“Under pressure”, “environmental disaster”, “wars”, “general anxiety” were some of the expressions bandied about by designers while describing their new collections.
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A sense of fragility and constant danger has invaded everyday life, and fashion designers are bound to reflect that in their work. If seeing police officers and troops everywhere on the streets could in some way be reassuring, why not reference those uniforms in everyday clothing, through a garment, detail or colour? Militaria reveals an antidote to the pervasive uncertainty of our time, showcasing pseudo-uniforms in the form of cosy outerwear made even more protective with the addition of harnesses or reinforcements on the shoulders, sleeves and/or sides. Garments feature large and small pockets, zips and metallic sheen, toggles and gold buttons, dipping into the charm of old uniforms which made men in arms look noble and proud. And, like a true hero, there is no shortage of decoration, with a twist; since crosses and medals have given way to a more ephemeral, ornamental vanity, there come precious embroidery and shiny crystals, bright jacquards and brocades but also floral romanticism, glitter effects, dancefloor psychedelia and lamination. The decorated 20th century man becomes the homme décor of the two thousands, perhaps losing his sense of honour in battle but gaining in narcissism and in a certain obsession for appearances, which chimes with the classic tailoring on offer which becomes softer as it is soothed by frivolous elements or borrowed from other worlds. Couture-à-porter is formal rigour tuned into contemporaneity which, at times, embraces precious touches bordering on the feminine or the relaxed details and shapes of sportswear, or else a mock shabbiness that conceals a maniacal attention to detail.