When art imitates life: prophesizing this season’s runway trends.
By Juno Kelly.
The bearing the novel coronavirus is having on the fashion industry is loaded and complex. From job losses to factory shutdowns and the shows which prevailed at the epicenter of the industry for centuries going digital, the ‘post-pandemic’ fashion terrain will look vastly different from what we’re accustomed to.
The below list, however, will take on a more facetious approach, via an attempt to predict how the pandemic will determine which trends crop up this season, should the urge to make art imitate life come over the world’s most prominent designers.
1. Face Masks
As the most conspicuous item in this inventory, the face mask comes first. As soon as the demand for face coverings arose, both high-end and high-street labels raced to supply them, with the former occasionally being critiqued for their extortionate prices (a third-party seller endeavored to sell an Off-White mask for over $1,000 on Farfetch). Charity donations were however made by brands including Levi and Rag & Bone, with Richard Quinn even manufacturing them exclusively for healthcare workers.
It is almost set in stone that until a vaccine is approved by the WHO, face masks will be a customary aspect of the “new normal”, and will likely be seen on the (digital) runway in abundance. Their return will mark a sartorial throwback to Louis Vuitton’s SS08 show, whereby, under the creative direction of Marc Jacobs, Naomi Campbell sauntered down the runway in a black lace edition.
Gloves are no new feat in the fashion realm. As the staple on this list with the most nuanced history, editions have been worn by gentile ladies in the Victorian era, bikers in the ‘80s and all of us in cooler climbs come winter. This season, however, we’re likely talking either marigold, washing-up style gloves in numerous rubber hues, or ‘disposable’ latex versions, with significant embellishments to justify their presence in the sartorial world (and their price tag).
During his tenure at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld sent an elegant plastic spin on the trend down the runway (SS18), whilst Calvin Klein opted for some elbow-high more COVID-19 (and fairy liquid) appropriate variants that same season.
3. Medical Gear
Our increased reliance on medical practitioners over the last several months has sparked a (deserved) surge in appreciation for those risking their lives to save others. ’ It would, therefore, make sense, should we see scrubs and other gear move from the ‘front line’ to the front row.
Doctors’ and nurses’ uniforms have long served as a stimulus for designers: from a graphic-strewn lab coat at Off-White’s SS19 show, to Pam Hogg’s take on the futuristic nurse for Spring ‘13. The aforementioned Louis Vuitton SS08 presentation also saw the lace masks offset by nurses’ uniforms, at the hands of Jacobs’ collaboration with artist Richard Prince.
The future of our relationship with sweatpants could go one of two ways: 1. We could be so tired of wearing them that we wish never to lay eyes on them again, or 2. we may have become so accustomed to their comfort and ease that the pinch of jeans’ waistline seems like an act of torture.
Either way, one or two designers are bound to take heed of our increased demand for loungewear, ensuring that sweatpants make an appearance either streetwear-style (think Vetements AW19) or chicwear-style (Lacoste FW20).
After Trump’s remark at the coronavirus task force briefing (which would be almost comical were it not enacted by some) regarding ingesting bleach to curb the virus, combined with the rate at which cleaning products flew off the shelves when the pandemic hit – one can assume that bleach and its counterparts will play a substantial sartorial role this season. Think Bella Hadid cradling a gargantuan bottle of Moschino Windex on the Milan runway for SS16 (talk about ‘fresh off the runway’.)
We will know come June (when Men’s Fashion Month commences) whether or not brands have opted to sartorially mirror the current climate or avoid the notion altogether, flocking from controversy and the ‘PC police’. Should COVID-19 be utilized as a marketing measure, we hope donations to related charities follow – and not unsubstantial ones, either.