Back in 2012, the rise of “radical neutrality” began to emerge growing into what we now refer to as “normcore”. The idea of neutrality as a radical concept continued to permeate and develop into new facets of our social and political environmental construct. Neutrality was not radical only in the sense of the clothes we wore, but in how we, as a collective, agreed to view and accept the expression of gender and sexuality. The concept of gender blending, which has always held a place in the fashion world, has been slowly growing in acceptance in the social and political realms. As the lines between what is defined as male and what is defined as female continue to blur, so do the silhouettes of the future.
In COMME des GARÇONS A/W17 Paris Fashion show a new silhouette was introduced and dubbed as the silhouette of the future. Though what makes this silhouette so radical is that there is no actual defined silhouette. Models graced the runway in bulbous outfits that boasted exaggerated curved lines and armless outfits. The debut of this collection plays off the idea of the blending of genders, taking it a few steps further by implying that the future is not just genderless, but formless.
These oversized outfits also speak to the present zeitgeist felt all around the world. The present sociopolitical atmosphere is riddled with uncertainty and frequent bouts of fear mongering. Women all over the world are seriously reconsidering what it means to feel safe and discovering new ways to achieve feeling safe through their dress and appearance. The phrase, “wolf in sheep clothing” is turning on its head and leaving behind negative connotations in 2016, shifting the meaning in alignment with the phrase, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. Formless power suits, like the kind worn in the 80s in an attempt for women to solidify their competency in the workplace through their dress. We have seen oversized coats and t-shirts, and boyfriend jeans rise in popularity, perhaps as a means to help women both assimilate and shield their bodies and esteem from unsolicited ridicule or comments.
Though the silhouette in the 1920s and 1960s briefly explored new shapes, specifically square, the hourglass silhouette remained and continued to reign as the preferred silhouette of the masses. Seemingly insignificant, the dissolve of the traditional hourglass silhouette symbolizes the start of a new chapter in the history of fashion; one in which we haven’t observed since Charles Fredrick Worth introduced the bustle.