PaperCity Magazine

May 2019- Dallas

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Page 58 of 95

AN OBSERVATION OF THE DISTORTED SHAPE AND EXAGGERATION OF A CACOPHONOUS SPRING 19. R arely is it possible to accurately define the period in which one is living; it takes years of reflection to properly examine a past decade. In that vein, fashion rarely brings something entirely new to the table. Designers simply play on themes that recur every few seasons — or every few genera- tions. We'll have a military moment à la epaulets or camouflage prints from Balmain. Then we might be told that a flower is once again a girl's best friend and find floral flourishes on frocks and accessories from Ferragamo. A few years after wearing nothing but oversized frocks and shapeless garments that do little to highlight the human form, the announcement may come down a runway that bodycon is back — and we will trade wide-legged trousers for skin-tight dresses. Since the dawn of modern fashion, it has become quite clear that what we see on a runway, in a store, or on the girls walking down the street is often as much a reaction to the political, social, and cultural situation globally as it is the singular creative vision of a designer. If we start with Cristóbal Balenciaga, this could not be more apparent. The Spanish designer launched his collection on the eve of World War II in Paris in 1937. In his post-war designs — a reaction to Christian Dior's popular New Look, which brought women back to a romantic, hourglass silhouette as a matter of escaping the drab and dreadful world of war — Balenciaga reimagined the relationship between shape and a woman's body. Gone were the traditional waistline and nipped-tucked style so restraining to women; in its place came tunics, balloon-shaped dresses, empire-style baby-doll dresses that barely touched the skin, and necklines that were wider and boxy, allowing the neck to swan from a garment in elegant, free fashion. While Dior took a romanticized approach to the post-war world, making whimsical flowers out of the women he dressed, Balenciaga embraced an unseen modernism, freeing women from the confines of traditional femininity in a bold statement of play on shape and the architecture of fabric and cut. Of course, what could be more reactionary when it comes to fashion than the garments we saw in the glorious 1980s. Shape, once again, evolved, perhaps growing out of a direct response to the abundant wealth and excess of the era. Call it the Reagan reaction. In the White House, we had First Lady Nancy Reagan in red, her slight frame given strength by her signature shoulder pads — and on the runways we saw a level of opulence, exaggerated shape, and shine that was certainly not part of the aesthetic vocabulary of the flowing Halston-style 1970s. Christian Lacroix, one of the '80s foremost showmen, made clothing that could have been worn as easily on the stage as in reality. His cues came from opera costumes and modern art; his colors were jewel in tone (emerald green, fuchsia, orange, magenta, and yellow); and he covered his larger-than-life garments in embellishment akin to the clothing worn by 17th-century kings and queens — attire appropriate for holding court in Versailles. Thierry Mugler, another icon of the 1980s, did for the female form in the late 20th century what Dior did for women in the 1940s. His angular silhouettes and pointed shoulders were maximal, to be sure, taking the curves of a woman's body and making them robotic. No wonder he was often referred to as the prophet of Futurism. His new woman was not just shapely in the organic sense of the word, but she was an exaggeration of herself. Call it armor. Call it fantasy. Call it clothing's answer to the era of plastic surgery. Perhaps having a Republican in the Oval Office translates into fashionable excess (an ode to Capitalism at its peak and Wall Street's wild success), while a Democrat in that seat signals a shift to minimalism in our dress. This is fashion's own kind of left-wing activism — a near act of solidarity for PHOTOGRAPHER TONY SOLIS. ART DIRECTION MICHELLE AVIÑA. STYLIST DOUG VOISIN FOR INDEPENDENT ARTISTS AGENCY. ASSISTANT STYLIST CHRISTOPHER MACKINNON FOR INDEPENDENT ARTISTS AGENCY. MODELS ISABEL AND LACI FOR NEW ICON, MEXICO CITY. HAIR AND MAKEUP GUSTAVO BURTOLOTTI. EDITORIAL ASSISTANT MEGHAN WEST. BY CHRISTINA GEYER, WITH BILLY FONG BODYSUIT BY DOUG VOISIN. FROM THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES COLLECTION BY MARÍA PONCE, WHITE CORAL DRESS AT @MARIA.PONCE.N.

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