Podcast

The Podcast by StyleCircle S1/EP2

In the second episode of The Podcast by StyleCircle, Bella, Madeline and Arushi talk all things Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks S/S 2021.
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Full transcript of The Podcast by StyleCircle S1, Ep1 below.

‘B’ will refer to Isabella Papagiannis, ‘M’ will refer to Madeline Pelley, ‘A’ will refer to Arushi Chopra.

B: Welcome to the Podcast by StyleCircle. My name is Bella, and I’m here with,

M: Madeline,

A: And Arushi.

B: And you’re listening to Episode 2.

Intermission

The land where StyleCircle operates has an important history, present and future that we need to understand and acknowledge. This land is called Turtle Island, and it is originally the home of many Indigenous peoples. It is the unceded traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Wendat and the Mississaugas of the New Credit. We acknowledge and respect these nations as the past, present, and future true inhabitant people of this land. What is today known as Toronto is located in the Dish with One Spoon Territory. The Dish with One Spoon is a treaty between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. We want to recognize that we are sharing this land on which Toronto sits with each other.

Intermission

B: How are you guys today?

M: I’m feeling good, starting to feel a bit busy with school but reading week is coming soon so that’s what I’m looking forward to.

A: Yeah, right now we’re in the middle of midterms and assignments, but we’re getting through it and it’s going to be a good discussion today.

B: Yeah, it definitely is. Can you guys believe we’re halfway through the semester? That’s just a whole other thing.

M: No, I feel like I was at a different point in my life everything other semester except this one.

B: I have no concept of time!

A: Online school is just not it.

B: I feel surrounded by my room walls constantly. But anyway, let’s get into the discussion today. First of all, I wanted to mention that it is currently spooky month in October at the time we are recording this, and in spooky month tradition, Ryan Murphy released something, Ratched, and I wanted to ask if you guys saw it or saw any attention towards it.

M: I haven’t watched it myself, but both my roommates are watching it and have said that I need to start watching it. I have watched a few seasons of American Horror Story, so I think I know what the just of it would be, but it looks like a good show from what I’ve heard.

A: Yeah, it’s on my list, like, it’s next.

B: I think, purely for the fashion and aesthetic of the show, everyone should give it a watch. It takes place 1947, the Dior silhouette is there, it’s gorgeous, Sarah Paulson, *chef’s kiss*, I love her…if you’ve seen American Horror Story, Asylum, it is also really similar to that.

M: The Netflix show I’ve been watching is Emily in Paris, and I recommend that one.

A: Me too!

B: I’ve never seen that, what’s that one about?

M: A girl that moves to Paris…

A: It’s good for the cultural difference part, but other than that, it’s not the best show, but there is some fashion in there, there’s some designer items, not the best items, but they’re clothes, so, you know, it’s good.

M: Yeah, for a 20-year-old upping her life and moving to Paris—she has a never designer handbag every scene.

A: But there was also a $65.00 Aldo bag paired with $1,400 Dolce and Gabbana dresses—we appreciate the high/low, but I don’t know.

B: I love the callout—the specifics— so necessary, especially when you’re calling things out! Someone made a note about the Savage Fenty show—I’m really excited about it.

A: Yes, I watched it this morning, it was amazing! It made me emotional, and so did the first one, like, I literally was crying halfway through; it’s awesome to see versus the controversy over Victoria’s Secret that happened in 2018—it’s great. I wrote down, “The old guard versus the new guard”, it’s just, you know, breaking tradition, we had all kinds of people in there, all kinds of ages, larger people, smaller people, people of all races and everything in between.

B: I think Rihanna is so good at the inclusivity aspect of it. I saw this post on the Business of Fashion talking about how successful the brand is because of the show and inclusivity, because it’s also Rihanna, right? And Victoria’s Secret’s kind of irrelevant at this point. But the quality of the lingerie is not 100% there, like, the reviews of the quality are not 100%, so I thought that was kind of interesting as well.

A: Yeah, I think that the affordability kind of tells us that the fabric quality is not there, so that is an interesting point to bring up, for sure.

B: Madeline, any thoughts?

M: I haven’t watched it but I heard it was good. I see the snippets of it on Instagram and it goes on my list of things I need to watch with the minimal time I have on my hands. But maybe over reading week I will catch up on all of this culture that I am missing out on.

B: Well that’s kind of a good segue into our major discussion today, which is going to be Fashion Month, part 2, where we’re going to be focusing on the last two sectors, Milan and Paris, so stay tuned for that.

Intermission

B: So, we’re going to be starting with Milan Fashion Week, and I think a show that I personally always look forward to when it starts is Moschino, with Jeremy Scott. I feel like his shows are just always so fun, I find. This season he did something really cool and presented his collection on marionette dolls.

M: I really like this show too, after you sent us a message asking if we’d seen it—I had to go look for it right away! I think it was a fun was to still do a runway show, but with dolls, and I wasn’t expecting that, but it seems to make so much sense. We’re always dressing up dolls with clothes and playing with them, and that’s exactly what he did.

A: I liked it too, I like how he’s known for being playful; there was a little Anna Wintour doll, which was fun to see, and Jeremy Scott said in Vogue that he was inspired by Haute Couture and I think that really comes through. I do think that the clothing itself is not that interesting—and maybe that’s just me—but I think that there’s not really anything new about it, but definitely it was creative and the presentation was great.

And maybe this is me just being really picky and reading into things too much, but I’m just wondering, respecting that the show is a form of escapism, as Jeremy Scott is bringing us into his fantasy, I just wonder if it perpetuates the idea of going back to normal and having traditional fashion shows, because he could have done anything with this marionette show, but he chose to put it into a traditional fashion show setting. What do you guys think about that?

B: I was also a little bit, I don’t want to say confused, but I—let me explain…I can’t think of the proper word to explain my emotion. I was reading an article in Vogue about the collection in general, and the interviewer was asking Jeremy Scott over virtual interview about the strings of the marionette dolls representing an attachment to society and old ideas—all these things—and Jeremy’s response was just like, “You’re looking way too far into it. The theme is so obvious, I just wanted it to be a form of escapism.” A part of me respects that because so many designers this year focused on the hard hitting issues, which is really important, and so I see how it’s sort of frustrating because he has such a strong and prevalent voice, and people pay attention to his collections, so it would’ve been cool if it had been something political.

M: Yeah, I get what you’re saying, Bella. It was such a fun idea, but then he also kind of made his platform irrelevant. He could’ve shared a story, but he did just take a fun approach of, which, maybe was needed, because there were so many shows that had an underlying theme and brought up other ideas that we are continuously discussing today. But I don’t know, I really liked that it was fun, because I think that it just happens now that we look at stuff and do think way too much into it, and then things get taken out of context, so we’re left wondering, “Is it just a shirt, or is it a shirt that represents blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?”

A: Yeah…at first impression, it was super striking and much appreciated.

B: Oh, yeah. But I do agree with Arushi on the point that, the clothes themselves, I wasn’t blown away by—that’s the only thing. I think it was definitely more show-based than anything, and I do appreciate the amount of detail that went into some of the garments on the dolls, and that he can replicate the detail on the miniature versions [versus] the life-sized, but I didn’t think there was really anything special about it.

M: Yeah, and when I was reading a Vogue article, I read that this actually cost more than a physical runway show, which I think is a really interesting fact because some designers could’ve taken this as a cost-saving measure or something, but he went above and beyond what he would’ve done normally, which I think is just crazy, because everything has been pressured into being minimalist, but his wasn’t.

A: Yeah, he definitely created a whole world, because on the Moschino website there are backstage photos of the models before they went on the runway and stuff, so I think he really achieved that whole escapist, kind of, creating of a world. It was cool.

B: He even, at one point in the video, I think there was an editor for, I think it was the New York Times, was making note about one of the garments going down the runway, and I thought that was so interesting and so clever, and I really did appreciate it.

M: Yeah, I think there was another part two where someone is seen whispering into Anna Wintour’s ear making a comment and stuff, so he made it lively; it wasn’t just dolls walking down, it was extravagant, for a doll show.

A: And last week we spoke about how designers are kind of conscious about how this season isn’t really about the clothes as much, so the presentation aspect, I think, we’re definitely more focused on.

B: It definitely makes me miss the excitement of the clothes though.

M: Yeah, like, because so many designers are putting the focus on the presentation, I’m almost more focused on the film than I am to the clothing that the people are dressed in. As I’m watching, it’s almost a second thought of, “Oh, what was that?”

B: It’s almost like the aesthetic value exceeds the actually garments, which is kind of a little bit upsetting because I think at first, the visual presentation of the show—it strikes you—it’s your first impression of it, and I think after the fact, because we go back and we look at the clothes so much—especially before the podcast, we have to to know what they look like—you start focusing so intently on the clothes, and then you really see the lack of because all the attention went onto the show.

M: I feel that right now as I’m looking at some of the looks, it’s like I thought they were so cool, at first, and I’m staring at them now and it doesn’t feel so special anymore.

A: It’s hard to believe that you can see the drape of the fabric and everything, even though the details are included that would’ve been included on the clothes, it’s a tiny marionette, and so you can’t see the full detail of the fabric.

B: I also found the strings to be a bit distracting—maybe that’s me nit-picking because I was staring at them for so long.

A: Alright. So, now a show that actually had humans in it, and was actually really focused on the humans, was MSGM.

B: Yeah, they did a self-portrait style photography series, and it was called, Self-Portrait of a Generation. Essentially, they rounded up a bunch of artists, activists, and models as well, and they were told to style their own outfits, so I guess—I’m assuming—there was a rack full of clothes and they were like, “Pick what you want to wear based on your personality.” There’s also a video where they were essentially asked questions about their insecurities and how they overcame them—it was very that energy.

M: The style of the photoshoot really reminded me of the FaceTime photoshoots we’ve seen become really popular over quarantine, which I think is a fun way to do it while still keeping health and safety guidelines in mind. But I’m curious if the way the models decided to style the clothing is the way the designers would have done it and if they have any regrets presenting it this way, because it might not have been the image that they wanted to portray to everyone.

A: I think this was a really great idea in theory, you know, it sounds great on paper having these, quote unquote “real people”— these activists, artist—be in the show, but I had such a hard time not comparing this show to Halpern, who we discussed last time and who also had a similar idea. In comparison, I found that MSGM was more subdued, and kind of scaled back, and the Halpern show was more fantastical, they had all these sets and the garments were so crazy—there was more personality to them, I feel—and I don’t think MSGM totally achieved that. I also found that the models they used, even thought they were real people, there wasn’t much age or body diversity; they were all tall, they were all maybe in their 20s or 30s…

B: I definitely didn’t feel the effort like I did with [Halpern]. I didn’t feel like they sat down and said, we’re going to do this idea and we’re going to do it well. I just felt that the whole concept was super half-assed, and if anything, I think that the garments were super half-assed because I didn’t really even like those.

A: I totally agree, it’s very Zara to me.

B: Oh, my god, yes! It was so, like, I’ve seen all of these before! The poufy dress? Like, we’ve been seeing that—I don’t want to see it anymore!

A: Yeah, and this hot pink dress, this off-the-shoulder—I’ve seen that on a rack for, like, thirty bucks!

M: Or like, the crop-top with the ruffle?

B: I was excited for MSGM; I always see their ad campaigns in magazines and think they’re really cool, and while I don’t really look out for them in terms of clothing, I thought that maybe in terms of presentation I’d at least be somewhat please, but like, it did feel super half-assed, not really completed, or done well.

A: How many looks is it? 36 looks?

B: 36 looks and, like, some of the images you can’t even see the garments.

A: There’s 36 looks and I think there could’ve been a lot of editing there. 36 is kind of a lot, especially for what we’re seeing here.

B: And in some of the photos you can’t even see the outfits because the models are laying down and they’re in poses where I can’t see the full effect of the entire garment in general.

M: It’s like Arushi said earlier, it’s very Zara, like, you go on the website to look for something and I don’t even know which items are for sale because of the way that they’re shaping the clothes on the models, or because the activities that they’re doing in the clothes don’t seem realistic.

A: Yeah, I think it was a great effort at being relevant, but I don’t know, it’s just Zara, man, I don’t know.

B: I think, even comparing it to some of the show’s we’ve talked about and are going to talk about, like, come on? You’ve had months to think about this—months!

A: Ok, Covid-19 presented some challenges.

B: Yeah, but you see all these designers coming out with these beautiful things and they’re so creative and it’s just so inspiring—I’m just so disappointed.

A: Bella, I think you know more about MSGM, so what can you tell us about their previous collections in comparison to this one—are they more detailed, what is it?

B: See, the fact of the matter is, I don’t actually know that much about MSGM. They could actually be Zara 100% of the time, and I just included them because I happened to find their ads really cool—I was fully that consumer who got pulled in by the ad. I bought Dazed magazine and it was in there and it was like, a very—you know before the VHS trend was a thing on top of photos and stuff? They were doing that before it was trendy in their ads and I was like, “Oh, my god, that’s so cool!” So, I saw them on the schedule and I was like, “That could be fun.”

A: That just tells us that marketing takes you so far.

B: Oh, 100%! Even brands like Alexander Wang—I know that’s New York—but I love Alexander Wang so much, but I feel like he doesn’t always deliver on the garments because the ads are always so good—that’s just one other example!

Something else that was super exciting about Milan Fashion Week was Raf Simmons’ first show with Prada—it was highly anticipated to see the collaboration between the two! Did you guys see the show?

A: I did not watch the whole presentation. I remember hearing about Raf Simmons joining on and was really excited by it, like, you picture Prada and Raf Simmons, two powerhouses, but I don’t know, I just don’t feel very taken with this collection. The presentation, I thought, was lacking, and I feel like a lot of the looks look kind of similar, and again with this collection, there could have been some editing.

M: Yeah, I definitely agree with the looks looking similar, even if it’s just through the models doing that “clutched coat” style—it feels like it’s a big coat, big coat, pleated skirt, repeated throughout. There was not a single look where I was like, “That’s the one I like most out of this collection.”

B: It was super repetitive! I did like the use of the Prada logo, though I think they might’ve used it a little too much, but I did like that it was a focus in a lot of it because I think that’s really Raf Simmons’ style. I also saw that They used some of the old prints from prior Prada seasons, so I thought that was cool—incorporating old with the new—but yeah, the looks weren’t very versatile, in my opinion.

A: Yeah, and they brought back with, what you were saying about the prints, the “ugly print” is what it’s known as, but I think it was smart to make it into this hoodie silhouette because of course, with working from home and this new reality, it’s a good idea—it’s marketable!

B: It is definitely marketable, and I will say Prada is really smart for putting their logo on a hoodie, because they’re going to sell that so fast—so fast! People are going to want that immediately, especially because it’s Raf Simmons’ first collection. It’s pretty iconic.

But also, I saw this fun thing on Dazed and there’s a reason they were clutching the garments: it’s because the founder of Prada would always be photographed clutching her coat, and it was very much the bourgeoisie kind of style, and I thought that was kind of fun, I really loved that.

M: That’s cute. I always love it when there’s old references to stuff, and I think that’s one of my favourite parts about watching shows is when you look up a review afterwards and get more context for what’s going on.

B: So, I think it was last year that Balenciaga used a blue velour carpet—the whole room was blue—and it was so similar that the Prada show reminded me of that.

So, moving forward to our next and, not even our final show, in our next show for Milan we’re going to be talking about Fendi. More so the reason I included this is because of the amount of looks that Fendi had—68—and half of them, I feel like they didn’t need. Like, I really looked at the entire collection and was like, “You could cut this in half, and it would have been so strong.”

A: So, supposedly this collection was jumping off of a boardroom-meets-boudoir theme, and I feel like the only look that really shows this is look 14, which has a garter belt over a utility-looking jumpsuit. I’ve never seen anything like that and I think it’s really interesting—so that was cool.

B: I saw more of the traditional aspect of it, like, I saw they were interviewing Sylvia Venturina, and the major theme of it was nostalgia—it looked so Italian! Let me tell you, the entire thing I could imagine on an Italian woman in Italy.

M: Well, I feel like the nostalgia bit kind of shows through in some of the crocheted bits, like, that just makes me think of old times and old people, but I did like those fine details in the collection.

B: I did really enjoy the embroidery aspect of it too. I was reading on Vogue that the fine details of the collection were things that you could pass through generations, and that that was the whole point of it, which I thought was interesting.

A: I think what makes it more current is that the casting of the show is really good. I follow a critic called Louis Pisano, who works in Italy, and he was speaking a lot about how much he’s happy with the collection and the age, race, and body diversity with Ashley Graham as a plus size model, more middle-aged models on the runway, and so that’s great. I’ve heard through Louis Pisano that the industry in Milan is kind of known for not being so great in terms of inclusivity, so I think Fendi doing this kind of casting, especially at such a large house, will hopefully create a domino effect and impact the rest of the industry—I’d like to see that passed on.

B: I really appreciated seeing in different age groups and the different body-types because to me, it really added to that effect of being on an Italian, and she’s cooking pasta, and she’s looking great as she’s doing it—and I love it! That’s just the vibe that I got and I think that the casting really helped with that. And then, Fendi is such a big powerhouse brand and they’re so old, and they haven’t really explored that, ever—well, no old brand has really ever done that, so it is nice to see them pushing forward.

M: As you both have said, the representation within this collection is so important, not just for models but so that consumers can see the looks on different bodies and people and maybe imagine themselves in it more than when it’s on your sample-size white model.

A: I just wanted to mention that Fendi is one of the last houses that’s still using fur—how do we feel about that?

B: I didn’t know that—interesting…

A: Do you guys object to that, to fur?

M: I feel very indifferent about it, I mean, I do think it needs to be addressed, but I think that the reason it frustrates me is anti-fur people throwing paint at people wearing Canada Goose jackets. But I think it’s Nordstrom that, by the end of next year will not have any brands in their store that use fur, which will be a big change, because not being carried in Nordstrom, I mean, it’s more prevalent in the United States but that could be a huge retailer saying no to brands and causing a loss in sales.

A: And Canada is kind of built on the fur industry, so I don’t know how many people still wear fur here, but that’s and interesting thing to bring up. I don’t think they use as much fur as they used to at Fendi, but it’s interesting that they are still using it as a brand that’s so fully in mainstream media.

B: I think it would be smarter if they just cut fur out completely, because at this point, everyone’s done it. And I’m not trying to be like, “Hop on the bandwagon because everyone’s done it!”, but I think it’s a smart thing to do in the sense that, clearly, it matters to consumers, that they don’t want to purchase from a company that sells fur. At some point, you have to follow what consumers want, right?

A: It’s tough.

B: It is tough! Personally, I disagree with the practices that go along with fur, I think that the cruelty aspect is so unnecessary and that that’s what the problem is. I know it’s impossible, but if they found an ethical way to kill animals…I know even Indigenous, when they use fur and skins from animals, they basically utilize the entire thing, and that’s a traditional aspect of it. So, I think it truly depends on how you kill the animal and your culture—all those things.

A: I’m glad that you mentioned that, because I think there’s a lot of re-education that goes into the fur industry, and people should know that there’s something to be respected about it too.

M: I agree with that.

B: Like, look at old fur coats—the artistry? You can’t deny it!

A: I actually had studied fur at Ryerson and have made fur garments, so I’ve been re-educated about it and the sustainability aspect of it is huge. I urge all of you listening to research and look into it more and open your minds to it.

B: Well, because, fur is completely biodegradable, right?

A: Yes, and faux-fur is actually awful for the environment; it takes a thousand years or something to biodegrade because it’s made out of straight up plastic.

M: So, to tie up Milan Fashion Week, we’re going to end with Dolce and Gabbana. Arushi, I know you have some strong comments about this runway show, do you want to start us off?

A: I would love to start off. So, basically, Dolce and Gabbana—I might be biased—but they, as a company, are just awful!

M: I agree!

A: They’re awful people—the creative directors—and they are very discriminatory, and this collection just matches who they are, because this is just terrible, this collection is.

B: I think it’s so funny that Dolce and Gabbana has been called out so many much for racism and exclusivity and being, just so mean—just mean people, essentially—and they’re trying to come back with this collection and be like, “We’re using patchwork to be sustainable.” Are you kidding me? You’re trying to come back with the sustainability thing? I can’t! I was like, “Like, really? Really?”

A: Do you guys know where this patchwork has come from? Did you read anything? Is it actually sustainable?

B: It’s from their past collections, basically like leftover fabrics throughout the year, essentially, which they’ve repurposed and put together into this collection.

A: Well, it’s unfortunate, because this is patchwork gone wrong! It’s too much and every garment is the same—and let’s just point out here that there are 99 looks of the same thing. It’s just on large blanket of patchwork, and I think it’s so unnecessary. Madeline, what do you think?

M: Yeah, I totally agree. And I forget the name of the designer that we talked about last week—the one that pinned the scraps of fabric on the mannequins—that is patchwork done correctly, and I think that that was just 15 looks. Dolce and Gabbana shouldn’t even have enough leftover fabric for 99 looks, but apparently, they do.

A: You’re talking about Matty Bovan.

M: Yeah, so like, that’s good patchwork, this isn’t. I’m looking at look 77 and it’s a dress with ruching in it, but it looks like, you know those recycled fibre beads that look like a bunch of newspaper rolled up into one? That’s what this dress looks like—which is not good.

B: I like the visual reference!

M: Thank you.

B: And I don’t know if anyone at home watches fashion shows or is aware of fashion shows, but you never in your life need 99 looks in a fashion show—I’m just going to tell you that! I’m not even a designer but you never need 99 looks in a fashion show. It is never good, it is never necessary, because it is so repetitive.

A: It all just looks like an afterthought; at 99 looks, there’s no way that you thoughtfully designed this, it’s too much.

M: And a lot of the silhouettes repeat themselves throughout, and nothing changes besides the fabrics they’re using, like a new patchwork look.

B: And isn’t sustainability about minimalism in the sense of making minimal looks, small amounts of garments and stuff? But they’re coming out with 99 looks and saying that the entire theme is of sustainability.

A: It’s contradictory.

B: It doesn’t make any sense! But that’s just Dolce and Gabbana — contradiction.

A: Yeah, so in summation, it’s just a dumpster fire!

B: I’d also like to point out that the background for the entire show was also patchwork! How overwhelming was this entire collection to look at for my eyes, you may ask? It was quite overwhelming. SO, that concludes Milan Fashion Week.

Coming up after the break; Paris Fashion Week!

Intermission.

A: Alright, and we’re back! So, the first show that we’re going to talk about is Thebe Magugu, who is kind of a rising star in fashion right now and has a lot of eyes on him because he won the LVMH prize last year. This collection is the first since his winning, and it focuses on a 1950s resistance group called “The Black Sash”, which protested against the apartheid in South Africa. He was also inspired by the lives of spies who worked for and against the apartheid, and actually, something really cool is that one of the prints that he used that looks like polka dots at first is actually fingerprints of one of the spies that he interviewed, and he uses a zigzag pattern which is a polygraph test, so this is a really personal collection to him because he is South African, and so he was inspired by the history, and with Black Lives Matter, it’s really relevant to talk about the segregation and protests which are happening right now. What did you guys think about it?

M: I really liked it, and the style that the film was shot in really reminded me of Mr. Saturday’s—a designer we talked about last time—where it has this security/surveillance feel to it, and I feel like Magugu’s idea of spies relates more to it than Mr. Saturday’s did; that message wasn’t clear, but I liked it a lot here.

I read the same thing about the prints being fingerprints, which I thought was so cool, and I feel like you can’t tell in any of the images, but up close it must look like a really intricate design choice.

A: Yeah, it’s really thought out—everything about it!

B: I had no idea about the fingerprints, and I love when designers can take something, and in every single detail they can implement it. Everything on the garment has purpose and you can really see that with this collection, which I think is why I really appreciated it. It was 15 looks, and I think the 15 looks were really thought out, really well done, and well-tailored. It’s interesting that it’s about a 1950s resistance group from South Africa because the berets actually reminded me so much of the Black Panthers, so I see correlation, slightly. But yeah, I really enjoyed it.

A: I loved everything about it.

M: The seventh look in it—with pale yellow in it—I love it. I’m a sucker for anything with pale yellow in it, and the cut of the turtleneck with one arm out I think is a design that we’re seeing a lot of now, and the contrast on her skin tone makes it look amazing!

B: That was another thing, the contrast in the colour, like, the pops of colour on the skin was just so pretty.

A: Yeah, Bella, you had mentioned that it’s just 15 looks, and I think that we’re able to see all the details so well and we’re able to call out these details because it’s edited down.

B: As opposed to something like Fendi where it was 68 and half of it wasn’t needed. During the break we were kind of talking about the fact that that collection was so good, but that we couldn’t really see that because it was just so much, and with this I feel like it’s the complete opposite because—well, not the complete opposite but actually the perfect amount—because for him, I think it was the perfect amount to showcase in his first collection after winning his prize, it was really personal, and it’s super detailed.

M: The next designer who we are looking at is Marine Serre. I personally was not a huge fan of this designer; I liked the film that was associated with the looks, but that actual looks themselves…nothing really spoke to me too much and a lot of it felt like a glamourized morph suit, so that’s why I was like, “oh, it doesn’t really seem that special besides the print.” How did you feel about it, Bella?

B: First, I’d like to say that this brand kind of had all eyes on her because of the Beyonce film that came out. Beyonce kind of brought back the relevance, almost, of this designer with the moon print—that’s what this is for everyone at home—it’s the moon print that Beyonce wore. So, I think there was definitely a lot of attention on Marine Serre because Beyonce brought a spotlight on them, you could say.

I kind of agree with you, Madeline, I think some of the looks they just put a logo on and called it a look, however, I did really like the mix of prints and how they evolved the moon print and switched it a little bit and changed it up, because I think that if they had just done the moon print again it would have been, like, “Really?” What about you, Arushi? I know you liked this collection.

A: I don’t know if I totally like it or even understood it fully, I just know that I found the film to be a little bit frightening, actually, but it was really, you know, from a narrative standpoint it was strong, and it was really cool to see, and creative. I think she’s kind of a marketing genius, and has gained quite a following. Even how you were saying, Bella, she’s evolved her classic branding of the crescent moon and did it in this dual print—it’s interesting to see that she’s almost already moving to the next thing.

But I did find this one to be a bit repetitive; I think it was 43 looks, and it could have been cut down a lot. But I appreciate the recycling of fabrics, and I read on Vogue that all of the nylons are biodegradable, so I appreciate that, for sure.

B: I also couldn’t help but laugh at the ninja poses.

M: I was just looking at those ones too and laughing!

B: Yeah, the skin-tight suits and the ninja poses really got me. That one, I was like, “Ok, I get it, but ok.”

M: The only look I get.

B: The only look I get is the ninja look.

A: It’s very Party City.

B: Yes! Or like, you know when costumes first come out on Amazon and they’re always like, the super weird ones? I feel like you’d see that on there.

A: Definitely. I do love the use of moiré—I love moiré fabric, and I feel like moiré is usually used as an eveningwear fabric, and they used it in a streetwear kind of way with this cape, so I love that— that they’re casualizing moiré.

B: One of my favourite looks of the whole collection was the oversized suit with the print—I think that was one of the first looks—but I’m a sucker for an oversized suit, personally, and I love a really eye-boggling print, and I think that’s what that print is, so I think it would be a really cool statement piece to have.

So, another fashion designer this month who debuted their first collection was Matthew Williams for Givenchy. Did you guys see it?

M: Yeah, I definitely liked it. I think, as we’ve all noted, the tailoring is really gorgeous, but other than that, there’s not that much that really stands out from the collection, for me.

A: I was pretty skeptical about Matthew Williams as a new designer for Givenchy because I felt like his first introduction to the company being these shirtless photos of him to be a bit random and weird, and he’s a streetwear designer, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out, but I agree that it’s a very simple collection. The tailoring is nice, but other than that it’s kind of a cash-grab, and it’s not very interesting to me.

B: I think for me, the most interesting aspect of the collection were some of the silhouettes, especially near the end where I think it’s a poncho—a pointed-shoulder, leather poncho—say three times fast! That was really cool, I’ve never seen something like that before, and I thought that some of the styling was interesting. So, there were definitely aspects of the collection that I enjoyed, but there were others where I was like, “This is super random and I don’t really understand what’s happening.”

A: I think one of the stars of the show, weirdly, were the accessories. I’ve heard that Matthew Williams, in his brand Elixe, is more about hardware and that sort of stuff, so I felt like the bags were especially cool with their geometric shapes, it was kind of interesting.

B: Even the promotion for the show: Givenchy was posting the photo for the new lock, basically the hardware, so he is really into the hardware and the technical aspects and I think the accessories of it.

A: Yeah, I guess it will be an interesting redirection for Givenchy, I’m not sure what their plan is for this.

B: Yeah, he like, in an interview with Vogue, he was like, “This is only the beginning.”

M: Every designer when they first release a collection.

B: Literally, but I like, even before, I was saying that he’s so that guys that every time he has the opportunity to take his shirt off, he takes his shirt off. And I feel like that’s just how he talks, like, “This is only the beginning.” You know what I mean?

A: That’s so pretentious and just weird!

B: Yes, I feel like he’s very full of himself and It’s kind of obvious, but it’s kind of a vibe—I guess because it’s the fashion industry. You’re supposed to be a little bit pretentious, and it’s fun when they’re a little bit pretentious because it goes with the whole Miranda Priestly aesthetic, the Anna Wintour coldness, but he doesn’t really seem very nice.

A: He’s giving the people what they want.

B: Giving the people what they want in terms of stereotypes. I will say though that this collection already has so many memes on the internet. He presented himself in Speedos, he presented himself with little horn tatts, and also the three toes.

A: Yeah, I saw on Diet Prada that it was like the Scooby Doo foot, which was very nice to see, I guess.

B: Something I really wanted to prop Matthew Williams for was the tailoring; the suits look incredible and the jackets loom so well done. That’s something that I really, really enjoyed. I also like the uses of fabric and the different textures of the crocodile leather with the silks and suits—it was just really cool.

A: I was just going to say that, the textures are really broad and versatile, and I’m really intrigued by this fabric use—it looks like there’s ribs and it’s slitted—I’m not sure exactly what kind of fabric it is but it’s fringed and looks cool.

B: This is a weird reference, but I think it was Costume History where we talked about a point in the medieval times where they would slash the garments, and it would be a show of how rich you were.

M: Yes, it is!

B: So, that was the first thing I thought of when I saw the slashes in the fabric—I thought of the high-endness of Givenchy, you know? I also really like the pops of colour.

M: Well, back with me loving butter yellow, the dress that’s backless where they show the elbows out—I really like that one. Not just the colour, but also the silhouette of it, and the fabric choice even; it’s so delicate that it hugs the body so well.

A: I can’t see the front of it here but I’m hoping it’s just simple, because it’s just beautiful on its own.

B: I hope the front is so completely simple because if she turns around and it’s not, I’m going to be so disappointed

M: Yeah, I hope it’s not like a V-neck where the rhinestones go down it, like, I want it to be a high neck.

B: A high neck for sure—that’s what I imagine in my head.

A: And I like the pop with the reddish-orange bag, again, the accessories are great!

B: I don’t know how I feel about the shapes of the bags though. I like the geometric bags, the ones you were talking about, Arushi, but near the end he goes with this really big bag silhouette that reminds me so much of the early 2000s.

A: Well, you know what? I think the 2000s are back in, so he might be making a reference to that. It’s not my favourite, because I’m one to carry a really tiny bag around everywhere, but bringing it back, why not?

B: I also saw, I think it was on Dazed, that it takes 20 years for nostalgia to kick in, which I thought was funny because it’s 2020 and the 2000s are coming back.

A: That’s a nice little statistic in there.

B: Call me, Wikipedia.

Ok, our final designer that we’re going to be talking about that’s going to be concluding our discussion on fashion month is Thom Browne, and his collection is called the 2132 Lunar Games and I found this collection really fun. What did you guys think?

M: I loved this one.

A: Me too.

M: I liked that it was all white; white is my favourite colour, or as some people say, shade, for basics in my closet, and I just got off another bingeing of Downton Abbey, so the silhouettes in this one referencing the 1920s and ‘30s are spot on. Like, I think he did an excellent job.

A: Yeah, it’s already a challenge to limit your colour palette that much, it’s just shades of white, and he’s done it brilliantly. You can see all these textures so nicely and all the silhouettes are so nice and structured, the tailoring is great, I really appreciate the details—they’re fabulous. And just the theme itself, going back to the Olympics I think is relevant because, of course, this year the Olympics were cancelled, and so it’s a nice little reminder to bring that theme back into the world right now, still keeping it fresh because I haven’t seen anything else that really digs into the sports theme, which Thom Browne is known for, so he’s keeping with the theme but adding something new to it, something I’ve never seen.

B: What I really like about this collection is that it’s so minimal in the sense of colour, but every single look looks so different, every look has it’s own detail, which is so beautiful. And you can see the quality of the fabric that he used is so well done. I also liked the blurring of gender, of course—you can’t really tell what gender the models are—which I think is really interesting and purposeful, because it takes place in 2132.

A: Yeah, and last time we did talk about the unisex garments being a huge trend and all of this can be unisex, for sure.

M: And for the video for the show, I don’t know if you guys watched that as well but they were walking down a red stairwell, which brought really great contrast to it. Even the narration from the hosts added really good commentary because it doesn’t have a playfulness in just the images from the collection—they have a very serious tone—but when you watch the video it gave it a completely different vibe.

A: The video was great!

B: They come out of a spaceship, right?

M: Yeah. And then the twins at the end, when they light the torch it’s just a little tiny lighter, rather than a big…I don’t even know what they call them.

A: And, I don’t know if you caught it in the beginning when they’re speaking, but they introduce Thom Browne as a designer from Earth—that was so great.

B: This collection takes place on the moon.

M: And it was like, “…wherever you’re tuning in from, if you’re on Jupiter, or…”, something like that.

B: When Vogue asked him about the colour palette, he said that he used the lighter colours—the whites, the egg-shells— because it’s, “Meant to illicit hope during a hard time.”, that was Thom Browne, which is also nice because white usually represents newness and a fresh start, so I thought that was really nice too.

So, this essentially concludes Fashion Month, thank you guys so much for tuning in. Fashion month is an extremely hectic time, especially during a pandemic, so, before we go, I wanted to ask the viewers, and also my co-hosts, with the new reality of the pandemic, how do we feel about the ways fashion houses dealt with not being able to do traditional shows? Which presentation styles did we enjoy, and which did we not enjoy?

A: So, I feel like it was really nice to see shows like Moschino and the way they did something more creative, and Marine Serre, but I’m not too taken with the Fendi and Prada styles of presentation. I think just having models walk down and filming it live is not that interesting, especially in contrast with the other shows I mentioned where they did something more creative. I know it’s a lot to ask, but if you can be more creative and precise with things, why not do it?

Especially, I want to go back to Savage X Fenty; their last year they did a live fashion show and it was amazing and perfect, but this year they could film the whole thing and make it really precise, so even that. That was a film on Amazon, and they were able to perfect it—why wouldn’t you want to do that?

M: I agree, this was the time for designers to be innovative, and so it’s upsetting that we have older designers doing the same old thing and not taking the opportunity to try something new, because I think everyone would be very forgiving this Fashion Month if a designer did something and it didn’t really work. It would be like, “Ok, well, let’s look at the world, let’s look at the resources they had available. They did what they could.” I really liked—back on a designer we talked about last week—PH5, how theirs was almost an educational piece that incorporated clothing. I like designers that have taken that approach.

B: I agree with both of you, I think if anything, we critique the shows that didn’t have the same effort more heavily, or that didn’t at least step out of the box. I think in terms of like, with Moschino, we forgave the clothes not being 100% because the showing was so unique and innovative, and we’ve never seen something like it before. So, you forgive Jeremy Scott because it’s, like, the clothes weren’t the best, but they were still beautifully done and the presentation speaks for itself.

So, I agree with both of you, especially with what Arushi said specifically about taking this opportunity to change and be a new force in what fashion means. Why not challenge runway shows and collections? Why not take that opportunity, especially for older brands like Fendi and Prada? And I know that we haven’t seen Chanel’s yet because of the time of this recording, but I bet it’s going to be the same thing: a pre-recorded runway show. Those are the brands that are so mainstream and that people look at, but they’re never innovative enough—to me.

A: I think it’s just a testament to the difference between Milan and Paris and New York. You have these huge houses that know that they can make money, so I feel like they’re not putting effort in, and so you’re seeing these newer brands shine right now and step up and show people that they can stay relevant and be different.

B: You can see the effort, and it’s so great! I really like the direction fashion shows are taking this Fashion Month. No one knew what we were going to expect, no one knew what was going to go down the runway, but I was definitely pleasantly shocked and surprised by a lot of the shows.

This has been Bella,

M: Madeline,

A: And Arushi…

B: …for The Podcast by StyleCircle. Subscribe to continue listening to new episodes of The Podcast every 2 weeks on Spotify, Apple Music, and Apple Podcasts. The Podcast is produced by StyleCircle and hosted by Isabella Papagiannis, Madeline Pelley, and Arushi Chopra. Administration is by Samantha Cass, Media Production is by Norah Kim, Music Arrangement is by Particle House.