy sequins, broke out at Dolce & Gabbana, while jazz hands clad in white gloves bounced around primarycoloured leather handbags at Tod’s.
Later that month in Paris, interpretive dance was the backdrop for Maison Rabih Kayrouz’s voluminous lilac and yellow dresses – all this just days before Stella McCartney’s models surprised the audience with a dance battle, her ‘soldiers’ dressed in vibrant slogan tees and graphic bodysuits. When the models weren’t dancing on the SS17 runway, the clothes were: those feathers shaking to and fro at not only Prada, but Marques’ Almeida and Proenza Schouler too, or full skirts swinging side to side at J.W. Anderson.
Meanwhile, pop culture has experienced its own jollification. Who could resist the image of Los Angeles rush-hour commuters, singing and twirling on top of their stalled cars in the awards-season hit film La La Land?
But back to the fashion: you could read all this revelry in one of two ways. A) It’s a gimmick. A grab for headlines and social media likes because the industry has become so oversaturated that people literally have to stage a party and whip up an Instagrammable kaleidoscope of print and trimmings to grab and hold your attention. Or B) It’s an attempt to put a sense of fun and buoyancy back into our wardrobes and seize our happiness back from world events. And while there are examples of option A, I think this brighter new mood is a result of the latter. Dance is fun! Colour is enjoyable! And print can make you feel good. There’s no time like the present to cheer up.
‘Ideas that were once considered too frivolous, uncool or downright tacky are now highly encouraged’
JACQUARD COAT, £1,140, PAUL SMITH. WOOL JUMPSUIT, £1,290, NATASHA ZINKO. LEATHER SHOES, £75, DUNE