Clothes don’t have to look easy to feel easy. That’s my takeaway from the first three shows of the season.
Rachel Comey unofficially kicked off fashion week Wednesday morning with a show that could not have more accurately spoken to the state of the industry. In the spirit of fashion’s most popular buzzword (“consumer facing”), it was held in the middle of Crosby Street. The runway was a sliver of sidewalk that spanned the distance of the Crosby Street Hotel between Prince and Spring. But you didn’t need an invitation to watch in real time — it was, after all, in the middle of the street. Parker Posey was seated on a bench in a front row that felt, simply, like a row that just happened to be in front of other rows, with a small white dog cuddled to her chest. The models — some in chain mail and dressed like a No Pants Plea on Man Repeller’s Instagram page — appeared like a panoply of people you could have mistaken for patients in a dentist’s waiting room, or shoppers in the check-out line of a grocery store. Which is the point, right? Because as we approach a sort of frame-of-mind renaissance, it becomes more and more apparent that when it comes to fashion and clothes, inclusivity trumps everything else.
On Thursday at Brock, the married design duo Laura Vassar and Kris Brock showed lightweight silk and taffeta in easy-to-wear tank dresses (most midi-length), skirts with ruffles and a couple bustier dresses with rounded hems. Even through the sometimes complicated silhouettes (no doubt relics of the modern Victorian woman that Brock is consistently styling), the fabrics — all swift, nimble and devoid of frustrating complexity in their movement — made the clothes feel like they could be worn at any time under any circumstance. It’s awesome if you think about it, because here is a brand that is seemingly obsessed with recreating an elegant lady, one who respects old house tradition and probably maintains a country club membership, but that’s not all there is to her and to assume so would be belittling. She’s not just dressing for a particular situation, because what even is situational dressing anymore? There’s no such thing.
You know, often when I’m at a show, I ask myself where a non-model would wear the clothes. Similarly to Brock, at Creatures of the Wind, the answer didn’t matter. Those nylon dress jackets (what a great way to style yourself through oppressive heat!) and boiler suit-style long coats would make sense anywhere. Ditto for the Bermuda shorts and anorak; the fabric may as well have belonged to a parachute in its former life. But the thing about Christopher Peters and Shane Gabier, the designers of Creatures of the Wind, is that they won’t break character. You can spot a piece from a mile away. They are obsessed with fit, but not in the way you and I know it. Where we might find a protruding chest on a dress uncomfortable and large, they see deliberate beauty in that imperfection. It becomes the soul of the garment. And that’s what Creatures of the Wind is all about: an obsession with attention to detail that runs counter to generic and popular opinion. It’s this sense of wanting to say that my clothes are me but I’m not my clothes.