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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Fashion notes: Don’t blast off into orbit with this fresh look

The way to flaunt futuristic style is to look innovative but not earth-shattering, daring but not exaggeratedly intimidating.
Glimpse of the future? Marc By Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2015 at New York Fashion Week. Photo by Pixelformula / Sipa / REX
Glimpse of the future? Marc By Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2015 at New York Fashion Week. Photo by Pixelformula / Sipa / REX

It’s hard to say what prevails more these days in fashion: flirty and feminine or futuristic. It’s probably accurate to say there’s a slight split down the middle of dressing preferences, though they’ve been somewhat merged together in recent years. You might call your personal style girlie, but you still sport the jock look every once in a while, and vice versa; you may think you’re tremendously edgy, and while you usually opt for blacks, leathers and chunky metals, you have a soft spot for puffy princess skirts, too. Because of this amalgamation of opposing facets of fashion, limits are being pushed. Like in politics, the liberals have gone way left – a shift from futuristic to avant-garde to becoming pieces that would be better served behind glass cases in museums than on someone’s body – Comme des Garçons’ autumn/winter collection being a prime example of this extreme.

Is this all a reflection of the futuristic? Fashion that’s progressive, revolutionary and beyond the barriers of our universe? Some designers have taken the outer-space trend quite literally, making gimmicky pop icons out of aliens and spaceships in accordance with punky, weird and witchy tendencies of the fashion world’s grunge gravitations. Stella McCartney’s 2015 resort collection features icons she calls “Stella Superheroes”, which essentially look like comic-style alien heads, splattered across her black backdrop of jumpsuits, jackets, shirts and dresses. The print has hit the mainstream, creating a cult following of celebrities like Cara and Poppy Delevingne, Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan. Marc by Marc Jacobs is another label to have hitched a rocket ride out to space, with galaxy-inspired graphics printed on many of his resort 2015 designs, now available in stores. His spring/summer show was also led by a space theme, with one white jumpsuit resembling an astronaut’s suit, and T-shirts with the motto “New World ­System”.

Other elements of futurism, seen on the most recent runways at the autumn/winter fashion weeks, show us how to channel the trend with some subtlety. Take the Peter Pilotto show, for instance, where the brand’s usual psychedelic prints were replaced with a more mature selection of whites, adorned with boxy, board-game patterns. There was something revolutionary about the pairing of wide-set collars with edgy zips and skirts of peplum and pencil styles, in such a way that you couldn’t pinpoint which exact elements made the garments so ultra-modern – which, in my opinion, is the ideal impression to create.

At Paco Rabanne, Julien Dossena’s combination of racer-back fronts, sheer panels, metallic pops and too-long sleeves that hit the models’ fingers, all in a monochrome palette, also gave off vibes that were fashionably forward-thinking, but not so much to the point that they would be written off to be far-out at first glance.

There’s even a way for the trend to appeal to a more conventional clientele, who fear forsaking their femininity when it comes to profligate futurism. Dresses shown at Hervé Léger by Max Azria featured angular cut-outs, strong, structured shoulders and stark peplums, as well as a body harness play on cuts – a dose of the non-­traditional while still flattering the ­feminine form.

This is the way to flaunt futuristic style – in ways that look innovative, but not earth-shattering. Daring, but not exaggeratedly intimidating.

weekend@thenational.ae