by Claire Kalikman
2017 was a confusing year, even in the world of fashion. At any given time, blogs and media outlets were reporting on Fall ‘16, Spring ‘17, and Resort collections, making it difficult to tell what was in and what was out. The most talked about collections garnered attention for a variety of reasons: some of them for their true artistic vision, and others for their provocative pornographic inspirations. Yet others showcased seasoned designers in a new light, making 2017 the year of the unlikely comeback.
My Personal Favorite: Gucci Resort 2017
Images via Vogue
Fan favorite Alessandro Michele wowed again with his patented combination of grandma-vintage-cool kid. Michele is known for his combinations of old and new, masculine and feminine, and cool and kitsch. His pieces are colorful and pattern-ridden, making them easy to recognize. The outfits shown could be worn as one over the top ensemble, or as individual pieces to complement an otherwise simple outfit. I loved the turbans, a mix between babushka and mystery lady. The general public seems smitten with the rainbow platform sneakers; knockoffs quickly appeared at Superga.
The Most Talked About: Yeezy Season 5
Images via WWD
I’m personally distraught that I have to discuss Kanye West when talking about high fashion, but it wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of the year if I didn’t. Rap artist and husband of Kim Kardashian has made waves in the fashion world in recent years. The fashion world did question itself after his disastrous Season 4 show, punctuated by a half-baked political message, four-hour travel time, fainting models, and, the most disappointing part, boring and predictable clothing. Why did the fashion intelligentsia and press allow and report on his ventures into the fashion world?
Comparatively, his Season 5 show was remarkably toned down. It took place in a standard location, with no gimmicks. The clothes were similarly basic and uneventful. They fit in with the current standard of ironic 90s streetwear. Mom jeans, Adidas everything, plain baseball caps, denim on denim, and oversized sweatshirts paired with over-the-knee boots. Lots of logos and Los Angeles references. All of it was very thrift store un-chic, and “I bought this because it’s funny and un-cool, which somehow makes it the epitome of cool”.
The Comeback Kid: Maison Margiela
Images via Vogue
Formerly embattled, now sober, John Galliano took the reins of Maison Margiela in 2014, and his Spring 2017 collection was the first one that was widely celebrated. It combined old world chic with pop art faces filtered through a social media lens. A lot of the makeup was Picasso-esque, with thin sheets covering the models’ faces, and makeup applied over that in a distorted manner. Many looks required close examination to figure out the mechanics, or to fully see all the layers. The color red, big hats, and cutaways were all motifs of the collection.
The Controversial: Hood by Air Spring 2017
Images via Vogue
Hood by Air always seems to produce something to talk about, and this year was no different. For their Spring 2017 show, designer Shayne Oliver collaborated with an unlikely source: Pornhub. Moral questions aside, this marks the pinnacle of the trend of unlikely partnerships in fashion, such as Moschino and McDonalds, or Apple and Hermès. Perhaps it’s all part of the effort for brands to adapt to a changing retail landscape and appeal to younger audiences. Pornhub is after all one of the most-trafficked websites. The collaboration manifested itself mostly in words: the label “wench” was slapped onto many outfits, as well as a parent advisories, and the most famous public service announcement, “do you know where your children are?” In its subversiveness, this collection was classic Hood by Air.
The Might Have Been: Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2017
Images via Vogue
The Diane von Furstenberg 2017 Spring Collection marked a first and a last: the first great collection by new created chief creative officer Jonathan Saunders, and the last before his departure from that role after only 18 months. The reasons for his departure are shrouded in mystery, and both Saunders and von Furstenberg have publicly said only kind things about each other. This collection is a good indication of what might have been. It combines Saunders’ personal design philosophy, honed after 12 years at the helm of his own eponymous label, mixed with distinctive DVF elements. Many looks rework the most famous silhouette: the wrap dress. The dress has been deconstructed, and rendered in wild prints. Many of the clothes have a real-world wearability that many other collections lack. Alas, we only got a taste of what this collaboration of two of fashion’s biggest superstars could have been. No replacement has been named for Saunders as of yet, so perhaps the world will get a bit more true von Furstenberg style in the mean time.