In line with emerging innovations, fashion changes, is redrawn, is in perpetual motion. The ten editions of the PV Awards have highlighted materials whose spirit has echoed through the fashions of the past ten years. These original, technological, and high-performance creations allow styles to be reinvented, to move into new territories. Some proposals address designers’ requests … and some discoveries anticipate their desires. Technology as well as artisanal touches (the hand that occasionally completes the work of the computer), spectacular innovations that are occasionally visible, but primarily invisible to the naked eye, all while making a difference, especially in how materials feel. Performance, sustainability, eco-awareness … just a few of the directions around which fashion is constantly redrawn and shifting.
Reducing pollution is a concern shared by designers too. The idea of eco-responsibility was reflected in the creation of the Fashion Smart Award, to recognize the creativity of an eco-responsible behaviour, for an optimisation of materials and improvement in production conditions. These parameters affect the designers’ own choices, with some fully advocating this approach. Stella McCartney, for example, chooses partnerships on the basis of cleaner manufacturing and the use of « green » chemistry. With Honest By, Bruno Pieters proposes a 100% transparent company. Recycling, reducing the use of water, transportation … what goes on behind the scenes is now front and centre on the fashion stage. This can be showcased via a logo, as in « Remade, Reduce, Recycle » for Christopher Raeburn, whose designs respect these principles. And there’s a noted success for recycled polyester based on plastic waste and pre-used textile fibres.
For years, fashion and sport have been merging, and the trend is moving into overtime thanks to new developments. Fused codes and mixed genres with technological advances play a leading role. There are transfers of techniques between the two sectors and, on a style level, an interpenetration of codes. With anti-halo, heat-regulating fabrics, suppleness and lightness, there’s an entire gamut of new technology … Renaissance from Prada Sport (Linea Rossa) combines functionality and sophistication. The spirit of sport codes is found in many collections such as Balenciaga, Koché, A-Cold-Wall, Off-White and more… As for sports brands, collaborations with designers further blur the frontiers, as in the collection by Sacai for Nike.
Fused materials make it possible to add up properties, suppleness and rigidity, lightness and strength … Linen and wool, cashmere and silk … A mix of fabric styles too, as in denim and tailoring. Materials go all out for hybridization, as seen in two-faced fabrics with two different textiles. Sacai with Nike imagines a knit sweater and a silk shirt and incorporates lace! Fashion quite visibly plays different materials in concert to create new garments. For several seasons, Lutz has been a dazzling proponent of this formula, from jeans with crepe, to cotton with a skin … for new, particularly successful crossed products.
The race is on for zero weight, with increasingly light fabrics, whether for duvets or puffer jackets, which have now found their place in the fashion world thanks especially to the success of Moncler, which has left the ski slopes for the fashion runways with its capsule collections, including a last, spectacular collection by British designer Craig Green. In leather, lightness is played out in thinner and thinner layers and very supple skins. Waterproof fabrics also play at being lighter than air.
The notion of well-being is also emerging as an interesting element. Fabrics that absorb perspiration, heat -regulating fabrics… Research is ongoing in a number of directions with so-called intelligent fabrics. A search for new properties: anti-bacterial, anti-stress, slimming, heat-regulating, connected, anti-UV textiles… An elaboration of colours and light … often still in the experimental mode at Chalayan, or Anrealage … And more concretely with the convenience of water-repellent, stain-resistant fabrics… Comfort is also conveyed immediately via the soft feel of materials.
Garments with no seams: à la carte apparel that eliminates the waste created by cutting. Stretchy, second-skin circular knits have ventured into fashion, especially in the A-Poc collection by Issey Miyake. Another Japanese designer, Yuima Nakazato, has created an entire seamless collection. Certainly experiments, but also a path towards greater speed, more time saving, and as a result, money. To keep an eye on.
As technology evolves, especially digital printing, quantities can be smaller, which means more latitude for designers, allowing them to create limited series. This possibility leads to creations marked by boldness. New 3D directions can be cited at many designers, the most experimental and spectacular being found at Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen, who fashions a kind of garment of the future.
A vinyl effect in leathers and fabrics for a fashion that shines, diving back into the fashion codes of the ‘60s. Materials are more and more supple, and boast a perfect shine. These can be (re)-discovered at Nina Ricci, Lanvin, Miu Miu, Isabelle Marant, Kenzo, Courrèges, for a step back into one’s own past….
By Antigone Schilling
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