At “War” in Style.

Alexander Wang Autumn-Winter 2012

Тhere is nothing more fascinating to me than a concept of “Armour-esque” fashion right now. Yes, I always admired strong fabrics, simple cut and a sense of mystery some clothing brings; both visual and psychological. Yes, I habitually looked at Rick Owens or Gareth Pugh collections with great appreciation. Even so, could I ever completely relate to them? The answer is no. However, in the last few months my perspectives seem to have shifted. When and where did it start?

My best guess is that it kicked off this February in Hong Kong. After spending several weeks in hot and steamy Singapore, Hong Kong practically felt as good as Siberia. After thorough inspection of my suitcase I realised  that AA shirt and a wind jacket were the only “winter” items I was blessed with. Thus, as a matter of emergency I stormed to the lift; sixteen floors down and there I was – in the middle of Hong Kong’s major shopping district (Causeway Bay).

Usually I tend to stay away from big shopping malls – they simply wear me out. Be that as it may, there was no time to be hypocritical. Besides, Sogo was right there and it looked fairly cosy. After wondering for some time I came across a tiny section nicely tucked away somewhere on the second floor. It takes me exactly three seconds to scan the place (an ability that comes with time and practice) and decide whether I should linger for a further scrutinisation. One, two, th… Bang!

A sharp-looking fitted black jacket caught my eye. It was of heavy fabric and had a tall collar that covered the neck up to the jaw line precisely. Two sets or metal buttons were lined up in militaristic style. The jacket was designed by the small Japanese brand I do not remember the name of unfortunately. I tied my hair in the knot, put it on and lifted the collar. No mirror reflection was necessary. The feelings encountered in those short seconds were enough to be sure that I found something truly special. I paid for it and hurried to get out of the shopping centre. It was Friday night and knowing that I would not be able to rest in any case (sleep is generally unattainable in HK) I decided to take a walk down to Central District. A catch up with some friends over drinks was long anticipated. Plus, my newly acquired “armour” had to be tested.

I must admit that never before clothes had the same sensation for me. Yes, it was not particularly delicate item. At the same time, neither did it feel defeminising. On a contrary, in the reflections of window displays I passed by (catching a glimpse of now and then) it appeared elegant and chic. Most importantly, the sense of “protection” it gave me was supreme. Could I take any stare, any remark, any situation? In fact, it felt like I could even take a bullet if I had to.

In a half an hour walk I really started to comprehend something I only had a mere awareness of before. I realised that one can know fashion, one can love fashion, one can consume it as violently as he wishes. However, a hundred items of plain beauty or shallow attractiveness will never match up to a single piece that will impact you in a way I mentioned above. This significance may well be found in a designer’s piece or on the second floor of Sogo department store (like it happened that evening). The price tag or a label attached have no exceptional meaning here.  What does is the fact that it will help you to get from point A to B in life with your chin up, your posture straightened and your trod fierce and assured. Now that is the best possible “war” attire one can obtain and it is priceless. [Below are some visual references from current fashion designers and their recent collections]

Left: Yves Saint Laurent AW12 Right: Givenchy Haute Couture AW12

Balmain RTW AW12

Left: Rick Owens Fall 2012 Right: Maison Martin Margiela Fall 2012

Holding Shot Image Credits @Tokyo Dandy Catwalk&Detail Image Credits


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