Top Trend: Black and White
The season norms
By: Maxime Der Nahabedian
There’s a saying everyone uses to explain the unexpected fusion of two contrary elements: “opposites attract.” Well, which elements are more opposite than the colors black and white? But then again, is there a more complementary duo? In fashion, the tension between the two ends of the color spectrum always seem to keep designers on their toes. Some explore the possibilities of white, while other always seem to “go back to black“. Remarkably, the fall-winter 2017 collections seem to blossom somewhere in the middle, and no, we are not talking about grey.
Black and white, good and bad, obscurity and light… Many designers are fed up with those Manichaean beliefs that linger in the political, diplomatic and social spheres. Better follow the principles of yin & yang just like Haider Ackermann, Proenza Schouler, Sportmax or Joseph. In their collections, white always leaves room for black, and so does black for white. Literally, one Marques’Almeida jacket features one black and one white side. Some other designers are taking the complementary duality even further when combining two separates, the one black, the other white. Take for example Burberry’s floor-length coat worn over a white ensemble, or Lemaire’s buttoned-up shirt and white tights combo.
While they often meet, black and white have such strong identities that they hardly merge into one. In this area, polka dots (Balenciaga, Jacquemus) or zebra (Balmain, Sacai) are the closest of them finally embracing each other. Some designers resorted to abstraction to try and make this happen : there is Christian Wijnants’ marble effect, Hermès’ all-over cashmere print or John Galliano’s unconventional take on the stripe at Maison Margiela. Calling upon the imaginary – as he knows best how to do – Thom Browne gave a nod to the classic suit with splashes of paint and an exaggerated pied-de-poule worn by his pale-faced models.
Now that pied-de-poule is finally mentioned, we must give some credit to designers like Wanda Nylonfor giving it a contemporary spin. Still, Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel remains the man to go to for an update on the textile. This time around, he went so far as giving it a space-travel inspiration – as evidenced by the spaceship launching from the heart of the Grand Palais. Actually, the collection also features a white cosmonaut print on a series of black garments, so there you go. This is probably where this black and white inspiration comes full circle. Looking at one poetic galaxy-inspired Chloé dress, we can’t help but think: maybe the key to the mystery of them being so opposite yet so close does lies high above in the stars.