Fashion tends to operate at a remove from politics. And what with the shows going on, it's been rather too easy to forget there's a revolution underway in the Middle East, a groundswell of people power the likes of which hasn't been seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall. You might catch a headline, or hear a snatch of a news report, but then it's off to the next show, and on to questions like, Flaps: a trend? And if so, why?
A counterargument is that engaging global issues via a runway show risks trivializing them. But when the world's energy is shifting this way or that, it's hard ultimately to support the idea of fashion in a vacuum. In that sense, Peter Pilotto designers Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos deserve credit for reckoning with the idea of revolt this season. Their show this morning was an uncharacteristically tough-looking mash-up of seditious aesthetics, from salwar kameez-inspired layered looks to Malevich-esque color-blocked knits and cleverly adapted versions of the classic Leninist three-quarter coat. The label's digital chain-link prints and palette of constructivist colors had a punkish sneer, too.
The Pilotto aesthetic is, at heart, a little too polite for revolution. But it was good to see these designers putting a little muscle into their look. Some of the strongest pieces here had a real utilitarian vibe, such as mannish color-blocked waistcoats or sporty fishtailed vests with exposed pockets, done in a 3-D print technique carried over from last season. Their layered looks—in particular short skirts over wide-leg trousers—are part of an emerging trend here in London, but Pilotto's execution was the best so far, especially in mixed prints. Elsewhere, the collection's wrapped garments left something to be desired; the pieces didn't look quite finished. But the wrapping did show Pilotto and De Vos operating with a freer hand, as did their play with blurring in their prints. This was a strict collection, with something wild and new in it fighting to get loose. You could say it captured the moment well.