Is this the end of minimalism?

FAUX REAL - Karen Bolilia (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2015 - 10:00am

I don’t know about you, but at some point in 2015 I got normcore fatigue—or whatever this polished-cum-casual look everyone is sporting now. The Stan Smiths/Superstars that I pined for for ages rose to cult status too quick—you, me, and all of our friends have the same pair. So I gave up, and stuck with a now raggy pair of white Converse sneakers that I got at a Foot Locker. It came in regular, VSCO-filtered waves—the culottes + white sneaker pairing consistently popped on my Instagram feed, the Mansur Gavriel bucket bags kept coming. While I have nothing personal against these things, the symptoms persisted, and all the publicity and affirmation of good taste was giving me the fashion hives. Normcore has come full circle, so generic that it contradicts the pedestrian style it peddled, to the point that it’s no longer engaging; is there such a thing as being too homogenous? I’ve been eager to bid it R.I.P..

But an invigorated state of mind has been slowly emerging out of the shows lately, like a light at the end of a tunnel. A little garish, a pinch of bad taste. And it doesn’t just radiate from labels where you expect to find some glamour, like Versace or Balmain. This energy has been absorbed and embraced by quieter, low-key designers too, like Jean Touitou of A.P.C., who built his house out of preppy, functional and undeniably French basics, has declared during his spring 2015 menswear presentation that his label “is not the house of normcore” and that he is “done with minimalism.” There are also the likes of John Galliano reinterpreting the codes of Margiela, JW Anderson, and Céline—a.k.a Planet Zero—and origin of post-recession minimalism. The mindset has trickled across the board. This is when you start to take note.

Touted by Vogue UK as glamcore, today’s interpretations aren’t quite as lavish and obvious, toeing that line between outlandish and what’s considered “intellectual” design. Minimalism’s mileage wearing thin has perhaps paved the way for show-off fashion again, or perhaps it’s the ‘80s—fall-winter’s decade of choice. But how refreshing to see something not in camel or that perfect shade of ivory, and a winking sense of humor. There’s Alessandro Michele’s debut in Gucci, a magpie’s dream wardrobe perfectly compressed in a single show; truly eccentric, botanical—a fashion moment if we ever saw one. Céline’s fall show heavily featured reworked yet noticeably more deconstructed silhouettes from Philo, with handkerchief hems, slightly peeled back sleeves, bejewelled shoes, and pom-poms dangling off the shoulder. JW Anderson, continuously striving (and succeeding) at hitting the pulse of the moment, presented lamé trousers in red for Loewe’s fall show; and a ruffled, cut-out stiletto-boot hybrid in metallic bronze, at Resort for his own label. Recently, the Insta-prolific designer also launched a bag in the shape of an elephant. But there is Prada, perhaps the most transcendent of all, with Miuccia going so far as coining a term for her proposed ethos: post-modest. Prada has always been set a progressive tone whether it’s about gender or politics, and post-modesty, a reaction to our own selfie-obsessed, wanna-impress-you culture is all about intentional dressing—more vulgar, self-aware, and but not too highbrow. Her latest menswear show was all about mundane prints, like bunnies on a satchel, rockets on knitwear and chainlinks on sandals. More than anything, post-modesty is a styling manifesto, a way to reason and poke fun at the times. What could be more modern than learning to take ourselves less seriously?

It will take a little more than printed lamé to wipeout minimalism, but the prospect of a looming shift tickles, it’s almost seductive. At a banana-themed party some of my friends threw, some came up to me to say, “Wow, you’re actually wearing yellow” (a certain site even expressed that I couldn’t help it!). Said yellow item was a Jollibee x Uniqlo shirt that I chose to wear like a baby tee, paired with my favorite denim A-line mini and Tabi boots—a look that I wouldn’t have seen myself in, given the semi-drastic changes I’ve made in my wardrobe in the past two years. But I wore that shirt with pride, and walked across the street to the nearest Jollibee (how convenient). I ordered one peach mango pie as wannabe employee of the month, and posed with the iconic fast food mascot on my way out. For Instagram, what else.

My god, what fun.

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