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Tracing a trend – surrealism in fashion

By Jayne Mountford


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Loewe, Moschino, Schiaparelli/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Surrealism in art

Surrealist art came up in the aftermath of World War I as an artistic and humanistic response to a conflict-plagued society; a literal rejection of reality. According to the Tate Modern Museum website: “Surrealism aims to revolutionize human experience. It balances a rational vision of life with one that asserts the power of the unconscious and dreams”.

Elsa Schiaparelli

From the 1930s to the 1950s, Elsa Schiaparelli adopted elements of the surrealist art movement and expressed its sentiments through her fashion designs. In recent seasons, especially since the Pandemic, certain designers have been exploring the idea of the intersection of reality and the virtual world. Here are five brands that have been in the forefront of the movement.

Iris Van Herpen

Van Heren HC f17/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Dutch designer, Iris Van Herpen is not only credited with being the first designer to create a 3-D–printed dress, she is also known for her futuristic work. For her 2017 Haute Couture collection, she sheared metal into filament-thin geodesic rosettes and molded them together into futuristic frocks. Several seasons later post-COVID her f22 runway show was filled with mesmerizing looks that originated in the digital space.

Van Herpen HCf22/Launchmetrics Spotlight
Van Herpen HCf22/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Moschino (designed by Jeremy Scott)

Since his debut in 1997 with an eponymous collection, Scott has been known for his kitsch presentations. In 2013 the designer took over the reins at Moschino, a brand known for its playful mockery of fashion. Scott’s fw23 collection was inspired by the bedroom scene in Kubrick’s ‘2001: a space Odyssey,’ that included a ‘grandfather clock’ dress, a ‘lampshade’ hat and a screen.

Moschino fw22/Launchmetrics Spotlight

For the following season, ss23, he was quite literally influenced by rising inflation in the U.S.A, by presenting a runway show filled with pool flotation devices wrapped around dresses.

Moschino ss23/Launchmetrics Spotlight

JW Anderson

JW Anderson m ss23/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Showing menswear since 2008, the designer from Northern Ireland is known for his fantastical creations, both for his own label and, since 2013, for Loewe. For ss23, he showed outfits decorated with broken skateboards, BMX handlebars and CDs. The idea was to recognize the “intrinsic ephemerality of modernity.”

Loewe (designed by JW Anderson)

Loewe fw22/Launchmetrics Spotlight
For Loewe’s fw22 collection, Anderson showed a long, elegant tube dress—an idea in the Schiaparelli-like embrace of a pair of female-slash-feline be-gloved arms.
Loewe fw23/Launchmetrics Spotlight

For the next fall season, Anderson based the Loewe collection on the way we see things on the Internet as opposed to real life. It was hard to decipher what was real and what was not. For example, cardigans—one pink, one turquoise—turned up: in fact, they’d been printed out on adhesive paper, and literally stuck on the models’ skin.

Loewe fw23/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Schiaparelli (designed by Daniel Roseberry)

Street style/Launchmetrics Spotlight

Daniel Roseberry took over the reins at Schiaparelli in 2019. His Haute Couture collection for ss23 was filled with showstoppers, both on the runway and in the front row, where Kylie Jenner wore a black gown with a huge lion head placement. A look that was also shown on the runway.

Schiaparelli HC s23/Launchmetrics Spotlight
Iris van Herpen
tracing a trend