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ALISON WITT/CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS FASHION JOURNALISM COURSE/RUNWAY SAMPLE PIECE
Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia is prepared for the apocalypse. For a generation tuned into the scientific reality of climate change, Balenciaga’s Paris Fashion Week fall-winter 2020 Ready-to-Wear show evoked worst fears. Yesterday, angular models walked a water-flooded runway and braved a fiery red, lightning-stricken sky all in the name of fashion.
This foreboding scene, of a world we hope to avoid, dulled the immediate joy of viewing a runway show. But attention to Gvasalia’s androgynous and voluminous designs provided necessary hope. Motocross and football kits in primary colors demonstrated a fighting spirit while a skin-tight gloved dress re-purposed an overgrowth of blooming florals as adornment. A gunmetal sequin bodysuit bared the shoulders and clavicles of a model standing tall against the storm. And black wool trenches took on new life as protective armor.
Balenciaga’s apocalypse is populated then, not by those who have given in to the downward trajectory of our world, but instead by modern warriors. Men and women, of all backgrounds and ages, decked out to protect humanity’s legacy.
If spectators were not yet attuned to the hopeful message hidden in Gvasalia’s storm, one of the final pieces certainly ‘provided shelter.’ A black sequined column gown, with an arm-baring turtleneck cut, should certainly be worn by one of today’s activist-stars on the red carpet. Balenciaga proves that even during an apocalypse, there’s always room for glamour.
ALISON WITT/CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS FASHION JOURNALISM COURSE/RUNWAY SAMPLE PIECE #2
The Grand Palais no more: The Parisian fashion elite traded in the city lights for an escapist seaside dream at yesterday’s Chanel spring-summer 2019 Paris Fashion Week runway show. Karl Lagerfeld transformed the storied museum into an island oasis complete with a blue skyscape, sand underfoot, and gentle waves crashing over models’ feet.
The classic Chanel dream: luxury, ease, and wanderlust, in place, the barrage of models strolling bare-footed down the sand grounded the show in Coco Chanel-esque Parisian reality. Lagerfeld showcased clothing made to be worn by ‘real’ French women, from oversized tweed outerwear to capri-length biker shorts, on ‘real’ girls, Kaia Gerber included, that consumers will resonate with.
The shows’ relatability and classically-made garments seemed detached from the masterfully- crafted beach. Apart from raffia caps and clear logoed mules, destined to become the next influencer ‘it’ shoe, the collection was largely free of the set’s influence. Instead, Lagerfeld’s ability to reference the House’s past hits, such as touches of textured pink, while appealing to a younger generation with chained micro-minis and an excess of quilted bags, was on display.
When asked about his references, Lagerfeld replied with one word, “youth.” True to his word, the island-dream of a set and the city-ready collection worked together to sell a millennial audience on Chanel.
ALISON WITT/CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS FASHION JOURNALISM COURSE/INSTAGRAM SAMPLE PIECE
Apocalyptic Inspiration. Thanks to @balenciaga @demnagvasalia, I now plan to don a teal leather trench and carry an oversized City Bag as the fires take me. But really, pink over-the-knee boots are the perfect silhouette to stomp and make some noise against climate change! Alongside Balenciaga’s modern warriors, of course…
ALISON WITT/CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS FASHION JOURNALISM COURSE/SOFT NEWS SAMPLE PIECE
Christina Aguilera music videos airing on MTV inspired many to don midriff-baring tops and hip-slinging jeans. Twenty years later, the sartorial risks of Rihanna equally encourage streetwear and sharp suiting. Children of the aughts grew up and now live in an era where music and fashion are intertwined. Drawing on this truth, The British Fashion Council, MTV, and partners are providing millennial designers with a major platform this February London Fashion Week. Their “Music Meets Fashion Competition,” encourages fashion students to create eco-conscious designs inspired by MTV. A panel of judges, including sportswear brand ICEBERG’s creative director, James Long, will choose five finalists to present their musical masterpieces this June. The ultimate winner will then get to experience their designs parade the catwalk at this September’s London Fashion Week and sold on the high-street at River Island. Work experience at an ICEBERG Milan Fashion Week show and a year’s fashion school tuition are the icing on the cake. With such a once-in-a-lifetime prize, we can only imagine the aughts-inspired pieces to come. Or for those designers with a more modern perspective, Rihanna’s Fenty and Kanye West’s Yeezy certainly provide lots of fashion inspiration as well.
ALISON WITT/CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS FASHION JOURNALISM COURSE/HARD NEWS SAMPLE PIECE
Amsterdam-based Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) received a three-year grant from The United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. This grant will fund a project to combat the growing and immediate problem of violence against women in Bangladeshi and Southern Indian garment-export factories. Up to 60% of the women employed in these factories experience harassment and/or abuse at their place of work. While local laws exist to protect women in the workplace, the complicated nature of garment supply chains often prevent their full implementation. Beginning in Autumn 2011, the FWF’s project, with the help of Bangladesh- and India-based non-profits, will work to overcome this barrier. The project aims to reduce verbal and physical violence in these factories by enforcing local laws and improving supply chain relations. As “Corporate Social Responsibility Concerns among clothing brands grow…the benefits to women [and to retail sales] of a workplace without violence are clear,” says Erica Van Doorn, director of the FWF. The FWF aims to show that such Better Practices benefit workers, factories, and brands alike. The hope is that successful project practices can then be exported to other industries and countries to ensure women in factories are humanely treated.