Hopeful Faes, “Which Are You” Filters, and Chanel Spring 2020 Couture

Image via @allisagentlespring

Image via @_karlaidlaw

Image via @kenna_hines

Fae Infiltrates Fashion

A certain archetype has transcended the ether and made its way into sartorial reality in recent years. It’s equal parts apocalyptic, feminine, and elfin. She lives in a time-space continuum beyond the post-Internet, and she might have the power to save the world. 

She can be seen in the work of stylist Zoë Bleu Sidel and the imaginings both aural and visual of Grimes, whose atypical pregnancy announcement is a welcome reprieve from the endless stream of same-y bump shares on social media. She can be found in the exquisite creations at Manhattan’s best new shop, Café Forgot, which stocks young designers like corset-crafter Karla Laidlaw and the freak-pastoral All Is A Gentle Spring.

She may even have a precedent in Sarah Burton’s work for Alexander McQueen. The fae can take on dark characteristics, as in model Kenna Hines’ impish, demonic glare, or present a hopeful alternative to the threatening realities of the news cycle. She’s a hybrid from our pagan past and accelerationist future, retreating to the forest to give birth to a humanoid miraculously immune from our present problems.

Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, SS11

Which Are You?

A new series of Instagram filters has thoroughly replaced the venerable Buzzfeed quiz as indicator of identity. Beyond the basic New Year’s version which questioned what 2020 would bring, a proliferation of filters has appeared that address everything from which Jacquemus bag you are to which form of trash you’d be. I think the secret of these phenomena (and their predecessors at Buzzfeed, which peaked around 2016) is that people really do use them for insight about their true selves. We post them in jest or because we’re bored, but late at night, who hasn’t used one of these oracles to gain some understanding of a life quandary? Many allege that the Internet has eradicated subcultures, but perhaps it has replaced them with ever more arcane and infinitesimal self-categories.

Chanel Spring 2020 Couture Collection/via Vogue Runway

On Chanel Spring 2020 Couture

I haven’t worn white pantyhose since fifth grade. And I never knew they could be so alluring until I saw them paired with white socks and black slip-ons in this week’s Chanel couture show. There’s something incredibly sexy about repressive clothing. A Puritanical black dress worn by Gigi Hadid, accompanied by severe and slicked-back hair and a Pilgrim-esque buckled belt, was gorgeous in contrast to the lush green surroundings of the set. 

This collection showcased mysterious femininity and the seduction of the hidden. Many pieces were worn over bare breasts, and while certainly not ostentatiously sexy, gave the impression that the fabric against one’s skin would be stimulating in the best way. Designed by Virginie Viard and assisted by Karl Lagerfeld’s loyal consultant and stylist Amanda Harlech, the show brought to mind one of Chanel’s simple aphorisms: “A woman is closest to being naked when she is well-dressed.”

Chanel Spring 2020 Couture Collection/via Vogue Runway