In researching something-or-other last week, I fell down an incredible occult couture rabbit hole, and I wanted to share my findings with you in case you hadn’t already seen some of these mystical catwalk marvels from designer Lenny Niemeyer. The collection is from a few years back, São Paulo Fashion Week on August 29, 2017, to be accurate. But it was totally new to my eyes, and I was pretty thrilled to have serendipitously stumbled across these wondrous pieces!
Hilma af Klint, Group X, No. 2, Altarpiece, 1915, oil and metal leaf on canvas
Untitled, 1940, Emma Kunz
The 2018 Summer collection was meant to be a “tribute to feminine strength,” according to the designer, and takes inspiration from Swedish artists Hilma Af Klint and Emma Kunz, visionary artists born in the late 19th century and pioneers of geometric abstractionism who arrived at their innovative artworks through “conscious collaboration with spirit.”
The artwork of both painters can be seen through their “remarkable elements such as lines, spheres, and triangles”, present in the collection’s tessellating geometric prints. Soft colors such as Sky Blue and Rose Morocco provide a mysterious counterpoint for the vibrant hues of Tomato Red and Lime Green. Additionally, fashion critics noted an “80’s revival” which “shows strength through low-cut swimsuits and draped garments.” Complimenting the mystical mood are accessories showcasing different stones and sacred shapes, perhaps recalling the phases or the platonic solids, providing even more esoteric personality to the season’s pieces.
I’m finding the runway fashion a little lackluster at the time being, so I thought I might round up a small collection of the “fall looks” I’ve been sharing on Instagram. You might argue that my sartorial contributions are nothing to get excited about either, but that’s just like, your opinion, man. But also you’d probably be right–they’re 95% monochromatic (or just black, if we’re telling it like it is), they are relatively shapeless and unstructured, and I am neither a model nor a photographer, so my imagery consists chiefly of one pose over and over again, reflected in a smudged mirror.
Well, so what? I’m a real person! And this is what I really wear! And I think you can get a much better sense of clothing as it really is and how it truly fits if you get a chance to see it on a random schlub, as opposed to someone who’s all made up and has great lighting and a photographer to find their best side.
Scroll on for a few of my favorite ensembles this season, and I will share with you the details on where to find everything as well. (My No Face phone case can be found at Amazon (because I know you’re going to ask!)
I gasped when I saw many of the pieces in this collection, incorporating motifs of scales, spiraling numbers, map of the heavens, and compasses, and which reads to me like a passionate love letter to myriad Greek achievements of antiquity. I don’t always trust what I think I am seeing, though (sometimes I can either be a little dense, or entirely too fanciful, ha!) and so I was gratified to see that I was at least half right, when I read that Vogue described it as the “…living resonance of Greek culture throughout Western civilization.”
Of the collection’s inspirations, Katranzou notes: “…philosophy, theology, biology, astronomy, trigonometry. Ideas that are so abstract—words that were birthed here two and a half thousand years ago—and the wonder that they can be so relevant today.”
Do the kitschy-campy day-glo electric neon flights of fancy in the runway clip above and in the video below remind you of anything in particular? Anything that calls to mind perhaps, an 80’s cartoon teeming with glamour and glitter, fashion and fame?
*Not so gross extra credit: have you read the comic book version of Jem and the Holograms, featuring gorgeous, expressive art from Sophie Campbell and some updated twists for a modern, forward-thinking audience, but all the campiness and ridiculous rivalry in the old cartoon? You should definitely check it out!
The Maison Francesco Scognamiglio Fall 2019 Couture collection, with its contrasting play between excess and restraint-the undulating satin, that see-through tulle, those rivulets of crystals and embellishments!–call to mind languid lady vampires swanning around an abandoned moonlit chateau, or perhaps flickering amongst the bleached bones scattered throughout the sandy stones of a coastal cliff-side ruin at twilight.
If there is a sigh between salacious and celestial, I think it is in that whispered instant that this collection leaves you gasping.
Excuse me while I slip away into this Roversian dream world where one swans in silence on velvet staircases, leans tenderly into the open hearts of somber trees, and runs away forever to weep one’s sorrows into the thorny embrace of labyrinthine shrubbery.
(I recall seeing this October 2009 W Magazine editorial several years ago, but it’s resonating so deeply with me right now. I frequently these days find myself longing to hide away from everything in a secret dream world via a hidden door in a hedge. I’ll come back in 100 years and all my troubles will have crumbled to dust.)
Photography: Paolo Roversi
Hair by Rita Marmor/TRESemme; makeup by Lucia Pieroni/ Streeters for Cle de Peau Beaute; manicures by Yuna Park/Streeters. Models: Jac/IMG; Darya Kurovska/Supreme; Dorothea Barth Jorgensen and Regina Feoktistova, both at Women Model Management. Set design by Piers Hanmer; production by Viewfinders; digital technician: Antonio Pizzichino/d-touch. Photography assistant: Arno Frugier. Market Editor: Carolyn Tate Angel. Fashion assistants: Kathryn Typaldos and Katie Casamassimo
Moncler 4 Simone Rocha Fall 2019 Ready To Wear: a collection that gently encourages you to take off for the deepest, darkest wood you can reach on foot, and then, after catching your breath and spending a moment to locate just the right spot on the mossy forest floor, beneath a shadowy elm, near a patch of violets or lady’s mantle, you can take off your coat–which doubles as a luxe down comforter, or a satiny quilt, or your Aunt Franny’s ruffled heirloom coverlet–and have a lovely lie down. Sweetest dreams, fashion plates.
If you ever had wanted a runway/haute couture installation version of Tale of Tale’s eerie video game The Path, (an interactive, and relentlessly unsettling retelling of Little Red Riding Hood) …
…I believe that witnessing the gothic-folkloric-with-a-rebellious streak fantasy of Ulyana Sergeenko’s Spring 2019 collection* debut in Paris under the direction of Ellen Von Unwerth will, in a vague way, scratch that strangely storied fairy tale forest itch.
*So it’s apparently inspired by Nobel prize winner Mikhail Sholokhov’s epic novel And Quiet Flows the Don,a story of Cossack women set during the dramatic days of the revolution and civil war in the early 20th century–but even if just for a moment as they circuitously gathered on the gloomy forest path of that cleverly designed stage–I saw what I saw!
In actuality, though, I suppose the garments resemble nothing even close to the casually dressed shadow-chic of The Path’s characters, nor it’s bleakly beautiful, forbidding atmosphere. Someone needs to make that collection happen!
As much as I love the art of fashion and and finery of fancy duds and the avant garde absurdity of runway couture, I don’t now, nor have I ever subscribed to any fashion magazines. Fashions are fleeting, after all, and magazines are just so many piles of paper taking up too much space.
“@harpersbazaarus asked me to write about witchy fashion so of course I said yes. “Modern witchiness reveals itself through fashion in clothes that articulate joy and express a healthy relationship with mortality while also being difficult for the male gaze. It’s not about dressing to please an amorphous other but yourself: Grey Gardens meets Wednesday Addams meets Stevie Nicks meets nuns. Luxe meets feeling yourself meets fuck off.”
Much of the photo shoot can be found online, though it looks as if the article is not up yet (and I am not entirely certain that it will be.) I can’t remember the last time I bought a magazine, but I’m definitely going to seek a copy of this one out–I devoured Machado’s Her Body And Other Parties and I am eager to delve into more of her eerie, feminist perspectives and narratives.
I will note that I (and many people, no doubt) would have appreciated more diversity in the shoot. Witches –and people who love fashion–come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Come on, Harper’s Bazaar…this would have been such a great opportunity to be inclusive! Do better!
“Witchcraft is the New Black”
Harper’s Bazaar US November 2018
model: McKenna Hellam
photographer: Pari Dukovic
stylist: Cassie Anderson