5 Designers Giving New Meaning To Social Distancing
‘The best defence is a great offence’
by Sanjeeva Suresh /
June 16, 2020
Fashion has a history of being used as a tool to mitigate close contact and maintain social distance. Fashion and clothing have also been useful during past pandemics, most notably the bubonic plague, where “Black Death” doctors were safe from infection because of their layered clothing and “beak-like” masks.
‘The best defence is a great offence‘ they say, and the easiest way to protect yourself is by what you put on your back or face. Today, instead of protection from physical elements, we are instead staying put at home, facing a different fight altogether. From riots to airborne diseases, the role and look of fashion will no doubt be impacted. Scroll through to see the season’s show-stopping looks that inadvertently encourage social distancing.
Iris van Herpen‘s ‘Infinity’ dress’ made it’s debut during her ‘Hypnosis’ collection. She collaborated with American artist Anthony Howe to create a “kinetic portal” that symbolised the brand’s relationship with nature. The ‘Infinity’ dress is engineered and hand-finished with layers of feathers that fly cyclical around their own centre infinitely. The dress took four months to make, was engineered in 3DS Max and rendered with Octane, then FabLight lasercut from stainless steel. Hundreds of wings were welded by hand to then be assembled to four curved axles that are cast into a fiberglass epoxy corset. Fine gears are attached to synchronise their rotation and finally the ‘skeletal’ clockwork mechanism of the dress is embroidered with fine layers of white feathers, to interact with the wind delicately.
Moschino’s Fall 20 ready-to-wear featured an array of space-taking silhouettes in a that referenced 1780s France pre-French revolution. Pannier dresses with their emblematic voluminous skirts were a marker for class in the 18th century. The distance real separation comes from the piece’s built-in crinoline. Of course in true Jeremy Scott style, pieces were done up in everything from brocade to velvet furniture fabric.
The ateliers at Alexander McQueen used the techniques of pleating and exploiting taffeta to create this this extravagantly voluminous “Widows of Culloden” dress. The fine manipulation of volume and fabric, notably the use of black wool silk with fuchsia satin sleeves, leaves us with beautifully cascading sleeves that will certainly make people take a step back.
Thom Browne took social distancing to a theatrical degree. Browne’s trompe l’oeil suit renderings provided a surrealist twist on menswear and traditional men’s boxer shorts, which were fashioned from classic seersucker cotton. The unabashed decadence of the show, combined with the 3-Dimensional outfits and the rigorous architecture from structured petticoats in soft pastel hues, gives another definition to staying 6 feet apart.
Grand shapes were also a featured during Marc Jacobs‘ fall 2019 runway. Shredded tulle party dresses were taken to extremes, when paired with expressive with layers of crinolines and of course, Stephen Jones–designed hats that only added inches to your stature.