Is a Derelicte trend really going to take hold next spring?
In the Zoolander film’s brutal take on the fashion industry, Will Ferrell’s bad guy Mugatu creates "a fashion, a way of life inspired by the very homeless, the vagrants, the crack whores that make this wonderful city so unique" for his New York Fashion Week show.
A report in the New York Times cites numerous Derelicte-nodding items that made their way down the spring '14 runways. There were soft black purses that resembled trash bags at Lanvin, and tech fabrics at J.W. Anderson and Giambattista Valli that seemed to reference cardboard boxes and corrugated iron. The “post-apocalyptic wasteland” that provided the setting for Marc Jacobs’ show also gets a name check.
Fashion is often accused of being beyond parody because it does such a good job on its own, and when listed together it’s easy to see the connection between these elements. But if we start taking designers to task for intentionally appropriating the plight of the homeless for the sake of fashion, even if it is via a comedy film reference, we need to be absolutely certain that it’s their intention to do this.
Far from being a trash-inspired fashion conspiracy, the NYT demonstrates that each of the examples form part of the designers’ own agenda – and these appear to have little to do with Mugatu and co. Alber Elbaz famously despises the concept of It bags – and many commentators think he used the bags to make a pointed statement in a show that otherwise cranked up the glamour. J.W. Anderson claimed that his use of fabrics “was about finding a new way of pleating”, while Marc Jacobs told Style.com that his show space was “a weird frat party, Burning Man, shores-of-Gotham City sort of beach scene.”
Our tip? Don’t get too caught up in the whole trends thing. While they provide a convenient shorthand for summing up hundreds and thousands of catwalk looks from a single season, trends can skew the original intentions of the designer. Of course there is a caveat: if Relax starts blaring and Ben Stiller is strutting down the runway, you have every right to be suspicious.