I am straight. This must be stated for the purpose of this article, because it’s about my history of buying women’s clothes.
It’s August, the lull before the storm of the fashion month that will start in early September in New York and will end in early October in Paris.
During this past fashion show season one of the most talked about collections was the runway debut of Bottega Veneta under its new creative director, Daniel Lee.
Last year the blogger Venkatesh Rao coined the term “premium mediocre.” He was referring to a segment of economic activity largely dreamed up by marketers to give the consumerist masses an illusion that they are consuming luxury, when they were doing nothing of the sort.
The recent scandal involving the staff at a Balenciaga corner at Printemps, the Paris department store, in which it allegedly discriminated against a Chinese shopper, is reprehensible in its own right.
This year amidst the usual barrage of “news” about collaborations, must-cop listicles, and the importance of Dad sneakers, a few articles in the press aimed at fashion and streetwear actually tried to address something worthwhile, namely, what’s happening to today’s youth, specifically in the cultural space, and even more specifically as it relates to style.
New York Fashion Week has become such a dispiriting spectacle of banality and celebrity entertainment that I did not go a single show. So, on to Paris, the home of real design, or, more accurately, a place where real design is shown.
This past June in Paris I was sitting in the lobby bar of the InterContinental hotel, catching up with a prominent boutique owner after the Haider Ackermann menswear show. She was in dour spirits. “How am I supposed to sell fashion when even people who go to shows don’t wear fashion?” she asked ruefully and rhetorically. She was referring to the way the continuing casualization of style has been taking a toll on designer fashion at large. She was right. Today, one can see fashion insiders sporting Adidas track pants or a Nike jacket worn by a so-called “fashion person,” as likely as say a Rick Owens leather or a Celine bag. Last season, Instagram feeds of street style photographers were flooded with images of fashion people in Thrasher magazine t-shirts. This time the trend seemed to pivot in a new direction, as time after time I spotted attendees in various band t-shirts – Hole, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, and so on.
When Supreme started making clothes in 1994, its ethos was crystal clear. It was a downtown skate brand for downtown skaters.
As Volga Volga prepares to show its collection for the first time at Pitti Uomo in Florence, we talk in depth with the Tokyo-based, Russian born designer who has spent years working with Yohji Yamamoto and has collaborated with Comme des Garcons.