Techno Mermaid. Ottolinger SS23

Ottolinger designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient opened their spring-summer 2023 fashion show with a sharp look: a deconstructed belt–meets–bra top whose straps covered the nipples and little else, paired with low-slung leather-look trousers made from recycled polyester. Gen Z’s love of near nudity knows no bounds, and the fan base that lounged on the show venue’s mattress seats wearing skin-baring looks from the Berlin-based label would think nothing of wearing a crop top to talk shop. The designers recently launched a pre-collection that they said had allowed them to tackle more conceptual ideas in their runway shows. No longer beholden to showing denim and mesh dresses, which are their big commercial hits, this freed them up to present deconstructed biker jackets and skintight bodysuits. Ironically, though, the strongest pieces were arguably the most commercial, especially the dresses that draped and hugged the body with some rubbery-looking embellishments. Dipping items in rubber is a trait that reads recognizably Ottolinger: The punked-up court shoes, which saw a classic pump wrapped in a futuristic rubber-like casing, were as covetable as the diamanté jewelry dipped in brightly colored rubber that currently sells well on the label’s website. They’d do well to continue hammering home those codes as the Y2K trend keeps rolling and numerous other labels look to replicate their success with the sexy and the skintight.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!

NET-A-PORTER Limited

Future Vintage. Stella McCartney SS23

One of the best collections in Paris was delivered by Stella McCartney, who very smartly sensed the vintage world’s growing obsession with her time at Chloé and her super-hot, kitschy-chic, chaotic-good 2000s collections. The spring-summer 2023 show, presented in front of Centre Pompidou, opened with tweaked reissues of McCartney’s gold chain tops from her Chloé spring 2000 collection worn under super-sized blazers with asymmetrical skirts and net stockings. Amber Valletta didn’t wear the draped gold chain top she originally modeled with white denim hot pants in that same show (someone else did, with an added white tank top underneath), but she wear a tailored jumpsuit like the one Raquel Zimmermann had in McCartney’s eponymous spring 2009 show. The Hadids brought the noughties nostalgia full circle: Gigi in a sculpted cargo suit that echoed McCartney’s Savile Row days; Bella in a shrunken vest and low-riding trousers with rhinestone-encrusted cut-outs around the hips. While at Chloé, McCartney’s influence on the era was so vast that you might wonder why the brand’s current custodian, Gabriela Hearst, hasn’t mined those archives already. Honestly, a crime. Asked if it feels weird to see her own work revived in such a big way, McCartney sighed. “It makes me feel extremely old! My daughter, who’s 15, all she does now is go into my closet and take all my original things. And I’m like, ‘Oh, but I make similar things now.’ She’s not interested. She just wants the ’90s.” Nostalgia wasn’t, however, the driving force behind McCartney’s choice to adapt and reissue these pieces. The Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara was. She used his depictions of children as motifs on garments, and focused the collection around his slogan, “Change the History.” “I want to look back at my history and redefine where I started and where I am now and what the next Stella looks like,” said McCartney, explaining her trip down memory lane. For her, of course, that transition has everything to do with sustainability. She re-evoked the 2000s through the finest technology the 2020s have to offer: garments in regenerative bio-diverse cotton that “encourages nature”; shoes in plant-based materials like faux leather made out of grape skins; bags in mycelium mushroom leather; and rhinestone pieces created without animal glues and solvents. In a season that’s seen desperate nostalgia plunges, like Dolce & Gabbana reviving their Y2K archives with the help of Kim Kardashian, McCartney’s reenergizing of the fashion history she helped shape in such a big way felt both ethically and epically right.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!

NET-A-PORTER Limited

New Era. Diesel AW22

Who would have ever thought that Diesel might be cool again? Like, really cool? Glenn Martens‘ first runway collection for the Italian denim brand is the best start of Milan Fashion Week you could imagine. The red catwalk was surrounded by inflatable, mega-sized dolls – a giant man and woman in sexy poses – which added an eerie, yet highly-Instagrammable ambiance to the presentation. Bizarre set aside, the latest Diesel collection was all about Y2k aesthetic with a futuristic twist. Logo mini-skirts, jumpsuits printed to appear like denim in trompe l’oeil style, and distressed jeans were unmistakably Diesel, very 2000s, but also super relevant in 2022. The more conceptual pieces – like the utilitarian jumpsuits and fleecy denim sweaters – were pure Martens as we know him from Y/Project. Beyond denim, the designer introduced chiffon and organza dresses, leather suits and shearling flight jackets, and a mystifying array of metallic coated knit dresses. Still, the timeless, over-sized denim trench was the ultimate show-stopper and will surely become an instant best-seller. Also, I really loved the use of body paint – very alien-chic. One model appeared in a bright shade of red that contrasted the icy blue of her denim top and jeans. The industry had high hopes for Martens’ take-over of the brand, which rather affiliated with shopping-mall fashion and a tired macho aesthetic. With his latest collection for the brand, Martens definitely doesn’t disappoint. It’s safe to say – we’re entering a new era of Diesel.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Hot Glam. Blumarine Pre-Fall 2022

Hello baby gorgeous, here’s some hot Blumarine pre-fall 2022! Having catapulted the Italian label in just three seasons from oblivion to the firmament of hot fashion brands, creative director Nicola Brognano keeps on fueling the craze for the 2000s – and he isn’t planning to change that anytime soon. “It’s a territory I feel very confident exploring,” said the designer, who was born in 1990 and thus is quite knowledgeable on the matter. So, apart from the Paris-Britney-Lindsay trifecta, who’s the new high-wattage 2000s muse? “Gisele Bündchen,” he answered. “Gisele was stratospheric, gorgeousness incarnate, she still is. That sexiness brasileira. Who’s the woman who doesn’t want to be her, yesterday, today, or tomorrow?” The thing is, the Blumarine girl isn’t such a naughty teenager anymore: “She doesn’t sit in her bedroom combing her hair in front of the mirror listening to Shakira or Beyoncé,” Brognano said. “Now she wants to get out of the house, basta.” Teenager or not, she’s very much the agent provocateur. Enveloped in a flame-red cashmere fur with a leopard-print lining, worn over a flame-red tightly draped miniskirt not wider than a belt, and a matching ribbed brassiere, she’s ready to stop traffic the minute she bids goodbye to her bedroom. For pre-fall, Brognano provided variations on the theme: plenty of exposed midriffs, bare legs, and alluring décolletage options. He also upped the dramatic ante a notch. Tight cargo pants were cut in pink, low-slung bell bottoms were made in brash golden leather; stretchy, drapey, slinky minidresses with asymmetrical, slashed hems were rendered in both black and “mean florals.” Glamorous faux furs in icy white were printed with a lynx spot, giving off a luxurious, sexy vibe. That’s hot.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.