It would be just dumb to try to sum up Helmut Lang in a few words. His massive, creative legacy flows in nearly every second designer’s blood today, from the reoccurring notion of ‘urban minimalism’ to growing tendency of inviting various models and nodels to walk in fashion shows. Let just say one of the biggest Lang-isms revived in Shayne Oliver‘s debut collection at the brand (whose editor-in-residence is Isabella Burley) was sensuality, or rather its much, much filthier side. If you look back at Helmut’s collection from the 90s and early 2000s, you will note that the visionary designer enjoyed playing with transparency and made the hardest-in-use fabrics look refined on the body. For Oliver, sensuality is something much more, hmm, aggressive. It’s kinky. It’s BDSM-inspired, with lots of untamed nudity and boldness. There were lots of irregularly fitted bras, lots of leather and lots of New York-favoured trashiness to it. Actually, the collection had a lot to do with Shayne’s currently under hiatus Hood By Air brand that used to be tagged as the most ‘disruptive’ brand of the New York fashion week’s calendar. Sexuality is a big word this season, and while designers think of it in more subtle and natural ways, Oliver is undoubtedly going very ‘badass’ with it. It’s good that the designer isn’t digging to hard in Lang’s archives. But I’m not absolutely persuaded that the capital letter HELMUT written all over the t-shirts and coats is what the founder thought of. Helmut kept the mood bit more calmer, sans caps-lock. Nevertheless, that was definitely the most anticipated collection this time around in the Big Apple.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Finding those Miu Miu cowboy boots from spring-summer 1999 on the web a few days ago made me think for a while. Those shoes can be worn with the same (or even better today) relevance, whether it’s the 90s or 2017. My other thought was, ‘wait, I’ve seen that shoe shape countless of times this season’s’, starting from Calvin Klein and ending on Louis Vuitton. My last thought, and the most clear-headed one, was simple: they are just ugly. Lets not lie to ourselves, the colour, the wooden heel, the ultimately appalling look of these shoes makes them ugly in every single aspect.
But ugly is fun. And fashion loves fun. So, apparently, fashion loves ugliness. For instance, Miuccia Prada (the designer behind these cowboy stompers above) is the pioneer of ‘ugly’ in fashion, successfully selling nylon backpacks at Prada and pulling the envelope even further each season in questioning the term ‘good taste’. No one can help it – the uglier, the better. But am I frustrated with that fact? The answer is no. I will never forget Phoebe Philo’s massive impact on ugly footwear, after presenting at her Céline spring-summer 2013 runway THOSE sandals with fur. The instant reaction was bad, just read through the self-acclaimed fashionistas’ comments on some of Blogspot’s virtual junk-sites. But, as time has shown, those fluffies weren’t as bad as everybody thought back in 2013. Enter Zara today, and guess what you will find? Every second pair of sandals (and heels) are covered with faux-fur. And no one’s complaining.
If you also have a strange affection for horrendously looking footwear (hope I’m not the only one here), that’s one for you – the season’s nine ugliest shoes, captioned.
We still have to wait a bit for Shayne Oliver‘s debut collection at Helmut Lang. But the brand’s newly revamped website has those boots on-line. They perfectly convey Lang’s unconventional sense for footwear with that shearling fur sticking out. Cringey? Cringey. But cool.
Cowboy boots weren’t the only shoes appearing on Calvin Klein‘s runway. Raf Simons also has in offer these PVC stilettos, in different colours. Plastic and suede, that’s so drastically painful.
Céline site claims that these boots are made in Spain according to traditional shoe-making technique. Sharp in the front, slouchy on the back. That peculiar, square silhouette. One of the seasons stranger things, that’s for sure. But of high quality!
Again, Miu Miu. How many Muppets were killed to make these? Note, they’re vegan.
Francesco Risso‘ debut collection at Marni wasn’t only about really, but really messily edited clothing. The designer wasn’t only slammed by the critics for his ultra-psychedelic take on 60s, 70s, 80s, and God knows what else, but also for his shoes. An edgily curved heel. Patent leather. Fur-trimming. I wrote that ‘the uglier, the better’. Well, here’s an exception.
Miuccia hits this post the third time with her Prada footwear. Fur loafers versus those knee-length monsters. I like the fur story, but the boots with buckles everywhere look lame and nerd, even for Milan.
I love Acne Studios doing ugly shoes every season. So many things are going on here – ribbed knit, rusty suede, some kind of glue-y material and polished leather. Oh dear, what Jonny Johansson is a genius.
Demna Gvasalia spandex boots at Balenciaga are already the brand’s classic, but this season’s version in neon-green is toxic like a tropical frog.
You might easily get lost in these Y / Project boots of gargantuan capacity. Glenn Martens knows no limits, and whatever other say – these shoes are as badass as the collection itself.
Hope nobody suffered while reading this post! It’s fashion, after all.