The Conservatism of Menswear

By Phil Zminda, Editor-in-Chief
Photography by Rashod Blades
Modeled by Jack Mazzeo, Jace Ritchey and Ty Nicholson

This article has been adapted for the web from our Flux Issue.

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In interwar London, psychologist John Carl Flügel was desperate for a liberated men’s wardrobe. “Man,” Flügel claimed, had “abandoned his claim to be considered beautiful. He henceforth aimed at only being useful.” Flügel asserted that, prior to the 18th century, men wore vivacious colors, lavish fabrics, and even high heels as status symbols—until the Enlightenment movement posited all men as equal, and more importantly, practical. In the philosophy’s spirit of egalitarianism, men were encouraged to only wear shirts, suits, pants, and ties. Encouraged is an understatement, though; others read the choice to wear any other sort of clothing as an assertion that they were better than other men. Just as today, alliance with other men was the only reliable route to power or social status, so flamboyant dressing was left for women, and paying for their wives’ fashions was left to men, making their women true accessories and symbols of wealth in one fell swoop. Flügel named this late 18th century shift in men’s fashion the Great Male Renunciation. His perspective on fashion history was undoubtedly informed by his membership in the Men’s Dress Reform Party. The London-based “clothing reform” movement endorsed kilts over trousers, blouses over shirts, sandals to shoes, and shorts over trousers as everyday wear for men. Although many of these reformers based their arguments on sun-worshipping pseudoscience (exposure to sunlight could cure tuberculosis!) and a simple desire for fabrics more breathable than wool, they had a point—the conservatism of men’s fashion was, and remains to this day, suffocating.

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In the centuries since the Renunciation, women’s fashion has exploded in variety, with the avant-garde and the tame being able to coexist on the same runway, in the same store, and even on the same woman. Although this variability in feminine aesthetics may come from sexist roots of “woman as an accessory,” it gives modern women the opportunity to experiment with different looks and trends without fearing it reflects on their character or person. To follow and play with different trends as a woman, if anything, is celebrated; she’s seen as adaptable, fashionable, and well-read.

Menswear and the men who follow it are not so lucky. The post-Renunciation “maniform” of suits and trousers has left an indelible mark on the variety of men’s fashion that lines the clothing racks of malls everywhere. The possible outfits menswear consumers can buy almost never deviate from the shirt and trousers silhouette template, and the more outrageous menswear runway looks never truly find their way onto the racks. This conundrum leaves menswear either absurd or boring, while womenswear can be absurd, boring, elegant, refined, and a dictionary of other descriptors.

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This isn’t to say that men aren’t permitted to have style— there are plenty of menswear savants who make lemonade out of these polyester lemons—but it feels like they can’t have fashion. It’s unfair to entirely blame menswear for being boring, as the majority of men only want boring, but the men who want something else are left to either spend a pretty penny, get used to it, or scour the women’s rack. What further complicates the menswear industry is the way in which men use it. Men’s apparel operates on an assumption that men use fashion not to express facets of who they are, as womenswear may, but to avoid looking foolish. The ubiquity of the “maniform” causes men to fear that any deviation from its most unassuming forms—a t-shirt and jeans, a button-down and a shirt—is fodder for mockery because it either doesn’t look good or because it’s “feminine” to care about how you dress. This toxic culture of men and the menswear industry in tandem create a vicious cycle in which men dress conservatively by default, and are only able to either purchase more of the same or dress in excessively liberal “rebellion” clothes, leaving them nothing in the middle ground to explore. Today’s men, just as post-Renunciation men, thus stick to the same tried and tired clothes.

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It’s not like men don’t care about fashion, though. r/malefashionadvice, a Reddit community sporting over 1.3 million subscribers, provides visual guides to basic wardrobes, fit and color to men who don’t know where to begin their relationship with fashion. Its members post inquiries about what pants to wear with red shoes, which pair of white low-tops is best, whether messenger bags are in or not, and even how to embrace the “goth ninja” aesthetic. Perhaps this community typifies that excessive concern with how they look, but it could also indicate men have a more vested interest in fashion if they understand it better, if it’s clear that there are as many ways to dress “like a man” as there are to dress “like a woman.”

It’s a popular maxim that clothing doesn’t have gender, but as long as men’s fashion serves a population with such rigid gender norms to follow, it’s difficult for the average man to fully divorce it from his clothing. One of the two major cultural forces that shape men’s aesthetics—designers and masculinity—must give in order to pave the way for newer, less constricting possibilities. The culture of men will not change without challenge, so designers and consumer fashion businesses must inch it forward. They can put jumpsuits or rompers in men’s sections without marketing them as “for him.” They can create men’s clothing that replicates the variety of shapes, silhouettes, and colors in women’s clothing. They can even put famous men in these clothes to normalize its existence. This isn’t to say every brand must do this, as everything isn’t for everybody. But endlessly reinforcing a monolithic aesthetic onto an entire gender not only encourages homogeny, but also limits what they’re allowed to look like.

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Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

How Old is Fashion's Newest New

By Julie Lombardi
Photography by Calem Robertson
Modeled by Bridget McDonald, Julia Buckner, Kaela Anderson and Isabella Spigel

This article has been adapted for the web from our Flux Issue.

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Seasonal fashions are like karma—what goes around comes around. It’s safe to say that you should stop throwing your “out-of-style” clothes away because you never know when an outdated item may reappear at New York Fashion Week. Fashion, an ever-evolving industry, can only remain so innovative before designers look to previous decades and collections for inspiration. The word “new” in fashion refers to the revival of an item or trend rather than an original unveiling. Iconic 80s and 90s trends are resurrected using more sleek and modern silhouettes, fabrics, and textures. These trends are cycled through each season faster and faster as we absorb newer trends more and more rapidly. Thanks to innovative technology and social media, fashion occurs and recurs, and we do our best to keep up.

This past NYFW saw reappearances of trends that were established decades ago, from bright neon colors, fringe, and classic silhouettes from the 1980s and 1990s. Anna Wintour commented that brands incorporated a sense of optimism and bright neon colors as a way to detract from the barrage of dark news that surrounds our current period (Anna Wintour, Vogue). Bright neons found their origins, however, in the 1980s pop scene. Think: Madonna, Like a Virgin. Bright colors, especially marigold yellow, were shown by brands such as Prabal Gurung, Brandon Maxwell and many more this season.

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Brands such as Versace and Ralph Lauren reached milestone events, such as the 20th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s death and the 50th anniversary of Ralph Lauren’s designing career. These milestones are inspiring the respective designers to look to their brands’ immeasurable pasts and incorporate their trademark designs into their newest collections. In the case of Versace, that means bringing back legendary baroque prints and classic early 90s silhouettes such as shoulder pads, miniskirts, and high-waisted trousers. or With Ralph Lauren, that means reviving earth-toned plaids, oversized jackets, and chunky sweaters that originate from the late 80s and early 90s, a time period so many other designers seem to borrow inspiration from.

Contemporary streetwear also seems to be influenced by past decades, as runway trends make their way into real life. The reintroduction of peasant blouses by niche brands such as Orseund Iris, I.AM.GIA and The Reformation is reminiscent of the 70s yet made more modern with updated and more flattering silhouettes. One of the most popular streetwear trends being revived is the “dad sneaker” by brands such as Balenciaga, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. These oversized and eye-catching sneakers are broken in by celebrities and fashion bloggers alike and are the source of some fashion controversy; are they ultimately worth the hype and expensive price tag? Whatever the case, the fashion community as a whole seems to have re-embraced this trend. Also borrowing from the 90s “dad” aesthetic is the reemergence of fanny packs that are reproduced by iconic brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and so many more. The fanny pack trend is essentially the result of combining fashion with practicality. Making a more subtle comeback has been the 80s and 90s power suit, sported by influential names such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Rihanna. Powersuits have been updated from the 80s by reimagining the silhouettes and giving them a more deconstructed vibe by pairing with more casual pieces like t-shirts and sneakers.

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Style revivals are incorporated into fashion by designers during fashion month and by magazine writers and editors. From there, celebrities and fashion bloggers incorporate revival trends into their own wardrobe, adding a personal touch to a bigger trend. Because of modern technology and social media, throwback trends are circulated into the mass market very quickly and made available for the everyday consumer. The very nature of the fashion industry—borrowing from the past and making it current—is cyclical. In each decade you can trace inspirations to an earlier decade, whether it be 90s trends that came from the 70s or 70s trends that came from the 20s. Think back on the iconic thin brows and dramatic eye makeup sported in the 1920s that were made popular again in the 70s. We can expect the industry to carry on this way, always inventing new twists on old pieces, because old is the new new.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks, Halloween Edition

By The Avenue Editorial Board

Mame Kurogouchi Speaks to Changing Japanese Cultural Attitudes in SS2019 Presentation

By Taraneh Azar, Runway Correspondent

Photos courtesy of Vogue Runway

Using the skills she honed during her time at Issey Miyake, Mame Kurogouchi integrated traditional Japanese garments with global trends to document a changing cultural mindset at Tokyo Fashion Week 2019.

The collection spotlighted delicate silks, laces, and fringes juxtaposed with intricate PVC handbags and casual footwear. Styles featuring thick sweater dresses walked in between floor-sweeping silk kimonos and yukata in lilac and pastels. Silk pants and flowing gauzy embroidered tops were followed by elegant gowns which combined the yukata’s wide sleeves with the kimono’s structured form, celebrating the traditional Japanese garments.

Pairing these time-honored silhouettes with simple sandals, modernized versions of the traditional geta, spoke to Kurogouchi’s ability to blend tradition with rapidly changing youth attitudes. The stiff plastic handbags, in line with the trend that has swept collections and presentations globally, ironically resembled the work of ancient and intricate kiriko glass. As part of a culture that exists in flux between traditional and progressive attitudes, Kurogouchi’s styling of intricate Japanese handcraft with timely Western accessories spoke to the ways traditionally feminine visual elements manifest in such a liminal space.

With her collection, Kurogouchi paid homage to elements which originated in the Japanese countryside, and presented her perspective on femininity in a changing global landscape. The balance between such varied stylistic and cultural elements throughout the collection spoke to Kurogouchi’s recognition of a Japanese youth culture which has evolved to exist between and within times, worlds, and global cultures.

Are Dad Sneaks the New Heels?

By Amanda Haroutunian
Photos by Lauren Walsh
Modeled by Sam Krot

If you’ve been following trends at all recently, or even taken a look around at the latest in street style, chances are you’ve spotted a wide variety of the chunky, eye-catching, and confusing blocks on people’s feet, better known as “Dad Sneakers”. As a sneaker enthusiast, I was intrigued by the bizarre new trend, and excited to begin my journey in discovering how to rock them best. My first thought was to try to wear them as I would my normal sneakers, with some mom jeans or high-waisted shorts. But apparently I wasn’t thinking creatively enough, because with these unique shoes also came a revolutionary concept – wearing dad sneakers with formal attire like dresses and blazers. This emphasis on contrasts has been very popular in the fashion community, and it is a look that I’ve come to love. Whether it be contrasts in patterns, styles, fabrics, etc., it’s an idea that is flexible, accessible, and easily executed regardless of the size of your bank account. This isn’t the first time someone has attempted this bold style, though; remember when Demi Lovato poetically questioned, “Who says, I can’t wear my converse with my dress?” in her song “La La Land”? But that particular trend never really surpassed Disney Channel stars, and it definitely didn’t blow up like the pairing of dad sneakers with formalwear is doing now.

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Dad sneakers and dresses isn’t just a cute look that I intend on shamelessly copying though, it’s a total game changer. It’s safe to say I, along with many millennials, have completely re-evaluated my fashion decisions when going out up to this point. Why have I been destroying my feet and cramming them into narrow stilettos, only to be on my feet all night, when I could’ve been bouncing in Filas? Dancing at a party in four-inch heels? Eh. Dancing at a party in my dad sneakers? Clear the floor.

Aside from the practicalities and convenience that come with this iconic new trend, I’ve discovered another underlying quality that these shoes have provided for me, and that is confidence. I would take a pair of sneakers over heels any day—I’m sure many women can relate — but the social pressure to have to wear heels when going out has always been fairly prominent. This trend totally demolishes that by not only making it acceptable to wear sneakers out, but making it a bold, trendy statement. Another attribute that they provide is comfort — and no, I’m not talking about physical comfort in my feet, although that is also notable — but comfort as in feeling good in my own skin. I feel more myself in a pair of chunky dad sneakers than I do in stilettos, so to be able to rock them on a Friday night when I’m dressed up and trying to feel my best is all I could ask for.

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It’s also worth taking a step back and noting that this is a small stride for feminism in the fashion community. Fashion designers are no longer concerned with reflecting traditional, feminine looks, and it is clear that we’re moving into a new era where fashion isn’t constrained by gender. Womenswear is no longer confined to projecting a “girly” style; instead it’s expanding to include a variety of looks that used to only be acceptable if worn by men. With the rise of pant suits and blazers, tracksuits, baggy cargo pants or sweatpants, and joggers, the line that divides men’s and women’s fashion is quickly diminishing. The evolution of these trends directly correlates with the progress of feminism in society, and it not only says something about the change in which society views women, but in which women view themselves. The similar quality that brings all these trends together is that they’re all bold, statement pieces. In the past, designers wouldn’t think of these strong trends for women because they weren’t concerned with making women look powerful, but rather with reflecting qualities like sex appeal, fragility, and femininity. Now, a lot of women strive to project strength and confidence, and designers are hearing them and creating these bold fashion statements.

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There are many ways that you can rock this new trend, and the look can vary from a simple outfit to an overall statement look. You can wear jeans and a top that allows the emphasis to stay on the dad sneakers. Or, you can take to the trend of contrasts and wear them with more dressy attire. Whether you wear them during the day with a sundress and jacket, or at night with a cocktail dress and blazer, you’re bound to turn heads Another unique option is to wear them with either a matching pantsuit, or possibly a multi-color blazer and pant set.

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It’s evident that designers and society together are making a bold statement that confidence in fashion and feeling good in your clothes is not limited to feminine styles like heels, but it extends to bulky sneakers that your Dad would totally rock. This journey of redefining fashion to create gender fluid trends and strong statements to empower women is an exciting beginning for not only designers, but also for women who have previously felt disconnected to women’s fashion.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

4 Places to Get Last Minute Halloween Costumes in Boston

By Kelly Fleming

There’s less than a week left until Halloween, and let me guess — you don’t have a costume yet. Don’t bother with Amazon and expensive two day shipping, there are plenty of great places to find costumes right here in Boston. Besides, I guarantee that hunting for the perfect costume while exploring Boston will be way more fun than reusing the same costume you’ve been wearing for the past three years. Here are four places you can check out after class to find the perfect costume.

Photos courtesy of Dorothy’s Costume Boutique and Google Maps

The closest costume shop to campus is Dorothy’s Costume Boutique on Mass Ave. About a 10 minute walk from campus, Dorothy’s will meet all your costume needs, from complete outfits to specialty pieces like masks, contacts, or wigs (one of their specialties). Dorothy’s is a great quick option for a last minute costume, but it can build up long lines as Halloween grows closer.

Dorothy’s Costume Boutique

190 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

http://www.dorothysboutique.biz/

  Photo Courtesy of The Garment District

Photo Courtesy of The Garment District

A little farther out is Boston Costume, also known as The Garment District. The Garment District is a fantastic “alternative department store” which is worth a visit outside of Halloween for its dollar-a-pound clothing selection system. The Boston Costume division has the added option of costume rentals, in case you want to go all out without spending big bucks. The Garment District/Boston Costume is only about a 20-minute bus ride.

Boston Costume (The Garment District)

200 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02139

https://garmentdistrict.com/

  Photo Courtesy of Halloween City

Photo Courtesy of Halloween City

The next shop is Halloween City, a small shop close to Boston Common. Halloween City has great costume options as well as Halloween decorations, in case you want to get festive in your dorm room. Halloween City is a 25 minute walk from campus that takes you right by Boston Common, and a visit is a great opportunity to explore Boston and get some shopping done.

Halloween City

356 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

https://www.halloweencity.com/

  Photo Courtesy of Underground Express

Photo Courtesy of Underground Express

On the other side of Boston Common is Underground Express, about a 15 minute walk from Halloween City. Why not hit both in one trip? Underground Express is known for its sales and advertises many $25 costumes. It’s also easily accessible, right by Boston Common and the Park Street T stop.

Underground Express

31 Winter St, Boston, MA 02108

https://underground-express.business.site/

Good luck finding costumes, with so many local shopping options I’m sure they’ll be great! With luck you’ll have as much fun finding your costume as you do showing it off on Halloween.

My Style (R)Evolution

Written and Modeled by Rowan Van Lare
Photos by Anita Goharfar

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I’ve always had a hard time figuring out if I should hide in the crowd or stand out brightly like I have a constant spotlight directly on my face. My natural instinct is to stand out - to speak so loud that everyone can hear me, see me, and know exactly where and who I am. But, at the same time, I’ve never loved myself enough to want to be seen or, especially, be photographed (which is why I asked to have myself photographed for this article). My conscience is my own personal critic and she wields a lot of power over me.

This inability to accept myself for who I am began in middle school, when I was still five or six years away from ever dreaming of getting out. I went to the same private school from preschool through 12th grade, with the same rather homogeneous people. They expected something, required it, and as one who always stood out — the curly, wacky piece of hair in the clump of silky, straight hair — I wasn’t able to provide it.

I was overweight in middle school. While I personally think I’m still overweight, I know it’s not to the same degree. My style was a desperate attempt to hide that fact; I would wear bell bottoms to make my legs look thinner and hide the fact that I had knock knees and scarves to hide my rolls. I don’t think I’ve ever worn a shirt that is tight on my stomach.

That style, my middle school aesthetic of trying to flatter my body type, was okay. In all honesty, I loved the bell bottoms. I hated the scarves though, and wanted looser tops. I had an hourglass figure, so I needed to figure out a way to show that off while not revealing a single roll of fat on my body. I slowly started to do that, and then I moved to high school and met the people I would call my friends for the next 4 years.

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They were great friends. They didn’t let me stress out too much junior year; they supported my love for nachos and cheesecake but also were there for me when I wanted to go running. However, there were one or two girls who brought my self-esteem down lower than before. They would degrade my style, feeling comfortable enough around me that they didn’t realize it hurt. I learned that that was what friends did —knocked each other down for fun. I got really good at it; we all did.

The shift in my style was quick then. I gave away all the bell-bottoms, almost all of my high-waisted clothing. Skinny jeans were in, and that was what I wore. I got leggings — I loved leggings because everyone loved leggings. I still wore long shirts and cardigans to hide everything, but even those came off eventually because they weren’t “the normal style”. I can’t even say that they weren’t “in style” because they weren’t a style at all — it was part of the preppy culture. I lost my individuality.

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The end of my senior year hit me like a truck. My friend group imploded, leaving me with only four friends out of the original group still talking to me. It was for the best, because the ones who were my worst critics were no longer my friends, and I saw a small change in myself.

I bought a really nice pair of mom jeans. Everyone hated them. They told me that I looked really ugly in them, fat even, but I didn’t care. I loved them. Then I bought a whole bunch of other high-waisted pants and my personal favorite, bell bottoms; fun bell bottoms, bell bottoms with embroidery or patches. I stopped going to H&M and Forever 21 and went to thrift stores to find what I wanted. Little elements that had always been a part of my style — bright colors and oversized statement pieces — now became my favorite things to wear, rather than the things I wore on the weekends when I wasn’t with my friends. I became myself again — the real me.

In college, my style has thrived. I rarely wear the clothes that make me fit in anymore; I only wear the clothes that I want to wear all the time. Occasionally, that’s a sporty t-shirt and a pair of leggings, a constant staple of my high school wardrobe, but also that’s bell bottoms and a bright tank top that came right out of the ‘70s or a floral skirt and a bralette with a netted shirt on top. I’m me now, and that’s what matters.

At Northeastern, I see so many people who accept themselves in the same way. There is a girl in a few of my classes who wears makeup not as a quick beauty routine but as art, with black lines of eyeliner in nontraditional places like her chin or her cheeks, or purple eyeshadow all around her eyes. There is a boy who I see on my commute to my first class who wears fun shorts with pineapples and other fruits on them. I see beauty in individuality here and encourage others to notice and compliment the people who are breaking the mold and the people who just love the way they look in what they wear. Support them, because loving yourself is hard when little things are constantly encouraging you not to. And do the same for yourself — wear colored contacts like the girl in one of my classes if that makes you happy. People will see you and be inspired to be themselves.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

Boston En Vogue Showcases Eclectic Fashion Worth Worshipping

By Phil Zminda, Editor-in-Chief
Photography by Riley Robinson

In the awe-inspiring Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Boston on Newbury Street, the 2018 Boston En Vogue fashion show of extravagant scale demonstrated the eclectic skill and style of the show’s international designers.

The space was full to the brim with peacocking fashion aficionados, eager to see the six designers' collections as brought to life by an extensive team of models, hair and makeup artists from the Boston area. Featuring the work of Conrad Lamour, Christina Ter’esa, Majesty 22, Debbie Nghiem, Lavish Living, and Sylvie Dahl, the show wrapped up Boston Fashion Week in style.

Check out our favorite looks below.

Rei Kawakubo Presents Stately Comme Des Garçons Ceremony

By Taraneh Azar, Runway Correspondent
Photos courtesy of Vogue Runway

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Comme Des Garçons presented their SS2019 Ready to Wear collection in a regal and ceremonial Paris Fashion Week proceeding.

Rei Kawakubo, most noted for her ability to convey pure emotion through her sculptural, awe-inspiring silhouettes, continued her tradition of beautifully orchestrated presentations that challenge what is known about femininity, culture, and balance. Announced by the designer’s husband Adrian Joffe, this 2019 “Mini Show” presents “a profoundly internal approach . . . about what’s deep inside,” according to Kawakubo. Thus, the presentation explored both Kawakubo’s deep emotions and the female condition through her garments rich with imagery and symbolism.

The presentation showcased a variety of sculpture-based trench coats, beautiful floor-sweeping gowns, and flowing linen-based garments. The collection took up many of Kawakubo’s most familiar shapes and cuts, yet complexified them with bulging sculptural lumps and extensions protruding from the models. They inched down the aisle in a ceremonial, highly-stylized proceeding, recalling her era-defining 1997 Ready to Wear collection.  

Although Comme Des Garçons is mostly known for its diffusion line “Play”, the presentation proves Kawakubo’s brand is so much more than just a red heart with eyes plastered on Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. The presentation conveys what Comme Des Garçons is truly about as a brand and culturally influencing force–artfully powerful symbolism through deeply intricate sculptural, garment-based design.

Some of the most dystopian looks featured restrictive shoulder-padded blazer tops that flowed straight into sheer mesh dresses, revealing silver chains wrapped underneath the garment and around the models’ bodies. Polka-dot patterns invoked the works of Dada and surrealist artist Yayoi Kusama. News-print fabrics alluded to global shifts in the media, perhaps tipping a hat to the #MeToo movement with the recurring restricted, feminine imagery. The pregnant, bulging bellies juxtaposed with the hidden chains drew parallels between the female condition and the stifling nature of gender roles and expected motherhood. As Kawakubo has no children herself, one can infer that sense of restriction comes from her own experience as a non-mother in a world that expects, if not encourages, women to reproduce.

The collection conveyed the refined and stately facade of the models through stiff blazer-collars,  structured jackets with shoulder pads and restrictive cuts resembling straight-jackets. The garments worked to express a sentiment of balance between reflection and restriction. When you consider Kawakubo’s self-reflective statement for the show, the symbolism in her forms suggests a mindset of self-reflection, hyper-awareness, and criticism.

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Taken as a whole, the collection reads as fashion as political and social commentary on the expectations society has for women. The ceremonial presentation seemingly maps a bizarre and anxiety-ridden world where the women are mute and physically restricted–a concept which certainly is not far off from the state of social and cultural commentary of this past week. The SS 2019 presentation is sure to set the tone for cultural metamorphosis as the artful collection, deep with symbolism, brings to light internalized gendered conditioning. Many have chosen to accept these gender-based expectations, but for those who have not, Kawakubo presents a platform and voice for resistance.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

Celine Goes YSL in Controversial Spring Summer 2019 Presentation

By Taraneh Azar, Runway Correspondent
Photography courtesy of Iker Aldama / Indigital.tv for Vogue Runway
Special thanks to Diet Prada for influencing photo selections.

When Hedi Slimane removed the accent from Céline as his first move since becoming the brand’s creative director earlier this year it should have been the first red flag. Although one couldn’t anticipate a complete change for the worse from that single action, Slimane’s first show at Paris Fashion Week hammered the final nail into the coffin of Phoebe Philo’s Céline.

Left: Saint Laurent FW17 RTW. Right: Celine Spring 19 RTW

Initial reactions to the SS19 Celine presentation were “Saint Laurent just redid their whole last season”, but here’s the kicker; it was just Slimane redoing his former YSL collections for Celine. As creative director of Saint Laurent from 2012 to 2014, Slimane tailored the house into the glorious pillar of fashion we know it as today—an edgy, hyper-sleek, classic yet innovative brand. As he brings his powerful influence to Celine, his first presentation for the house proves rebranding may be what Slimane does best.

Left: Saint Laurent Fall 2015 Menswear. Right: Celine Spring 2019 RTW

Sleek biker jackets, tailored pinstripe tuxedos, sequined blazers, and a ‘mixed-gender’ cast typified the presentation, harkening back to Slimane’s work with YSL. Pointed booties with silver hardware buckles and studded leather in all facets recurred throughout the presentation. Ruffle-neck lace tops preceded more sequins, more lace, more leather, and more smartly cut skinny-silhouettes that are perfect for business meetings, funerals, and smoking cigarettes with your biker friends. The all-gender stylings of stiff-cut, sleek suits spoke back to European trends of 2017, while silver-studded fur coats hinted at emerging trends. The incorporation of leather, while repetitive and characteristically Slimane, was beautifully done.

Left: Saint Laurent FW17 RTW. Right: Celine Spring 2019 RTW

The show wasn’t all black all the time, however;  red pointed oxfords, multi-colored cardigans and acid-bleached jeans were incorporated into the collection. Leopard print, a YSL pattern staple, popped up, too. These slight variations on Slimane’s typical black sequins-and-leather, monochromatic approach, however interesting, barely distracted from the boring styling and repetitive cuts of the collection.

Left: Saint Laurent Fall 2015 Menswear. Right: Celine Spring 2019 RTW

In short, the show resembled an alternate reality where greasers meet mods and go to a funeral, perhaps mourning the once refined, sophisticated, and artful Céline legacy. While the garments presented were well-constructed, the striking similarities between this collection and Slimane’s previous works left viewers largely dissatisfied. Slimane’s work at Dior Homme, Jil Sander and Saint Laurent established him as a highly-influential creative director. Consequently, global audiences anticipated his first presentation for Celine to set the bar for the Spring 2019 season. Unfortunately, mimicking and rebranding his previous collections failed to satisfy admirers of both Slimane and the once-holy Céline emblem.

Left: Saint Laurent Fall 2016 Menswear. Right: Celine Spring 2019 RTW


Although largely lamentable to Céline fans, Slimane’s presentation has picked up much more traction than Phoebe Philo’s monumental creative contributions to the house ever did. The consequences of the presentation make it seem as though all a house needs is an ultra-successful creative influencer to commercially succeed in global markets today. Thus, the legacy of Céline as a beacon of by-women-for-women style and culture of more than a decade has been destroyed and appropriated by a man. How fitting.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

Junya Watanabe Pulled on Familiar Fabrics in an SS2019 Reformation

By Taraneh Azar, Runway Correspondent
Photography courtesy of Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv for Vogue Runway

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Fans of Junya Watanabe’s signature haute-deconstructed approach know one of his collections when they see it. Watanabe, an ever-present name in the fashion world for decades, is often cited for his incorporation of denim patchwork into his 2011 and 2013 collections. While the designer stepped away from denim after 2013, his Spring Summer 2019 Paris Fashion Week presentation revisited the fabric with an avant-garde yet instantly familiar application for the eager diehards of all things Comme Des Garçons.

Watanabe said in an e-mail before the show that he sought to “express the romantic feeling of rock”, which he achieved in an artfully sophisticated, experimental and innovative way. This desire brought models with multi-colored hair and bondage chokers in Watanabe’s recurring pseudo-goth styling to the runway in reconstructed patchwork denim smocks and tutus styled with distressed band t-shirts. What looked like full denim hoop-skirt gowns turned out to be hiding plain jeans in the back. Familiar halter denim dresses were styled with white shirts and tight tattoo tops.

Although the denim revival launched the show, the presentation evolved to showcase a spectrum of quintessential American fabrics, incorporating chambray gowns and khaki tutus juxtaposed with floral patterns. Watanabe also worked plaid in with denim of all washes as they were affixed onto stiff trench-blazers styled with dirty t-shirts and ground-sweeping silk skirts. Watanabe utilized all of his characteristic distressing, destroying, and repurposing techniques to create half-denim half-lace fabric jumpers styled with chunky Buffalo-collaboration sneakers and platform boots alike. Spiked chains and bright orange, neon green, and hot pink bobs and pixie cuts were styled effortlessly with ripped jeans, patchwork denim pants and massive tutu, lace-lined dresses.

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The show’s closing look, however, was a true summary of the collection: a silk-satin bustier-top flowed into a lop-sided tutu gown fastened together with leather bondage belts, all styled with a BDSM choker, chunky high-tops and patchwork denim-corduroy jeans. The look conveyed the balance between submission and rebellion, traditional femininity and subversive rejection, stiff cuts and flowing fabrics, embodying all at once what the rest of the collection explored piecemeal.

Watanabe’s Ready to Wear collection left viewers with a sense that 1980s punk England had met 1990s New York Club Kids in a way that felt reminiscent of Vivienne Westwood’s work. While the collection is undoubtedly the work of Watanabe, the plaid patterns, baggy yet stiff and restrictive cuts, suspender jumper-skirts, edgy British punk colored hair, and youthful and subversive styling alludes to what Westwood is best known for. The balance between the deconstructed blue jeans coupled with Watanabe’s intricate revamp of the classic material made this collection a symbol of the appreciation for reworking known and loved phenomena for a future of regeneration. Who’s surprised, though? Reinventing traditional garments, cuts, and fabrics is what Watanabe is known for.

Familial Fashion

By Soja Moore
Photographed by Jacob Chvatal

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While style changes from generation to generation, how we’ve adapted our style from past eras and from our family is the most surprising and popular trend yet. Many people receive their older brother or sister’s hand-me-downs, and that has unconsciously shaped their current senses of style. As we follow the aesthetic journey of adolescent style, we see modifications of trendy fashion coming from brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and sometimes even grandparents. It’s fascinating to follow the personal journey of how siblings have adapted their style in an effort to bring back the old into the new generation.

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Oh Brother

One of the most prominent trends in current men’s fashion is overalls. Popular brands such as ASOS, Urban Outfitters, and PacSun have recently been producing spin-offs of the classic overalls. This trend can come in blue denim, black denim, patterned, ripped, “short-eralls”, and many other different adaptations. When someone first thinks of overalls, one might think of what their grandfather wears.  However, they have become quite notable in the current fashion community.

Another popular trend in the men’s fashion community is the  vintage tee. Most people own vintage tees, and even if they do not, their parents definitely do. It has become popular to steal your parents old clothes and use them to develop your own style, while still instilling that piece of familial pride. With this trend,when your friends ask you where you got your shirt you can say “Oh yeah, it was my dad’s.” Many of these tees have obscure meanings or sayings, old fraternity or sorority chapters, or old concert graphics. Other familial hand-me-downs include varsity jackets, vintage suits and the occasional pin covered denim jacket.

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Sister’s Keeper

Sisters take each other’s clothes constantly, and it’s almost like an ongoing game of “who wore it better”. This is quite common for the fashionable Li sisters Karen (22), Winnie (19), and Judy (14). Winnie is a current second year at Northeastern University and her family is local to Boston. This trio of sisters have been into fashion ever since they were young, and Judy even attended a modeling camp over the summer. “She steals my clothes all the time, but she reinvents it and tailors it to her own looks,” Winnie says. A lot of the clothes that Winnie and Karen have are sometimes too big, but Judy has an affinity for baggier, oversized clothes so this has become part of her style. The sisters have bonded over fashion trends and have established their own unique sense of style using each other’s products. They get some of their most prized possessions from their mother: “A lot of my fashion is inspired by some of my mother’s older more vintage looks,” Judy says. “They’re the current trend and you also get to reuse any garments that may have been thrown away or sold otherwise.” Some of the favorites passed down from mother Li include striped hand-knit sweaters, vintage beat up adidas, and blue track pants. “When I tell my mom I love her clothes, she takes pride in them and tells me the story behind them, whether it used to be my sisters or belonged to her during her early residency in America. These stories live within the embroidered stitches of every piece of clothing passed down through generation.” Judy says. It is now the girls’ turn to weave their own story into the fashion adopted from their mother and from each other.

Fashion is a flowing river of change, shifting its course from generation to generation. It is evident that these trends have not only repeated through eras, but have become almost timeless in their own way. The constant reinvention of every vintage trend, through family culture, is what has really made an impact on fashion today.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By the Avenue’s Editorial Board

Maison Margiela Commemorates a Youth Revolution with SS19 Collection

By Taraneh Azar

 Jonas Gustavsson / MCV Photo for The Washington Post

Jonas Gustavsson / MCV Photo for The Washington Post

Designer John Galliano’s latest Maison Margiela presentation celebrated the progressive qualities of millennial and Gen Z cultural adaptations while setting the bar for fashion, culture, and social expectations of the greater global community.

The Tuesday morning show acted not only to present John Galliano’s latest Ready to Wear collection for the house, but also to launch the designer’s first fragrance for the house–”Maison Margiela’s Mutiny.”

Kim Weston Arnold / Indigital.tv for Vogue

The story behind the fragrance coincides with the youth revolution theme of the collection. As Galliano put it in a podcast titled The Memory of… With John Galliano: “I deconstructed normative values and turned them into a hyper-faceted reconstruction, distilled in a fragrance for the future.” Speaking of his inspiration, Galliano explained, "it started with the idea of mutiny. There were things that were happening around me in the world, there was a lot of political unrest in Paris, then the Women’s March in America–the biggest march in the history of America . . . it was the courage of turning your back and standing up for what you believe in.” The fragrance aired throughout the Grand Palais while ads featuring campaign stars Willow Smith, Princess Nokia, Teddy Quinlivan, Sasha Lane, and others opened the show.

Beyond the perfume launch, Galliano’s presentation celebrated an increasing fluidity in gender presentation and a lack of tolerance for outdated social norms. The show was largely a commemoration of freedom of expression, as reflected in both his defiant approach to styling his models in garment that went against sanctioned gendered expectations and the changing functionality of the garments presented. With a manifesto of nonconformity, Galliano presents a collection that blurs the boundaries of the gender binary.

Oversized capes, ponchos, dresses and repurposed materials of all types categorized the collection. Translucent plastic mosaic skirts weaved together with grommeted silver hardware were styled with deconstructed blazer-vest hybrids. iPhones on mounts similar to those seen in Ubers and Lyfts were attached to chunky platform boots, referencing the instant availability of information that dictates 21st-century society. Gutted ponchos and wool coats styled with swimming caps led way to vinyl pants, which coincided with headphones sticking out of rigid handbags  and sweaters as belts. Galliano swapped the iconic Tabi boot for chunky, oversized platforms and sleek pointed-toe chelsea boots. One-piece forms and oversized and floppy suits led way to iridescent gold sculptural pieces and dresses, a traditionally feminine garment, for all models regardless of gender presentation.

The presentation resembled a group of people about to go swimming, but desperate to bring their sleeping bags and pillows just in case. Largely, the collection challenged many of the social norms that older generations remain disillusioned to yet younger, upcoming generations embrace with open arms. The well-established house managed to not only present a collection unlike any other, but also set a new bar and code of conduct. To quote Galliano, with Gen Z “there are no rules—you write the book.” See for yourself.

Rick Owens Sets Fire to Utopian Ideals, Partisanship and Paris Fashion Week

By Taraneh Azar

 Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times

Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times

Featuring a cast of witches, a burning pyre, and a ceremonial runway proceeding, Rick Owens RTW for Spring 2019 at Paris Fashion week combined Owens’ classic take on form and androgyny with his characteristic garment drapery to haunting and beautiful effect.

The collection features intricate geometric elements and sculpture-like design on par with Owens’ typically highly-stylized and earth-toned form. Silk gowns sewn to dirty American flags swept the runway as hiking boots and frayed denim skirts mixed what we know and love about Rick Owens with hints of a new direction. Bikini tops were paired with architectural castings encasing models, while giant fabric-encased planks protruded from others. Stiff, restrictive fabrics juxtaposed with flowing silks and foliage-like fringes, exploring the balance between order, serenity, and chaos. These witches were equipped for ritualistic mountain ceremonies and suburban malls alike.

Kim Weston Arnold / Indigital.tv for Vogue

While his womenswear show last year featured a floating runway set over a pool of water, S/S 2019 was quite literally on fire. With a flaming pyramid at the center of the Palais de Tokyo courtyard, the show resembled a ritualistic ceremony as the models proceeded around the blazing structure to a fitting soundtrack by the witch house group, Ice3peak. According to a pre-show interview with WWD, Owens sought to “burn down a utopian moment”, explaining that his models were “California witches”. Tipping his hat to his own upbringing, Owens explained, “I brought my utopian California youth to Paris, and I’m setting it on fire.”

 Mitchell Sams for i-D Magazine

Mitchell Sams for i-D Magazine

Models held torches and wore deconstructed architecturally-geometric crowns structures that mirrored the presentation’s centerpiece. Some models were clad in stiff sculptural tunics reminiscent of Issey Miyake’s famous geometric Bao Bao handbags, while others sported pieces more indicative of Owens’ traditional deconstructed poncho-like patchwork pieces. And while the tiny sunglasses of early-2018 had their time to shine, oversized sunnies are back once again as models wore goggle-like sunglasses to match their geometrically-stylized, chunky garments.

Needless to say, Rick Owens RTW S/S 2019 set PFW ablaze while laying the groundwork for what is to come. With global political stratification crystalized in this week’s Kavanaugh hearings, it is hard to strip Owens’ show from the incendiary responses to the state of global society and culture. With the novel pieces and strong sculptural elements of the collection, torch-wielding witches effectively burned down what we know to pave the way for a revolution.