I am not known amongst my family and friends as someone with a minimalist approach to style. From an early age I swore myself off denim jeans at a young age and over the last few years I have focused on the purchase of printed clothing and patterns. I'm not a very loud person so by wearing lots of clashing prints and patterns is my own secret way of being loud- an idea first articulated by Shirley Kurata. In a recent outfit post I discussed the runway trend of grid patterns that captivated fashion audiences in 2013. The lovely Regina of Intravit commented and referred me to this collection by Piece d'Anarchive, which embodies that sentiment of icy cool style created by synthetic patterns. The presentation and photo shoot blends that idealistic notion of street style-chic accessible by wearing Dr Martens, Nike and Converse Sneakers with beanies and black felt hats. The overall effect is the creation of something that is both simplistic and refreshingly modern dresses, skirts and tops.
The collection also reminds me of the StyleLikeU interview with Natalia Kills. Because I don't dye my hair wild colours or really wear a lot of makeup, I make up for it with a colourful wardrobe. In contrast, Natalia Kills wears outfits in black with effortless chic, but is still able to bring depth to each outfits. Her wardrobe is a composite of markets purchases, vintage fashion house treasures and pieces from around the world. What struck me as being particularly Kills-esque aside from the use of black were the black skirts supported with suspenders over a simple white shirt and broad brimmed hats. The artist prefers to wear her suspenders backwards, creating something eye-catching across the bust, something which I think is creative and also subtly erotic.
It's hard to explain why the collection resonates with me, but it probably has something to do with me secretly being a teenage fangirl despite being a boring 20 year old science student who still lives at home with her parents. If I was sixteen, and still in high school doing sewing subjects I probably would have devoted large portions of my sketch books and final project to grids, rigid lines and body harnesses. It's just really satisfying to copy something ordinary like a children's blank math book and elevate it to something as heady and dynamic as fashion and artistic expression. The collection is at times, restrained at a superficial level looking at texture, material and colour but I think the boxy silhouettes and leather culotte more than make up for this. Also there is the weird sandals guaranteed to make a generation of old people cringe and vomit on sight.
Even with this huge obsession with black lines on a white background I have been unable to find my dream piece which satisfies all criteria. You seriously underestimate how sad this makes me guys, I found a sheer shirt in this print last week and it looked really bad when I wore it. Then to top it all off the sales assistant hounded me asking me why I didn't like it and tried to offer me ~styling tipz~ (that really pissed me off). So I'm still kind of heartbroken about that and I am hoping that with so many gorgeous pieces focusing on this simple idea that the lovely people of Piece d'Anarchive have what I'm looking for. Ignoring that I may never get to see all these pieces gathered together in the same room I am kind of hopeful that I will own the check piece of my dreams before the fashion world moves on to The Next Big Thing.
The inclusion of male models was not a cheap gimmick (a common trap for other emerging fashion labels) but rather a slick way of emphasising how the slouchy and boxy structure ties together with the prints. I don't really care for the weird bike shorts they had to wear, or the cheap/douchy-looking baseball hats but the inclusion of men does emphasise grid patterns in monochome as gender neutral territory. As someone who considers herself familiar with iconic prints of the fashion world I cannot stress enough that it is rare to find something suitable for both boys and girls. The designers had this in mind too, creating matching kilts and androgynous shorts that ooze street style cool. I dream of finding similar pieces in foreign markets for up and coming designers, or at secret sample sales for boutique Melbourne stores.
The future of fashion is being redefined as we speak by the clean lines and refreshingly minimalist approach of brands like Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney but also by their lesser known counterparts working behind the scenes. In recent years there have been several changes in the process of clothing design- digital printing, the glorification of neoprene being amongst my personal favorites but the blurring of gender roles has really taken off, and about time too. In women's fashion it was common practice to appropriate aspects of masculine tailoring to create jaunty and wide shoulders of jackets, as well as androgynous wide-legged trousers but I've really enjoyed men wearing kilts with shiny new Dr Martens boots. It's dashing, politically modern and upsetting to little old ladies with a devil may care attitude. I like to indulge in shock value when it comes to my own aesthetic and personal style, so I look for that same playful attitude when searching for new designers to drool over.
That pretty much sums it up- I am a simple creature with simple pleasures who can be easily won over with black lipstick and shiny new Dr Martens boots in a photo shoot. I normally don't venture into such safe territory when it comes to clothes, I've been trawling over Etsy and eBay late at night for vintage Moschino and Versace Versus but the use of grid prints has me in some sort of Pepe Le Pew trance following the scent of unusual threads. Those crazy printed pieces need a more muted companion in the imaginary outfits I compose in my mind, because I am too poor in real life to afford them anyway. Also it's good to appreciate something very different to what you normally like, so you feel reinvigorated and can appreciate the stuff you do like in a different way.