When tragedy strikes, the human psyche craves comfort, which is why some of history’s most decadent eras were born on the heels of war. For instance, the Jazz Age sprung out of World War I, as a “Lost Generation” sought escapism in the form of lavish parties as chronicled by modernist writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. More recently the excess of the 1980s came in response to the Cold War, and on Isabel Marant’s runway for Fall/Winter 2016 the 80s come full circle – a vein that Marant consciously tapped after the recent tragedies in Paris.
As an homage to 80s fashion, especially the kind found in Paris and London clubs at the time, the collection was more Heathers than Working Girl. References to multiple sub-cultures appeared on the runway in the form of punky argyles, rockabilly bouffant hair styles, rave-kid patent-leather outerwear and mini skirts, and more.
Somehow, every season, she manages to tap into what women of all ages really want to wear, which is why her collections are so eagerly anticipated.
To modernize the 80s aesthetic, Marant smartly swapped absurd shoulder pads for the occasional puffed or ruffled shoulder. Cozy knitwear, mannish coats, and punctured sweaters offered sophisticated updates on styles from the past and were so transformed by Marant’s cool blend of tailoring and texture that they were scarcely recognizable as hailing from the 80s. Somehow, every season, she manages to tap into what women of all ages really want to wear, which is why her collections are so eagerly anticipated. For the forthcoming season, it’s her longline patterned knits, knot-front wrap dresses, glittering Lurex tops, and lace dresses that provoke the most interest.
When senseless horror strikes, the tenacity and beauty of the human spirit can and will survive the most terrible circumstances. When Marant throws a celebratory fashion show, she is putting forth a message that life is worth living, even when outside forces attempt to threaten it. It is a message that the audience at Paris Fashion Week eagerly responded to.