Renowned with Trieste’s postman for being the worst time of the year following Christmas are the ITS preselections. Lugging armfuls of portfolios at a time up 4 flights of stairs is indeed an arduous task. Despite the friendly complaints, hundreds of portfolios arrive safely at our office ready to be opened and viewed. For the first time we had a mere 2 weeks to view all 1392 portfolios. A tough job but very rewarding as the more you delve :the more can be understood about the creative minds. It is to all effects a privileged viewpoint of what is going on in the young fashion/accessory/photography community.
Concepts seem to be more concise and visibly pertinent to collections. The concepts are created for clothes for a person today rather than to dress a world inside the designers head. Less stories are being told through collections. This is not to say collections are void of messages and feelings. Communication is clearer and can be subtle or blatant.
The first thing that results from this year’s Fashion and Accessories Preselections is a significant increase in the number of menswear projects.
It seems that the womenswear ideal seen in the past years has reached some sort of saturation point. On the contrary menswear collections present interesting and unexpected solutions, not only from a sartorial point of view but also gender-wise, with a vast amount of experimentation and interpretations.
The Antwerp School “style” - reference point for many designers last year - appears to be the only evident correlation between designers around the world in their use of similar volumes and shapes. From all over Europe to Israel and beyond schools seemed to be linked by this same aesthetical coherence, proving that Antwerp is indicative of this year’s taste.
The responsibility of forging new guidelines in fashion is therefore a sword of Damocles hanging over the potentials and the capacities of the Belgian Academy.
The concepts show a strong desire to return to nature. A desire to return to the roots of existence in response to an overload of all that is unnatural. It answers the progressive alienation faced daily. Nature is represented as kind and motherly. It is the expression of a consciousness that has been dormant for far too long, stunned by collective and euphoric technological anaesthesia.
We have seen trees, flowers, animals, but most of all insects, which allow several levels of interpretations. Floral prints and patterns together with plain colours complementing fashions the musts; black, grey and white.
Both concepts and outfits contained firearms, in many different ways: they were included in the structure of the clothes, presented as body transformations, ridiculed to exorcize their fear or associated to the need of defence.
An interesting and unusual point was the presence of tiles and ceramics in general, used as inspiration for patterns but also as a research & development reference for the collections.
This year young designers do not seem to have a specific preferences in the use of material, the only trend we have registered is an increase in the use of wools.
Designers’ visions appear to be dominated by a reconnection with surroundings and with the living creatures inhabiting it, and for those who pay attention to trends must surely have noted the rise of “ethic wear”. Nevertheless, the use of furs as a synonym for luxury has unfortunately yet to be abandoned.
The “classic” themes like travel, nostalgia, skulls & skeletons and body armour can be found in collections. None of the above have particular connections with the present times. They are more like a common ground that most of the designers use as a starting point for mood and research.
It is still surprising to see how certain themes float in the as if they were musical notes, the musical staff linking them together, and connecting designers from opposite sides of the planet all capable of listening to these chords and translating them into different melodies recognisable by all.
i-D remains in second place as favourite magazine with Vogue (total of various editions) taking the number one spot, Collezioni (total of various editions) at third place. Big change, Maison Martin Margiela is voted as favourite designer, his position in first place is exceptional considering the maison is currently undergoing their greatest changes. Nicolas Ghesquiere slides into second place and Alexander Mcqueen in third leaving John Galliano at fourth.