Borrowing from the cushion-filled silhouettes of Rei Kawakubo and combined with the sex appeal of Kylie Minogue's gold hot pants comes Elsa Schiaparelli's circus fueled gala. The latter won't be immediately familiar to you if you're not an Australian, but it's well worth spending ten seconds of your day to Google. As is the usual custom, I was introduced to this collection while scrolling through my Instagram feed and was in awe of the highly creative designs and luxury of the materials used. Velvet graces the runway as often as it gets mentioned in a series of Seinfeld, but unlike George Costanza's velvet tracksuit, the plush material was sparingly used to create asymmetrical bustiers featuring a myriad of celestial symbols. It is these strange shapes that lends Fall 2016 Couture to the same stratosphere as the Bauhaus classic, Das Triadisches Ballett which debuted in the 1920s this collection simultaneously belongs to a far-away future which hasn't happened yet. The characters of this collection were a mixture between elegantly dressed dignitaries with hard-edged boxy shoulders, and surreal humanoid beings with spherical, gold lame curves.
This year, 2016 has continued to claim some of the brightest and most compelling creative minds, with street style photographer Bill Cunningham joining the ranks of the recently deceased after being hospitalized for a stroke. I can't help but look upon these odd swirling panels and think of the late David Bowie's iconic jumpsuit designed by none other than Kansai Yamamoto. But rather than creating such patterns with alternating streaks of silver, Schiaparelli has created three-dimensional master pieces. They bring new nuance to the humble puffer jacket and make me yearn for 1980s cut-off shorts, if any have survived almost thirty years without falling apart. The now defunct American Apparel made disco pants, but I always talked myself out of buying from a company with such loose ethics and little respect for their workers. Each outfit is made sensible with a smart pair of patent black leather heels with most dresses and coats baring some resemblance to the most influential Japanese designers of our time. However, the colours, textures and material predominantly speak of a European influence.
Aforementioned reference to one of the greatest musicians, David Bowie and Oskar Schlemmer's Das Triadisches Ballett. On the left, Schlemmer's costume from the early 20's, on the right Bowie wearing a strikingly similar costume by Kansai Yamamoto. In comparison both these costumes seem much more abstract and obscure the human body as opposed to Schiaparelli's heavily embellished but flattering gowns. To emphasise the female figure there were pleats snaking down the body, epaulets are heavily endowed with gems and bedazzled sheer fabric covers the ankles. Of each dress, the waist is always emphasised no matter how strong the shoulders may appear.
For the most part, I am completely comfortable with a social calendar metaphorically covered in cob webs. However, upon seeing these most gorgeous gowns, only appropriate for some type of fabulous evening or dinner function I feel somewhat left out living in this small corner of the world with only three pubs and a club to frequent of an evening. What appeals to me more though is the time taken to complete each garment, as well as this garish glow similar to the 1980s trophy jackets which I felt so drawn to when first discovering vintage. It's that very shimmer and reincarnation of trends or an era which is typically ostracized within many fashion circles that I am most preoccupied with. Basically, I'm just waiting to ride on the coattails of a fashion designer making Avant-garde and 80s fashion cool again, so I might splurge on the best that sites like eBay and Etsy has to offer.