What will remain of these Street years?
Text Jacopo Bedussi
Following June’s menswear session, there’s a feeling of suspension. After having achieved the peak of the street parabola, now we are facing an alienating standstill. The blob that has swallowed up everything seems to have run short of growth space after having eaten up every asset, conquered seemingly unattainable targets, achieved the limits of the fashion system. No more collaborations are possible since all the collaborations have been carried out, like in that story by Borges, in which instead of the Library of Babel there’s an ideal shoe rack containing all the models of all sneaker shoes, made of all materials and in all the possible variants.
The lack of enthusiasm is clear and people wonder how the backlash will turn out to be, will the street fall apart turning itself into a white dwarf powered by a niche of nostalgists who will phlegmatically wear a bucket hat until their retirement? Or, will it switch off leaving aside season by season, the big shoes at first, and trapper sunglasses, bold prints then, up to restoring a sartorial integrity in bodies? The fashion shows for the upcoming spring summer season do not offer giblets for vaticination, and we, wannabe-haruspexes of coolness had to make the best of private ravings and blind bets.
Even seemingly hot gaming-tables for staking to gain an opening on newness were more reactionary than expected: Virgil Abloh has not changed the rules at Vuitton; Kim Jones at Dior Men (previously, Homme) has opted for the third path of a quiet revolution gladdened by a teen exoticism; Raf Simons, despite the change in location from New York to Paris, has hanged on to his (own) line.
The independent brands, smaller houses compared to the big names, create second defense lines that are about to break down and reach the battlefield to be rewarded with medals and honors. Just look at the stellar front row at Alyx: street style gets intellectualized, it chooses characters, materials and functions which used to be under the street, in clubs full of smoke, or who were used to sleep in the street.
Text Carlo Mazzoni
The reasoning starts from men’s fashion, because it is with men’s fashion that evolutions can be understood. All the changes first appear on the catwalks of men fashion shows, and then on the women’s: the field of action on the masculine figure is reduced, creativity struggles and produces innovation.
In this moment, any stock that refers to Streetwear culture is sold in one week. Buyers purchase Streetwear – whether it is a big house that compels a forced price (generally, 2.1) or better, a small company with which they can establish their profit up to 3.5.
Do not forget that Italy has always been producing business fashion: feet on the ground and business plan at hand, the Italian companies are the epitome of real productivity. Always business-focused, in the first row, always looking ahead– never becoming followers. For the latest collections of June, between Milan and Paris, while all the houses were playing on elastic and plastic cottons for jumping and dancing, sport and astronaut outer space, Prada has evoked a man from the Seventies. Tight-fitting trousers with high crotch, also bell-bottomed, short jackets almost sloping and structured shoulders, damp colours, English college stems. Recurring themes for Gucci, but Prada were accurate in this aesthetic concept – and in the panorama of current and worldwide fashion, such a tapering and a bit rock concept can only remind of a name: Heidi Slimane
Heidi Slimane will make his debut in Paris with Celine’s women collection and will invent men’s, for Celine, based on a code which is not alien to his thinking. Slimane is a professional – Celine is a LVMH company, both esthetically and commercially sound. The question and the expectancy on what it he will do is proper– and Prada, with its latest men’s fashion show wanted to express its approval, to welcome and to introduce Slimane’s next work, aiming at identifying some possibilities, making a prediction and I would say even betting on it. For many years, Prada has been able more than any other company to predict future times. The other houses grasp at it through cycles, while Prada is the only company that remains firm in its hype – that is: Prada is always Prada, the others do what Prada does. If today Prada is heading towards one direction, presumably Celine, the symptom is towering.
This is the question, simply: what will come out from the contrast between what Slimane will do at Celine and the bombastic success of today’ Streetwear? We don’t have to think in terms of those who stay, who win, who fall– but we have to wonder how the two aesthetic concepts may interact with one another and how the market demands will evolve.