The Shifting Definition of “Cool” in Fashion
Part 1: The Arrival of a New Cool
In a world where the word “cool” is often misused and overused, a new definition of cool is emerging. It is no longer associated with outdated concepts like cigarettes or trendy clothes. Instead, it is found in the authenticity and refusal to compromise of artists like Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman. This new cool has also made its way into the world of fashion, courtesy of designer Willy Chavarria. Chavarria, in his mid-50s, has spent his career working for established brands like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein while nurturing his own label. His recent show felt like a true arrival, showcasing beefy leather jackets, carrot-leg pants, and coats with lapels that exude confidence. Chavarria’s coolness lies in his ability to be himself, unconcerned with trends or beating his chest about what older generations don’t understand. His vision of masculinity is refreshing and empathetic, embracing inner turmoil with tenderness.
Part 2: Chavarria’s Vision of Humanity and Dignity
Chavarria’s rise in the fashion industry can be attributed to his unique perspective and desire to showcase a world that has never been seen on the runway. His vision extends beyond inclusion and embraces humanity and dignity. This was evident in his recent show, where models stood behind a long table covered in dripping candles, creating an atmosphere that was both pious and powerful. Chavarria’s coolness lies not only in his designs but also in his ability to create a space that celebrates individuality and personal expression.
Part 3: The Contrast of Khaite and Helmut Lang
The feeling of coolness that Chavarria exudes highlighted the stark contrast of two other fashion shows – Khaite by Catherine Holstein and Peter Do’s Helmut Lang. Holstein’s show felt too serious and stiff, disconnected from reality. The oversized silhouettes and heavy fabrics made the women look droopy and disempowered. On the other hand, Do’s Helmut Lang lacked the finesse and attitude that his eponymous brand is known for. The bubble-wrap pieces felt more suitable for an unserious SoundCloud rapper than a sophisticated artist. Both shows failed to embody the true spirit of coolness.
Part 4: The Evolution of Eckhaus Latta
In contrast, Eckhaus Latta, a New York and L.A.-based label by Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, embodies the true spirit of coolness. They were pioneers in the idea of dressing a real community rather than a fantasy person. Their designs, which include gauzy cocktail dresses, quilted trousers, chunky knits, and fancy shearlings, have matured over the years. The designers, now in their mid-30s, have grown and evolved, showcasing their experience and world-weariness. Eckhaus Latta is showing us how to embrace middle age and exit the cringe, embodying the new coolness that comes with aging.
In conclusion, the definition of cool in fashion is shifting. It is no longer about outdated concepts or trendy clothes. It is about authenticity, refusal to compromise, and embracing individuality. Willy Chavarria’s recent show exemplified this new coolness, showcasing his unique vision of masculinity and his ability to create an inclusive space. In contrast, shows by Khaite and Helmut Lang failed to capture the essence of coolness. However, Eckhaus Latta showed us how to embrace aging and embody the true spirit of cool. The fashion industry is evolving, and coolness is no longer limited to the young – it is about experience, authenticity, and embracing one’s true self.
Original Story at www.washingtonpost.com – 2024-02-11 21:07:57