Hear Out Polish Women!

Standing side by side with Polish women!

Last Thursday, Poland’s (UN)Constitutional Tribunal (an equivalent to the Supreme Court in USA) ruled to outlaw abortions due to fetal defects, making the country’s ban on abortion almost total. As of now, Poland will only allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the pregnant person’s life (note: even these cases are being hindered, and the ruling party aims to outlaw all kinds of abortions!), making the country one of the most hostile places in Europe for reproductive rights. The topic of abortion has been attacked by the ruling party for years, but now they are taking advantage of the pandemic, doing whatever they want. This is an attack on human rights. An attack on women. Disappointing, devastating and frustrating. Read more about the spectacular protests happening across the country here. Follow @strajk_kobiet and @stonewall_poland for more up-to-date information!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki featuring Saint Laurent AW20 collection.

I’m a Woman. Prada AW17

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Miuccia Prada is a woman. And she celebrates every aspect of that fact in her autumn-winter 2017 collection. Like an over-sized room of a teenager, the show’s venue was covered with film posters featuring female characters, while the guests sat on beds, instead of chairs. This room wasn’t just a room – it summed up a woman’s life, her experiences, desires, morals. Whether that was participating in Communist marches in 70s Italy or being a little girl who wanted to dress like a glamorous Milanesa, Prada‘s life is like a gripping book. But the concept wasn’t about her. It rather praised women she knows, she admires. Their assertiveness, point of views, femininity and approaches to life. Whether dressed in candy-pink dress with ostrich feather inserts or a boyish corduroy suit. Hand-knitted scarves, biker hats, woven bras, sea-shell necklaces – those pieces aren’t future must-haves of an it-girl, but an intimately rare access to Miuccia’s various associations of a woman. This show is the most beautifully executed moment of the season, so far.

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Female Power. Dilara Findikoglu SS17

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Although fashion tends to misinterpret the term feminism, it’s good to know that in London, there are designers who can pull off the topic in the right way. Born and raised in Turkey, Dilara Findikoglu knows what it’s like to live in a place, where political and social stability is constantly on its verge of collapse. The frequently ignored problem of women’s rights, and how they are treated back in her homeland threatens Dilara, and intensely affects her creativity. As a teenager, the to-be designer discovered young John Galliano’s work in one of the glossy magazines – for her, that was the dream. Although the plan of studying at Central Saint Martins wasn’t appreciated by her relatives, Findikoglu already decided what’s good for her. So here she’s today – on everybody lip’s, yet far from mainstream (she dressed Lady Gaga and FKA twigs, yes, however she isn’t into going the easy path).

Findikoglu presented a mind-blowing presentation for her spring-summer 2017 collection back in September. In a very naughtily appropriate place I might say – a neon-lit Soho strip-club. Dilara’s model-friends (like the women’s rights activist, Adwoa Aboah) wore clothes that overlapped different decades and eras of both restraining and liberating womenswear: from Tudor sleeves and terribly tight corsets to very Vivienne Westwood SEX punk garments, this collection isn’t even a bit close to other brands’ outings that we’ve seen before. But the goal behind Findikoglu’s latest line-up wasn’t making a collage-like mix of historically significant clothes. “It’s about how women’s bodies have been treated in different societies – what they were wearing and what they were doing, what the limitations on them were.”  While the models wore Victorian collars and PVC boots, it’s quite visible – the set, the one-of-a-kind pieces and the dominant colour of pink (all good girls wear pink, right?) weren’t all here by coincidence. Dilara enjoys messing up with stereotypes, and this brilliant collection suggests it’s the time of women. Make space for female power. These girls don’t care what you think of them, or whether you’re appealed by their feminine / perverse looks. If I would to choose a collection that colloquially ‘slays’, then Findikoglu’s gang tops the list.

Photographs by Frederico Ferrari and Lillie Eiger.

Europe. Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood SS17

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Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood is a love affair between those two designers both in fashion, and in life. It’s the second season where Andreas fully leads the main-line of Westwood’s punk-empire, and it’s madly good. Inspired with European cultures, Kronthaler took a glance at Slavic symbolism, and sent out a model wearing a voluminous, straw garment which might be a dress (or a coat). Heavily ornamented bustier necklines were exaggerated, too, but this time the direction turned to Marie Antoinette times and pre-revolution France. The model in a drifty, multi-coloured frame was an abstract vision of a woman at a typically Dutch market stall. It perceivable that the creative director is intrigued with Old Europe’s contrasts and history – he cleverly delivered those accents in a humorous, very dramatic way. But the collection isn’t only about the past. It smartly moves the topic of feminism (and femininity), so something that still triggers so many intense discussions in few European countries. A jersey dress with trompe l’oeil illustration of naked body, or a violently ripped skirt which exposed spring-summer 2017 swimwear were the most thoughtful, yet catchy looks.

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A Matter of Feminism. Dior SS17

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Today in Poland, thousands of brave women and great men walked down the streets wearing black. They were protesting in solidarity against an anti-abortion law, which is meant to be introduced by the Polish government – in other words, instead of spreading sexual awareness and wider access to contraception, politicians want to utterly limit women’s rights to their bodies in my country. And all of that happens at the same time when Paris Fashion Week is at its full spin. Rarely does a fashion week glamorama relate to reality, and it’s nearly a non-sense to compare those two, completely different universes. But still, Dior‘s spring-summer 2017 burns in my head intensely, noting today’s events.

A few months ago, Maria-Grazia Chiuri, a former designer of Valentino (she worked with Pierpaolo Piccioli, who’s now the head of the brand), was announced as the new creative director of this historic French maison. Yes, you’ve read that correctly: a woman is taking Dior under her wings. Chiuri definitely made history with her appointment, and her step forward highlighted that it’s an ultimate end of a women-less era in fashion… which is, ironically, mostly created for women. Trust me, I was extremely excited about her debut collection. But when I saw the entire show, I felt disgusted. A dummy knew that Maria-Grazia would hit the topic of her own phenomenal appearance in this brand.

In result, she delivered t-shirts with slogans like “we should all be feminists“. How. Banal.

From a position of a female fashion designer, who did Valentino, and now does Dior, being a “feminist” should give an example to millions of people – really, the platform of influence is huge. But in the end, it’s about a t-shirt, which will surely cost approximately 200 euros (or more?). Looking down, we’ve got a meticulously embroidered tulle dress, which will, hah, cost a car. I love fashion, and this industry, but I’m frustrated with the way such important topics as “feminism” is easily printed and tagged around. It’s just about being desperately relevant. It’s like the spring-summer 2015 collection by Chanel, where Karl Largerfeld sent out a line of XS-sized models in couture tweeds to protest in a faux demonstration. In my very personal opinion, coining the term “feminism” can’t be anyhow compared to egalitarian (Valentino and Chanel are far from affordable), or can’t be approached lightly, without a second thought. And while I’m still in the mood of protests and outrage, seeing a fashion collection which is “trying” to be feminist hurts.

Ok, let me chill. Do you want to see real feminism in fashion? Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons. She is the founder of her entire company, and she continues to thrive as an independent owner of it. Phoebe Philo is the embodiment of feminism at Céline, where she creates wearable, everyday clothes for every kind of women. It’s pricey, but a Philo piece is an investment for life. While at Valentino, we’ve got ballerina dresses, tons of embellishments and Dior-logo heels – barely classics. Not that Maria-Grazia Chiuri is a bad designer, or anything like that. I just hope that her tenure at Dior won’t end with a pack of short-sighted slogans.

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