Spring-Summer 2019: Girls who are boys who are girls


Spring-Summer 2019: Girls who are boys who are girls

From New York to Paris to Milan the divide between women’s wear and men’s wear grows ever thinner

Keneilwe Pule

As a woman who often crosses the thinning line between masculinity and femininity I am rather pleased by the direction that women’s wear is taking at the moment, as gleaned from the fashion weeks that have just ended.
Dressing from the men’s closet was never an issue, but nothing fits as well as something tailored just to fit you, especially when oversized. 
Right now it has been great to see the pairing of sculpted tuxedos with loose fitting cargo trousers and a ribbed karate belt showcased by Givenchy – something we didn’t know we needed but are now deeply covetous of. 
The creative director of Givenchy, Clare Waight, said her muse this season was Annemarie Schwarzenbach, a woman who spent most of her life dressing and acting like a man.
Along with the masculine lines came a pleated dress in duck egg blue. Its airy softness created a good balance between the hard edges of the other clothes and the typical tenderness of femininity.
 Valentino’s show, however, provided a counterpoint to the gender neutral theme. For the first look, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli sent Kristen McMenamy down the runway in a billowing black dress with balloon sleeves, which was followed by an array of black looks, including the hyper feminine bubble skirt. Then Piccioli introduced colour in classic red Valentino dresses and fine-pleated dresses in burgundy and burnt orange.
Looking back at last week’s Paris street style during fashion week it is evident that the urge for women’s wear to merge with men’s wear and vice versa is becoming increasingly obvious. While Yohji Yamamoto centred his SS19 show on “a return to the right way for men and women to dress”, I am glad fashion continues to dance to its own tune. 
Dramatic sleeves
Nicolas Ghesquiere at Louis Vuitton created balloon sleeved bomber jackets inspired by futuristic forms. On closer inspection you can see a space suit silhouette with intricate folds reflective of the designer’s return to personalised obsessions – the edge between virtual reality and real life. Valentino also dabbled in balloon sleeves in off-the-shoulder dresses that would make any woman feel sensual.
The logo continues to rule over the runway. At Burberry, Riccardo Tisci introduced a new logo dug up from the house’s archives. Big and bold, this one will take time to get used to. In Paris, Karl Lagerfeld was sure not to miss the gravy train as letters spelling Chanel were seen across a two piece garment that many of us would not mind being spotted in. Valentino also showcased the logo in a capital letter V, quite minimal but still prominent enough to make a statement.
Pleats please
Poiret, Givenchy and Valentino showed off their skills in fine pleating for dresses and skirts. The volumes were loose and responsive to motion, making you wish you were the wind. All that can be said about the pleating technique is that nothing exudes as much relaxed elegance.
Sculpted tailoring
The strong and clean-cut shoulder that the creative director of Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia, re-imagined has kept that fashion house at the forefront of sculpted tailoring. “Fashion shows are for transporting people, otherwise there’s no point,” he says. Giambattista Valli also made headway for slim, sculpted tailoring with edges that looked razor sharp. For her 10th anniversary Victoria Beckham also delved into clean-cut suiting in a variety of colours.
Deconstructed co-ords
Another pertinent theme that filtered across different design houses was deconstructed co-ords. The leader of the pack was Sacai. Creative director Chitose Abe has an unrivalled way with scissors. Her pairing of a deconstructed tuxedo blazer with a hybrid skirt dress had a strange but befitting athletic look to it. Malene Odershede Bach also plunged into this trend albeit with a far more modest take.

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