It was dark and well past the time when most sensible women embark on a walk in a city that is relatively unknown to them. It’s either a curse or a blessing, but I have a naive view that, for the most part, humans are decent. It’s an outlook that has served me well as I’ve travelled to places as far-flung as Tehran, Tecolutla and Tarija. In this instance, I had just left the Fall 2018 Prada show, which was held at the Fondazione Prada. It’s in an industrial area of Milan that is unapologetically uncool. It’s also rather desolate—especially at night. It’s set in the southern section of the city across from bleak railroad tracks, and there’s nothing gentrified about it. Instead of calling an Uber, I thought I would clock another 5,000+ steps on my Apple Watch by walking back to my hotel. At one point, as I was crossing the bridge over the tracks, I became acutely aware that I was alone and wondered if this had been a rather unwise decision. Nothing unsettling happened, but it later struck me as rather ironic that for this collection, Miuccia Prada had been inspired by the insecurity she felt when she was walking down the street one night. She said her dream “is for women to be able to go out in the street and not be afraid,” adding that she wanted her collection—with its acid-neon shades, chic galoshes and industry-style bucket hats—to reflect an exaggerated sense of freedom. She wasn’t the only designer whose work referenced our troubling times. An ominous tension was also felt at the Hermès and Missoni shows. At the Maison Margiela couture collection, John Galliano swaddled his models in tulle, obscuring the clothes underneath. He told Vogue.com that he was drawn to the idea of “creating your own world within a world that’s very troubled at the moment.” Tom Ford’s response to our dystopian mood was to bring back the OTT power suit, and Raf Simons at Calvin Klein armed his models with balaclavas and hazmat-like jackets. This get-ready-for-Armageddon mindset inspired The Draw’s theme this month, which is “The New Armour.” In “Warning Signs” (page 112), fashion features editor Isabel B. Slone explores the protective and aposematic style instincts that were on display this season. “Designers are on an apparent mass mission to make women look as imposing as possible,” she writes. According to beauty editor Souzan Michael, another antidote to all this unrest is rest. In her story “Sleep on It” (page 138), she chronicles our obsession with bedtime rituals and long restful sleeps. “Given the current political landscape, why wouldn’t people want to stay home and relax?” she writes. “When things get chaotic, it’s human nature to retreat.” Another way to rebuild your physical and metaphysical armour is to spend time in nature. We did that in a most spectacular fashion when we shot Dutch model Maartje Verhoef in an ice cave on a mountaintop outside Whistler, B.C. (See “Cool” on page 120.) Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Isn’t this kind of sensitive insight the best form of armour?
OUR COVER MODEL WORE A CAPE FROM MONCLER; I OPTED FOR A PUFFER BY QUARTZ CO. FOR MY HIKE TO WHISTLER MOUNTAIN’S INUKSHUK.
It was an honour to have Isamaya Ffrench (top left) share her makeup artistry with us in “Crazy Beauty” (page 60). The British makeup artist, who is a creative consultant with Tom Ford, is a rule-breaking beauty crusader with a wonderfully wild eye.
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