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Fashion

A Musical Guide To S/S '19: The Sway Of '90s Club Kids, OG Techno And Dolly Parton

Fashion and music have been bedfellows since forever. Here’s a condensed guide to all the ways the latter raised the style — and star — factor of the S/S ’19 collections.

French Club Kids At Gucci

Gucci Spring/Summer ’19

Le Palace

An Alessandro Michele collection is always a joyously cacophonous mix of counterculture inspirations. This time, the main influence behind his misfit-and-proud-of-it aesthetic was Le Palace, a 17th-century theatre-turned-nightlife institution in Paris’ Montmartre. The venue for the show, it drew the glitterati in the ’70s, and was pivotal in making the electr0nic-meets-rock, synth-heavy New Wave music genre trendy. It would explain the frill- and bead-heavy ’80s party dresses, Saturday Night Fever suits gone twisted, and outre accessories from feathered showgirl fans to oversized, OTT jewellery.   

’90s Club Kids At Jeremy Scott

The music associated with this movement was electronic, high octane, and always came with a side of camp. The fashion was no different, making it a favourite obsession among designers. Scott is one of them — he was part of the scene as a youth — and while he’s always drawn from it, he amped things up further this season. Think lots of glitter, neon and vinyl, and knits made kitschy with Pikachu prints and oversized 3-D slogan motifs. Yes, it’s out there, but — true to Scott — tastefully done to come across as fashion, not costume.

… As Well As Erdem

Erdem Spring/Summer ’19

For all its classic, floral-rich femininity, Erdem Moralioglu’s work tends to possess a dark twist and this time, that comes from London’s alternative club scene in the early ’90s. With its roots in the ’80s Blitz Kids movement — the one that gave us gender-ambiguous musical (and style) icons like Boy George and David Bowie — it’s more flamboyant and romantic than its US counterpart (see below). The result: luxurious, voluminous Victorian-inspired dresses with puff sleeves cast in electric greens, pinks and blues, then topped with tulle boater hats “to introduce a poetic element to the occasion”.

The Early Days Of Disco At Halpern

Halpern Spring/Summer ’19

Has anything from this rising label not been inspired by the groovy, soul-influenced music genre that helped make glitzy halter dresses and bell-bottoms fashionable? No. It’s practically its bedrock, what with its 32-year-old namesake designer’s obsession with sequins and those very silhouettes. Its S/S ’19 collection, however, dives deeper into a more underrated part of disco’s origins: ’60s hippie psychedelia (think, um, Austin Powers), reflected in mini A-line dresses and Rudi Gernreich-ian graphic patterns awash in — what else — sequins.

OG Techno At Hugo

The more youthful offering from Hugo Boss wants to be heard in the streetwear-cluttered designer fashion scene, and what better way to do so than by returning to its roots? Literally by staging its catwalk at Motorwerk, a cavernous warehouse that’s been a rave mecca for decades in Berlin, marking the brand’s first show on home ground in years. And then there are the clothes to match: industrial-inspired separates, ’90s staples like slips, and bucket hats in neons and its signature red.

Nuances Of Hip-Hop At Dior

Christian Dior Spring/Summer ’19

While the main inspiration behind the relaxed, neutral-hued collection — bodysuits, tulle skirts, tank tops — was contemporary dance (cue the Sharon Eyal performance that opened the show), Maria Grazia Chiuri also included a nod to the rappers. Or more specifically, their jeans: loose, cargo-style, with a tie-dye finish. Lending a street edge to her updates on the Bar jacket, this is what we call a “new look”.

The Sex Pistols At Burberry

Burberry Spring/Summer ’19

Back in 1979, the British punk band released a song co-written by Vivienne Westwood titled Who Killed Bambi?. For his S/S ’19 debut at the British fashion label, Riccardo Tisci has adapted the phrase and emblazoned it across a deer-print men’s shirt (the complementary women’s trenchcoat and shorts don’t feature the slogan, but are no less statement-making). Was it part of his ode to England? (The collection celebrates British culture, and the Pistols and Westwood — whom Tisci collaborated with for a capsule that dropped in December — are an iconic part of it.) Could it have been a wry jab at his early Givenchy days (who can forget his sweatshirt with an image of a spliced-up Bambi?). Or a reference to his newly introduced ban on real fur at the house? We don’t know, but we love the mischief of it all. How rock ’n’ roll.

Dolly Parton And Janis Joplin At Gucci (Yes, Again)

The French club kid movement is not the only music-related reference in Alessandro Michele’s latest collection. Hyper-stylised portraits of the blonde, big-haired country songstress adorn a Barbie pink sweatshirt and a sleeveless denim jacket. Meanwhile, reverberations of rock/soul icon Joplin are apparent in wide-brimmed felted hats, a structured take on the ones she wore regularly. Had the latter been alive during the days of Le Palace, the ’70s Parisian disco that inspired the collection, we’ve no doubt that she – and Parton – would have loved it.

Cold Wave At Celine

Celine Spring/Summer ’19

The term refers to a niche music movement that emerged from France and Belgium in the ’70s, characterised by minimal, irreverent electronic sounds. Acts associated with it go by equally odd names such as Asylum Party, Gestalt and Little Nemo; their look a darker, monochromatic take on glam rock. Essentials — regardless of gender — included narrow, two-pleated cropped pants, skinny belts, wrap-around glasses, and strappy motorcycle boots or derbies, all of which the music-obsessed Hedi Slimane revived for his highly anticipated debut for the house.

Check out part two of our musical guide to S/S ’19 on musicians in the front row, here.

This story first appeared in Female’s February 2019 issue.