Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ashley Williams S/S 2015

Ashley Williams, a relatively fresh face on the London fashion scene made a splash at this year’s fashion week with her small army of mall Goths dressed in cheongsam dresses with a modern twist. What appealed to me other than the shades of bubblegum pink and slightly mod 1960s aesthetic were the frog closures used in a variety of different ways. Traditionally they are the feature which decorates the right side of a dress or shirt and for the most part Williams has stuck to the brief but also used these elements in symmetrical skirts with thigh splits which I thought was very clever. It’s a little provocative but aesthetically interesting and adds texture as well. Even though my personal style largely revolves around the use of colour and patterns I still inspect my clothes for their craftsmanship and fine detail. Nothing make me feel more powerful than to wear an outfit that I mindfully chose which is beautiful up close as well as from afar and I like to capture all of those different levels when documenting my outfit.

Fashion bloggers and WOC such as Susie Bubble have already expressed a certain kind of inner turmoil concerning the style of these dresses as succinctly as “I like it! But I know I shouldn’t”. While I don’t see their design as problematic I should make the distinction that I am biracial, half white and half Malaysian Chinese so my ties to traditional design and culture are a little more tenuous. I’ve recently had the good fortune to buy lots of gorgeous clothes from my local thrift shop including a cheongsam, Asian quilted vest and inspired-blouse of which I have no problem styling with but I’m reluctant to sell these pieces on my Etsy store for sentimental reasons as well as a strange sense of pride. These feelings are confusing and in no way easy to resolved but I think the discussion of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry is an important one.

Continuing from Prada’s AW/14 collection, glittery bras and bustiers continue to be worn over blouses and dresses rather than underneath and I love it. I had the chance to buy something similar from another brand about a week ago for twenty bucks and I missed my opportunity and my god I regret that decision so much. At a point where I have nothing but free time on my hands to experiment with personal style and particularly explore fashion without wearing a multitude of layers (as is my habit) I could have looked like a glittery Wonder Woman. I don’t think I’m quite as bold try wear such a look out yet but you never know, I’m expecting Melbourne and Australia in general to have some seriously hot weather over summer but I don’t want degrees of forty temperatures (that’s in degrees Celsius) to stop me from having fun over the holidays- as I have let it in the past. This time I am determined to have lots of fun and look cute doing it too!

While the clothes themselves remained crisp and experimental in design, the models touted somber expressions, heavy eye shadow and somewhat bedraggled locks tying in with some of the more commercialized designs of this collection. I said before it reminded me a little bit of mall Goths but never elaborated on the idea. Put simply the models looked sour-faced, like they didn’t want to be there but nonetheless wore their impeccably applied black lipstick and greased up hair. It kind of reminded me of what it felt like to be a moody teenager at the age of fourteen, getting dragged along to the shopping centre to help me mum buy a week’s worth of groceries. And while it didn’t necessarily marry well with the borrowed aesthetic of traditional Chinese dressers it did make the collection more accessible to some and for twenty-something year olds such as myself it was another thread in a rich tapestry to relate to. I loved it, but can appreciate that Ashley Williams is still learning her craft, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. 

Images via Ashley Williams website

7 comments:

  1. I love all of it!

    I think the more asian elements of the design are quite toned down and subtle, but I agree that we all need to be discussing cultural appropriation in fashion!

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    1. There's a definite down play of these traditional elements and mediation between the designer in terms of their style, which I think can be a good thing

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  2. Some of those pieces are beautiful! I love the mod influence. And I agree so much regarding the whole cultural appropriation in fashion, it's such a tricky subject. It's something I often feel touchy about as I face a lot of cultural appropriation myself, but it can be so confusing as there's no definitive answers. I always try and think that it comes down to being respectful, but even that's completely subjective. It's definitely something that needs to be discussed more!

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    1. It's a real case by case thing isn't it? But it's frustrating to see that major fashion mags aren't willing to muddy the waters and talk about something that matters to so many people!

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  3. I have so much love for this collection and Ashley Williams, her ideas are so fresh and she draws inspiration from all kinds of places (which is important in designing no matter what the fashion industry says). I like what you said about the "moody teen" look to the models - I agree and I really think this collection also represents some form of teenhood, which is probably what draws me to it!


    www.weallscreamforicedreams.blogspot

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    1. Moody Teen 4 lyf + there's definitely a variety of different elements going on which is part of this collection's charm

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