the crisis?

Following fashion weeks as they unfold one after another is some fun stuff, even when you’re laid back at home, surfing your digital guts out on a newly found ( and absolutely free )internet connection – thanks to James-the-discoverer!
Now instead of immediate blogging of some pointless rant I found myself studying in deepest detail the catwalk show of Armand Basi One, where Markus Lupfer is the creative director. And I can’t…get…my…eyes…off…it…

Calling on inspiration from Bauhaus and Helmut Newton, which so easily and indirectly translates into oversized shoulders, drop crotch pants, skin-tight knits perforated by rivets and creepers shoes. All well referencing back to the end of the eighties/beginning of the 90’s which is unsurprisingly THE period of reference for designers around the globe. It seems that there is more credit-crunch inspiration these days than for example inspiration from street-style blogs as it was a few seasons ago. That’s when we were getting vintagy 40’s inspired shoulders – remember the Filippa K shoulders, and Marc Jacobs that followed. And all those wonderful capes – just refer to the Facehunter report of Icelandic goddesses of Reykjavik where everybody seems to own one. Within all that lays the direct visual influence.
The other day I was asking myself where are we now….or rather being asked by a friend from the distant Portland about how we are here in bright and sunny Europe getting over the crisis…”the crisis?” Asked my new iPhone casually being placed on a table in a shabby café in Lille…”the crisis?” asked a pair of expensive Dries van Noten shoes on my feet…”oh, yes, the crisis!” nodded the silly smelly vintage coat (the one that got chopped to become a dress a la Polish cleaning lady)…well, decapitated dresses have a quiet unnoticeable voice anyway… So back to THE crisis.
The kind of crisis that is a profound inspiration for Mr. Lupfer and his work at this rather amazing Spanish label Armand Basi. The red thread goes back to, of course, aforementioned late eighties, and brings back the values of the time when the Japanese designers were discovered by the European public to cordially change the understanding of luxury, exclusivity and beauty of our post-modern society. The times possibly equal up financially too. This is no Great Depression when skirts shortened, smoking became fashionable and acceptable for ladies, as well as applying makeup in public was not considered to be a gesture of ill upbringing, short bobbed hair was the desired look and no longer the length of woman’s hair had any symbolic/class values, when Jazz Age was at its full bloom – all due to the recession.
So, where are we now? We are no longer modern. Exactly, we are post-modern. And the late eighties become the most direct and comparable reference. Easy! This catwalk season we are starting to see the numerous interpretations of it, from New York club scene to new wave, think of Ultravox and how serious can that album cover be?

Well, if you squint your eyes and use your imagination you’ll very promptly arrive at the Armand Basi catwalk images.
The less direct reference is a bit of a sad one. The luxury business shall see the decline, well at least in the countries where people still have some sense of future responsibility and not just fear of the future outcomes of today’s actions, i.e. Russia is at most not included…so if we stay focused on Europe, the kind of product that shall appeal to the customer is the investment type, even if it is designed to last one season, as long as it gives us the sense of timelessness, it gives us security. Hence the style that is being led forward by COS is the winner, ACNE is the roof and we, as a consumer crowd, shall go no higher. We might look higher, and that’s what every designer is trying to point out these days, saying “look, I’m crisis friendly!” Is it enough though?
We are allowed to take out inspirations from any source, of course. I guess I have chosen mine. The only trouble is integrating Lupfer’s work into your existing wardrobe without making it look like a credit-crunch-proof costume. Although, honestly it is. The amount of leather shows how protective the clothes actually are,

monochrome tweeds and exaggerated shoulders work their way to the perfect post-modern armour with a feminist edge. The skin-tight knits worn with creepers shoes are another feminist statement, and in my opinion is cut completely loose from any gothic/punk references.
Drop crotch pants
Sleeveless jackets to be worn as tops tucked in the skirts

Grainy acrylic slouchy knits

Skin-tight, body-con, leather items, be it a dress or trousers, as long as they are worn in a casual way with a loose jacket with extreme shoulders – notice that the raised shoulders are very sharp and realistically sized, the oversized factor is seen only throughout the drop-shoulder shapes with large collars.

Creepers shoes or any pair of shoes inspired by such

Slouchy socks
All shades of black and sickly cool beige

Sickly cool beige make-up to correspond
Graphic leather accessories
I’m in!


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