The connection between fashion and Halloween is obvious. The lines are often blurred between what is a costume and what is wearable. Furthermore, some designers have an ongoing obsession with the macabre, the spooky, and the otherworldly.
The recent collections are a mixed bag. They go from one end of the design spectrum to the other. To best illustrate, I’ve chosen nine different themes that played out during fashion month. I show its tricky, costumey version alongside its more straightforward, wearable form. Of course, one person’s trick is another’s treat. I guess that’s for you to decide.
For some strange reason, netting is a trend for spring. The New York-based designer collective Vaquera always likes to poke fun and exaggerate. They showed their floor-length black net dress over nothing but bare skin as an homage to friends wearing bedclothes during the day. Dries Van Noten, inspired by the relaxed beach LA lifestyle, creates a netted ‘sweatshirt’ and layers it over a crisp white shirt and Bermuda’s, making it sporty and wearable.
London’s Matty Bovan let his imagination fly during the lockdown. Bovan’s displays colorful pan historic creations on lifeless dolls. If not precisely wearable, they exemplify Matty’s passion for the artisanal and homemade. However, Miuccia Prada has a far more realistic- and athletic-take on the clashing color trend. Her Miu Miu collection is perfect when you don’t know if you want to play a sport or head to a cocktail party.
Julien Dossena, creative director of Paco Rabanne, ends his eclectic show with armor groups like dresses in gold and silver paillettes, complete with masks. If not exactly practical, they certainly make a statement. Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli juxtaposes a simple long-sleeved top covered in silver sequins with wide-legged khaki pants. The designer proves a little goes a long way.
The Strong Shouldered Pantsuit:
For spring, Balmain’s Olivier Roustieng endorses the brashly colored sharply tailored pantsuit with exaggerated pagoda shoulders. Rousteing believes that nothing is as impactful or commands a Zoom meeting as much attention as these shoulders. They are not for everyone. A better idea is what Matthew Williams has in mind for his first collection for Givenchy. Matthew’s’ “elegant, powerful, and chic” neutral-hued pantsuits are commanding and sleek. The extended sleeves ensure you stay socially distant from your fellow citizens.
Michael Halpern’s entire collection, shown in London, has an unapologetically happy, retro feel. It’s hard not to smile when you see Michael’s feathered mini. However, juxtaposing an abbreviated feathered top with sporty track pants, as proposed by Christelle Koche for KOCHÉ, makes it much more relevant and believable. Especially today.
The Utility Jacket:
Designers continue to be creative, especially when it comes to wardrobe basics, like the humble green utility jacket. At the KOCHÉ presentation in Paris, the multi-pocketed jacket looks great, but it is rendered almost unrecognizable. Monse’s designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia add sequins to the jacket and show it over bicycle shorts. It looks sporty, cool, and desirable.
Patchwork has a homespun, retro vibe that is well suited for now. Matty Bovan is known for his colorful patchwork sculptures. They are exceptional works of art but not exactly wearable. At Dolce & Gabbana’s 98 piece collection, patchwork designs are far more wearable. One standout is the tailored pantsuit that opened the show in Milan.
The Little Black Dress:
The avant-garde design team Threeasfour, is known for its innovative designs. Gabi, Adi, and Angela’s 3D little black dress is indeed museum-worthy. But try sitting in it. Pierpaolo Piccioli’s rendition of the “lbd” for Valentino comprises an abbreviated tunic and shorts, making it practical and perfect for now.
Voluminous rounded shapes, touches of lace, and pearl accessories are the name of the game at Simone Rocha; always a study in unabashed goth femininity. Simone’s designs speak to a distant time and place and they are for a very specific woman. At Altuzarra, baroque pearl buttons are used chicly, with restraint, and with a purpose in mind; allowing the wearer to decide how much skin to show.