A handful of designers are dabbling in deconstructed looks, taking to shirts and jackets to invent new meaning. Each interpretation as unique as the next, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to designing this way – and sometimes the end result may be miles from the intended vision. It's certainly not a new trend, we can easily agree to that, but it’s presence can’t be ignored this season, and neither are the different manners in which it's being coopted. Are New York designers trying to tell us something with their nod to deconstructivism? Perhaps it is part of a bigger transition where design is a means to reassess and reassemble fashion, possibly in the same way editors and the media attempt to understand what NYFW means nowadays.
Looks from MONSE’s Spring/Summer 2018 ready-to-wear show in New York. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
Alexander Wang has been the case study so far, reimagining a camisole slip as a hybrid v-neck sweater. This cut and paste technique was spotted through his Spring offering, with camisoles also glued atop classic shirting while classic shirting turned into inspiration for sleeve-tie belts. Much of his collection highlighted his experiments in crafting new garments. One of my favorites being the zip-thru trousers that had a trompe l'oeil effect as they toggled between looking like a maxi skirt and then pants. Another look fused two shirts together (look 23) incorporating a mix of fabrics and colors, thereby creating quite an individual and memorable piece.
While Dion Lee is usually known for toying with construction, this season he opened his S/S18 collection with a deconstructed jacket-cum-dress. It even embodied elements of a shirt, with the label collars angled down into what felt like the end of a sleeve. He removed the shoulders altogether, streamlining the silhouette as an ideal spring layering piece. A reinterpretation of a shirt (or dress) if there ever was one.
Look from PUBLIC SCHOOL’s Spring/Summer 2018 ready-to-wear show in New York. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
The designer duo behind Monse got creative with revamping shirting for a more modern wearer. Nothing too drastic, just slight adjustments to the styling and construction of garments. In look 3, a classic oversized shirt is refigured to be worn backwards while look 26 felt like what a sweater might come out looking like in a fateful (fortunate?) washing machine accident.
Over at Public School yesterday, a deconstructed skirt felt half wrap-inspired and half split-inspired – a confused piece either way, but that’s the point with this trend, right? Or at the least the appeal. The matching top was purposefully interrupted with spliced sections that added a peek-a-boo effect to what would’ve otherwise been quite a conservative look for the brand.
Hellessy’s take on this trend felt the most commercial and sellable, yet still quite influencer-friendly (terminology I’m dubbing for trends that will have a longer life on Instagram or throughout next season’s street style). The shirt dress felt oversized, yet still nicely streamlined to the model’s silhouette – the illusion was all mastered through the drop-shoulder stitching and elongated sleeves, creating a simple but complicated look. Easier said than done and that's what these deconstruction looks come down to, especially if the intent is to innovatively keep pushing the envelope.