The designer hive mind is a strange and wonderful thing. Within hours of each other, Japanese wunderkind Miharayasuhiro, showing for the first time in London, and Stuart Vevers, creative director for Coach, showed collections that celebrated “rebel youth”.
Both mentioned biker culture and James Dean, both featured fabulous hand-painted leather jackets and both included some archetypal bad girls (Mihara’s in black lace-trimmed slipdresses, Vever’s in biker boyfriend leathers) in their menswear mix.
Maybe the synchronicity was inevitable. Mihara and Vevers are looking at Americana from the outside (Vevers is from South Yorkshire) and one story that’s always seemed really seductive to outsiders is the pop-cultural rush of teen rebellion, celebrated to great effect by Hollywood, which has effectively been America’s ambassador to the world.
Vevers even revisited the iconic red windbreaker of the first American teenager: James Dean. Mihara added another layer by taking inspiration from Karlheinz Weinberger’s photos of Swiss kids dressing like American kids in the 1950s and 1960s. (And that book was actually called Rebel Youth.)
Conceptual points of contact aside, both collections brought out the best in their creators. Mihara loves a hybrid. Here, there were trousers with one baggy leg and one narrow, cuffed leg, or a checked flannel shirt and a silk bowling shirt sutured together — a jean jacket that morphed into a trench coat, or a hoodie that did the same thing.
Mihara’s Frankenstein effect occasionally sounds a little contrived, but what made the clothes work is that they looked like they’d lived a real life before they reached the catwalk. They weren’t remotely precious. They could even be read as ingenious responses to hard times, incentives to make the most of what you’ve got. Not just the hybrids, but the artfully laddered knits, the hoodie with the holes, the handpainted “little devil”, personalising a biker jacket with cheerful defiance.
Vevers worked with artist Gary Baseman again on his customised paint jobs. They were as funny and dark as ever (Kate Moss wasted no time snaffling herself one of the spooky happy face totes backstage). The designer effectively tricked out classics (ruched seams on a khaki bomber, a handful of leather fringing on a parka), but it was his palette of red, white and black – rock’n’roll greaser colours – that gave the collection its irresistible rush of Gothic drama.
Next time a costumier is dressing teen vampires for a movie, Vevers has all the lost boy looks. He considered college boys and cowboys too, but, with the backdrop evoking the atmos of a small desert town on the skids, (The Last Picture Show, in fact) these young men were also born to raise hell.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/mermaid-trumpet-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/princess-formal-dresses
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