As­so­ci­ate Fash­ion News Editor Ger­ald Tan muses on the long-last­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween youth and fash­ion

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

In 1969,Yves Saint Lau­rent opened the sec­ond Rive Gauche bou­tique in Lon­don. Flanked by his muses Betty Ca­troux and Loulou de la Falaise, Saint Lau­rent was on top of the world.The seis­mic ef­fects of Youthquake—a term coined by DianaVree­land to de­scribe a gen­er­a­tion of youths re­volt­ing against con­ven­tion through art, mu­sic and fash­ion—was rip­pling across the world, and Saint Lau­rent was fash­ion’s newly crowned king. Saint Lau­rent was but one of the many de­sign­ers who recog­nised the power that was spilling from the side­walks and onto the cat­walks. If fash­ion is an ex­pres­sion of the times, then it was the young who bravely wore their be­liefs and at­ti­tudes on their sleeves best. In fact, from the late ’50s to the Swing­ing Six­ties, where Teddy Boys and Beat­niks stood arm in arm, rock­ing and bop­ping in their leather jack­ets and drain­pipes to the “devil’s” mu­sic, cloth­ing was no longer just gar­ments— it be­came a code of arms, a vis­ual lan­guage that brought to­gether like-minded in­di­vid­u­als to form unique com­mu­ni­ties. The in­ex­pli­ca­ble link be­tween fash­ion, youth and the var­i­ous sub­cul­tures they drive is more than just a body fetish or a mental ideal. In­stead, when the young ques­tion au­thor­ity and chal­lenge the sta­tus quo, they be­come har­bin­gers of change. And change is es­sen­tial to fash­ion be­cause it al­lows vis­ual ter­mi­nolo­gies to evolve. From the mo­ment Saint Lau­rent rejected the rules of the Old World, many de­sign­ers stepped for­ward to let their clothes be­come mouth­pieces for youth.Vivi­enne West­wood be­came the flame-haired icon of punk. For more than 30 years, the out­spo­ken de­signer Wal­terVan Beiren­donck has in­stilled a po­lit­i­cal bent with his over-the-top col­lec­tions, fa­cil­i­tat­ing dis­cus­sions on race and sex­u­al­ity at his epony­mous la­bel.At An­twerp Royal Acad­emy of Fine Art, where he lec­tures, Beiren­donck is shap­ing the minds of as­pir­ing young fash­ion de­sign­ers. Some of his stu­dents who have gone on to ob­ses­sively ex­plore youth codes in­clude the likes of Raf Si­mons and Kris van Ass­che. How­ever, it is fash­ion’s full em­brace of streetwear and sports­wear that has be­come the uni­form for to­day’s mil­len­ni­als, given the re­cent ex­plo­sion of new tal­ents that has dis­rupted the fash­ion scene. In New York, Hood By Air’s in­stantly recog­nis­able graphic t-shirts and hood­ies form the core of a brand that throws ex­pec­ta­tions of what con­ven­tional streetwear should look like out of the win­dow. Spear­headed by Shayne Oliver and Raul Lopez, it turns the Big Ap­ple’s eclec­tic nightlife scene and the fear­less energy of be­ing young into a pul­sat­ing remix of gen­der­less, de­con­structed clothes. Gosha Rubchin­skiy’s de­signs have also con­nected with Rus­sian youths who are ques­tion­ing their iden­ti­ties and build­ing their fu­ture dur­ing this post-Soviet Union era. Sim­i­larly, the unprecedented suc­cess of the Gvasalia broth­ers and their col­lec­tive atVete­ments have proven that cloth­ing—no mat­ter how sim­ple or ex­trav­a­gant—will al­ways ac­com­pany a gen­er­a­tion’s search for sta­tus and the im­pe­tus for change.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.