Not to sound like a tape recorder on repeat but the state of things – politics, environment-wise – aren’t really looking great.

From Adolf Twitler (read: Trump) to scientists discovering micro-pieces of plastic in seafood and the recent oil spill in the East China Sea (the worst oil spill since 1991, according to the New York Times), it’s all pretty grim with very real effects (P.S. stay away from seafood).

It might account for why we’re seeing dystopian-ready attire from designers at the ongoing New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018. In his third runway show for Calvin Klein, industry bellwether Raf Simons sent out models traipsing out on an actual bed of popcorn that filled the room at least half a foot-deep (yes, that means even big name celebs such as Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong’o had to wade through the popcorn to get to their seats).

The popcorn-filled runway set at the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC F/W’18 show

What could the popcorn signify? It’s just our guess but the junk food has in recent years become immortalised as an online meme staple, used when readers anticipate a juicy piece of news unfolding. With the shenanigans at the White House unfolding on a weekly basis (the latest being Trump’s lawyer paying off the porn star Stormy Daniels out of his own pocket), one can only expect popcorn-popping to be, well, popped.

(But then again, one has to wonder the significance of filling a runway show – one that typically lasts around 15 minutes – with 50,000 gallons of popcorn. Very real, very edible food, only for people to step on them inevitably, it seems. What does it say about the smoke and mirrors excesses that fashion has long been accused of?)

But back to the clothes, where Simons contrasted straight-up pretty prairie dresses with protectionist survival gear.

Calvin Klein 205W39NYC F/W’18
Calvin Klein 205W39NYC F/W’18
Calvin Klein 205W39NYC F/W’18

Simons sent out models decked out in gear reminiscent of firefighters such as Mylar survival blankets (part of dresses trimmed with white lace) and orange jumpsuits with that familiar reflective panels. Accessories included hazmat-style boots and silvery gloves that would not have looked out of place on astronauts.

Forward-thinking, utility-heavy attire was also at play at Chromat’s show, where designer Becca McCharen-Tran showed skin-tight dresses and pants that came with mesh pockets that allowed one to stash away food and beverages for on-the-go sustenance. To underscore her point, a few of her models even popped open the snacks (Cheetos, in this case) to eat them on the runway as they walked towards the cameras.

Chromat F/W’18
Chromat F/W’18
Chromat F/W’18

Carrying food on the go may be a simple idea (or at least technology-wise), but it’s one that drives home the point that humans may have to return to their nomadic roots in future – what with most major coastal cities in danger of being flooded in future as sea levels rise. We’re not even talking about far-flung places such as Miami in the States or Rio de Janeiro in Brazil – much closer to home, Jakarta is already in the process of sinking.

For the customer who wants a more straight forward and glamorous take on the futuristic/protectionist theme, head to Sally LaPointe, who said she was inspired by the moon landing. Her sleek puffers and gold foil-esque jumpsuits will undoubtedly be retail gold.

Sally LaPointe F/W’18Sally LaPointe F/W’18

But it’s not all doom and gloom – Simons actually dismisses the idea of this collection being entirely mired in dystopia, telling Vogue that it’s “less horror this time (compared to the S/S’18 collection), more hope.”  LaPointe offers a similar point of view: “It’s about being positive and looking forward.” To that, I’m sure we can all agree.

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