Kirstie Clements: Sometimes, not always, fashion isn’t as crazy as it looks

Elena Velez's New York show looked more like a mud bath. But there were perhaps some interesting outfits underneath it all.

Elena Velez's New York show looked more like a mud bath. But there were perhaps some interesting outfits underneath it all. Photo: Getty

I began what I thought was an interesting exercise this week, checking out the international spring/summer ’24 ready-to-wear shows, which have started in New York, and then editing and posting photos on my Instagram of oufits that looked wearable and appropriate.

Like me, many of my followers are always on the search for clothes that are flattering, and not too revealing or too kooky. You don’t see a lot of that on the runways, which is why I thought it was worth attempting. It’s what fashion magazines used to do before they were commandeered by the major luxury houses.

There seems to be more fashion, fashion shows and emerging designers than ever before, so it’s a vast field to cover.

Then you have to get past the trashy gimmicks, like designer Shao Yang staging her show on the apartment rooftop of notorious society swindler Anna Sorokin, aka Anna Delvey, in New York. Delvey served four years in prison, had a Netflix series made about her exploits, and is back on the fashion circuit, although still under house arrest (apparently her outfit covered her ankle bracelet).

Then there was the Elena Velez show, where bleary models trudged around a mud bath in what may have been interesting Victorian/apocalyptic-style corsets and skirts, which ended in a badly executed mud fight, ruining all the clothing.

Call me pedantic, but the impending apocalypse she may have been commenting on has a lot to do with climate change, and making clothes and ruining them on their first exit is just adding to the problem.

Sometimes you have to separate the styling to actually find the beautiful clothes that are underneath. Take, for example, the Collina Strada show, where the models came out with clenched fists and fixed grimaces, a riff on “everything is OK but the world’s on fire”, which I thought it was clever.

Most of my friends, especially those who aren’t in the fashion industry, would look at the season’s outfits with pure bewilderment. But once you remove the edgy hair and makeup, and the extreme layering, there were some really beautiful pieces that could be worn in a much simpler way.

Designers do have to take risks on the runway to keep things interesting because they can’t just keep sending out monochromatic slip dresses and easy-to-wear pant suits every season. Or if they do, it’s because they are the items that are the perennial money-makers in the business and it’s the over-the-top styling that freshens it all up and puts it into ‘the now’.

As much as we ooh and ahh at the swishing evening gowns that designer brands like Carolina Herrera, Giorgio Armani and Valentino send out, for most people it is a very rare occasion that would call for something that grand. And then think about the price tags!

It’s these show-stoppers that are supporting the sales of the fragrance, shoes, handbags, lipstick. I’m all for the creative styling being championed by emerging designers to keep things interesting. Just stay out of the mud.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.