A long long time ago in a fashion once upon a time, in the magical land of Chanel. The ruler, a man by the name of Karl Lagerfeld, looked out upon the land of well heeled elite sporting big jewelry and expensive tailored taste, and declared to the rest of the world, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control over your life so you bought some sweatpants.” Right then, bet he didn’t see Norm Core coming embodied by his muse Cara Delavigne.
The last year or so brought a big change quickly in fashion ,the anti style movement, the new grunge, called, “The Art of Dressing Normal” by the recent Gap Campaign.
The establishment was quickly overturned as too ornamental, too contrived, too much, and too old. The cool kid, the hipster, the fan of vintage ironic t’s took over, and YSL, now Saint Laurent, as if psychic anticipated the trend and put Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson in their Spring 2013 ad campaign. Their company makeover catered to tailored Rockers like many of their remarkably hip and cool employees. Go into any of their stores you will see what I mean.St Laurent 2013 spring ad campaign
Street Influence coming into the upper stratosphere of society is a cycle that we see repeating in history. The story goes- the Swiss Army ( Swiss Army- not an oxymoron at the time) Beat the Duke of Burgandy’s royal butt into the ground in 1475. The German Mercenaries, employed in the Army, repaired their clothes with his fine material effectively creating the Dagged and Slashed look. Form followed fashion, and it became the manner in which men of arms would treat their clothes in an attempt to provoke a fight and prove their skills. The nobles romantically embraced the look which later became the rage throughout the 15th Century, Like on this Buxom fellow, King Henry the 8th.im
Later in revolutionary France you have the same thing happening with a group of men given the name Sans Cullottes. They were the idealized revolutionary, they effected an exaggerated manner of speech and dress that was meant to provoke a fight as well. And though swords had been banned, they developed a very equally flowery but effective art called Le Canne Francaise- or Cane fighting. The revolution espoused the ideas of Freedom, Equality, and brotherhood for all against the decadence of the French Empire. Sans Cullottes fashion became political, everyone adopting the dress as a form of solidarity for fear of being beheaded.
Which speeds us back to today. At the quick appearance and disappearance of norm core but the remaining of street chic as a prevalent trend, I started to ask questions , why? Many people under 25 I spoke to described a disconnect between what they were seeing in the magazines and themselves. Not only the over retouching, the over slimming, idealized impossible versions of beauty, but they did not desire to consume classic silhouettes and what they termed of as old lady clothing. Jewelry was now tiny and gold, slim chains around svelte ankles and necks, stacked rings. Mind you, the clothing was no less expensive, the kids saved for the coveted Balenciaga or St Laurent broken in Moto jacket, two labels that had anticipated the social change and had adapted long before any other brand had. This jacket was now paired with trainers, which could be equally Converse or Nike as it could be Louboutin, and a broken in beat up tshirt they may have slept in with their bra showing. High low was now it. Your makeup is fresh, you hair disheveled.
Enter Ricardo Tisci appointed in 2005 for Givenchy. Not Only Could Ricardo give us confections that would have made Mcqueen proud , he gave Givenchy street cred with the people he is friends with and his public unwillingness to bow down to any social pressure. He’s got the I don’t give a f@*# of an Enfant Terrible, coupled with loyalty. A rare trait in any business. Take a look at his instagram and it completely encapsulates the new wave of fashion.
The new Fashionista, is a pop cultuarist. A musical elitist. They may not have come from the best families or swiss boarding schools. They never had a coming out debut. Some call it the New Bohemian, regardless there is something Maudlin about it. They are mixed races, international from all types of social backgrounds listening to all sorts of music. They are into art- maybe because of graffiti. Sometimes they are way too into themselves. Most have tattoos, and they never associate with the word hipster. Fashion is reflecting where we are going and rejecting where we came from, the street is influencing every level of society, recorded daily in the endless arrays of selfies reflecting back at us. Even King Karl felt the coming of the new tide. He designed a jean line for Chanel and on his finale look for fall 2014 on the beautiful Cara Delavigne, a pink distressed nod to Jog pants.