Race Against The Machine
Female Singapore|October 2019
Race Against The Machine
Perhaps it’s a reaction against the turbulent times that we’re living in (or we’re just secretly hankering for the return of alt-chic circa the 1990s). The biggest message on the fall/ winter 2019 runways: punk – or at least the look of it – is far from dead. Keng Yang Shuen highlights the anarchy and its loudest players.

Alessandro Michele was something of a punk himself when he first ascended the Gucci throne and made over the Italian luxury label with his all misfits-are-welcome vision. For F/W ’19, expect – as always – a wardrobe for a motley crew of characters, from jesters (graphic-patterned, harlequin print midi dresses, and blouse-pants combos) to reluctant ’80s corporates (extra bold-shouldered suits) to glamorous pixies (gossamer beaded gowns complete with jewellery in the shape of elfin ears). To accompany them all? Masks and heavily studded accouterments like chokers and suspenders. Could these be read as emblematic of a need for protection in these troubled times? Or a refusal to bow to the safety net of the mainstream? Either way, the results are very punk and, might we add, strangely alluring.

“Neuroerotik” – a portmanteau comprising of “neuro” (as in, nervous systems) and “erotic” – is the label’s key theme. The sexy part is evident in silky deconstructed midi dresses. The neurotic? Possibly in how many of these dresses are adorned with random piercings (yes, kind of like Tommy Lee’s) and can be paired with mirrored chain harnesses that add a subtle frisson of fetish.

Miuccia Prada said she was obsessed with the idea of romanticism as an antidote to our harsh times, and this being Prada, her interpretation runs the gamut. References to Wednesday Addams (demure tailored dresses), militant uniforms and science fiction (motifs of Frankenstein and his Bride) abound; alongside more “conventional” notions like flowers (as prints and oversized, drooping appliques), and lace on capelets and see-through sheaths. Ultra heavy-duty combat-style boots and brogues ground this eclectically romantic line-up, recalling the exaggerated Doc Marts typically favoured by punks.

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October 2019