Interlude: Getting Dressed Yesterday And Tomorrow
ELLE Singapore|October 2020
When the FWf20 collections were conceived, designers couldn’t have predicted that they would hit the market at a time when masks and sweats prevail over bubble hems and capes. Elle singapore speaks to three industry insiders on fw’20’s commerciality, and venture what we might glimpse in the ss’21 collections — fashion’s first in a new normal
Andrea Sim

I couldn’t have foreseen my descent into pastel-hued Nike sweatsuits. But it turns out that they don’t just put me at ease with their 100 per cent cotton fabric, but offer me an inexplicable pleasure that comes from encasing myself top-to-toe in such enthusiastic colours. Could soft purple be a Band-Aid for the thoughts about fashion publishing’s future that keep me up at night? Is its viscerally childlike aesthetic emotional liberation from all the triple-hatting we’ve had to grow into over the past few months? I’ve even bought some Essentials sweatpants, Jerry Lorenzo’s sub line to Fear Of God, which I’d previously always steered clear of, attributing its viral appeal to oversimplified colour theory, the concept and comfort of uniformity, and some nifty marketing. My Comme des Garçons Homme Plus and Yohji Yamamoto suits haven’t been given the time of day for more than a hot minute — even when I step out of the house. I’m about to cart out a cozy Jacquemus mohair-blend fitted cardigan and bralette as we speak. Placebo or not, it feels like it’s working; this shift in outward appearances as a support system for navigating a new world. I call them my bubble-wrap ensembles.

Designed or initially conceived in a time before the first Covid-19 case made headlines, the FW’20 collections seemed to come with an in-built loudhailer. There were elbow-length gloves! Capes! Snoods! There was a clear if unwritten consensus amongst fashion’s top-tier of tastemakers that the casualisation of modern-day dressing was going to take a backseat for a while. After all, dressing up just ‘cause and not because you have to does possess a certain subversive and almost gleeful appeal. Prada and Dior were in on billowy fringe; Paco Rabanne and Maison Margiela proposed decorative headpieces; and Givenchy and Chanel placed their bets on gloves. They hit the runways back in March, and have begun segueing into stores at press time. While what one writer craves now are mostly comfort-inducing sweats and snuggly knits, what are some of the other garments that are moving off the racks swiftly? Perhaps other women’s takes on bubble-wrap outfits? Could there be a gap that brands or retailers need to bridge between the season’s offerings and current desires?

DRESSING FOR A NEW OCCASION

In speaking to Han Chong, creative director and founder of Self-Portrait, the designer acknowledges that people’s tastes and perceptions of clothing have indeed altered over the course of the year. “With the limitations of physical social interaction and a majority working from home, there is a decrease in interest in dressing up and people have [started to] favour casual or activewear during these uncertain times,” Chong says, but not without the keen observation that social media now serves as an outlet and occasion for people to put together an outfit that they would have typically dressed to head out in before the pandemic. He adds, “With the lockdown easing, hopefully we’ll be seeing more people slowly dressing up for meals and get-togethers.”

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