It seems as of late everyone is spanking their lips about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.
Women cross their legs smothering their kindles on the tube. Lads threaten to start a militant Jazz mag rebellion. The western world is drunk on the words of a Dom. Although only recently becoming commuter-friendly conversation, ‘Fetishism’ inspiring fashion harks back to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren opening ‘Sex’ on The King’s Road. Sadly, slashed fishnets and an artillery of safety pins no longer evoke the raw subversion of fetish fashion in the 1970’s, however a nod to fetishism is still apparent across catwalks of AW 12.
Fleeing from the suffocating leather leggings of ’10, Designers focused more on the line and cut of pieces, oftening leaning toward classically feminine silhouettes echoing Louis Vuitton’s edwardiania collection. Leather pieces were cut with razor edges, cinched at the waist at Dior and Alberta Ferretti. At Mulberry, models were swathed in long-pile furs as fronted by Lindsay Wixson in their ‘Where the wild things are’ A/W campaign. For me, this transition away from the predictable connotations of Hell’s angels, hookers and horses, showcased the collection’s creativity in morphing leather into a texture associated with sophistication.
AW 12 catwalks displayed an opulence of embellishment ranging from the decadence of the tsars at Lanvin to oriental brocade at Balmain. Where as Gucci accessorised their pre-raphilite mannequins with boxy studded clutches. Roo Panes, the sultry new face of Burberry grasps studded driving gloves. Models framed their nonchalant visages with leather alice bands at Doori. But for me the standout piece of fetishwear this season seems to be the unassuming little black boot. Glossed and heeled at Lanvin, or even smattered with studs at Office, the boot’s prevalence across the season’s collections speaks out not just for its versatility but also its opportunity to become a statement in itself. Although not as gawp-provoking as a glimpse of nipple through a string vest, the platform black boot can be just as subversive, depending on what you pair it with. Look to the oracle of Altuzarra for guidance, where boots in vertiginous variances were thrown with decadant fox collars and deconstructed metalics.
As feminist critics lashout against the erotic triology’s subservient depiction of women, Fashion’s approach to fetish this season depicts an aesthetic of an empowered woman, armoured in precise lines and glorifying the female physique in its accentuation of the waist. For me, this trend is a game-changer, itself not submitting to its own aesthetic expectations.