Make it work, whatever the weather.
Words: Daniël Geldenhuys | Images: Getty Images
How do you reconcile fashion’s ‘seasonless’ mind-set with actual weather? It’s a dilemma that prompts one to find common ground between a lovely bit of earth-friendly discourse and the cold (literally) hard (or hot, for that matter) reality of weather-dependant dressing.
First the discourse. Fashion has liberated itself from weather-dependent seasonal collections. The global brands you know and love need to sell their collections to a global audience, the counterparts of which are dealing with very different temperatures at opposing points of the globe at any given time. The move away from season-specific looks towards a more cohesive brand identity that morphs little by little as time passes is a way of promoting sustainability by making a ‘look’ less disposable.
It would seem as though we’re slowly moving towards a futuristic utopia where our closets will be stocked with seven core pieces to wear on rotation in the name of liberation from trends and sustainability. Sounds convenient, if not utterly boring. The other issue is that, even in our relatively mild South African climate, the weather is real and has an influence on what we wear when. So how to marry a love for newness and a need to dress for a moody climate? It should come as no surprise that fashion’s best female designers have the answers.
The first hack comes courtesy of Miuccia Prada, and it’s a sneaky one. For Spring 2019, Prada showed tie-dye pieces that ignited a frenzy of sunny, California-dreaming fantasies. Since tie-dye is at peak hype as you read this, and probably strikes you as more of a summer thing, does that mean we in SA can’t have it? Not at all: Mrs Prada paired her tie-dye statement skirts with distinctly evening-centric tops. It raises the important point that eveningwear is almost always exempt from season-centric design. Presenting tie-dye in this context allows us to re-contextualise it as we see fit with a chunky knit in June or soft tee in December.
Where accessories (also used for Prada’s tie-dye) are exempt from the weather, full-look items like a flowy maxi dress are certainly not. Enter Chloé’s Natacha Ramsay-Levi. Her fall 2018 collection layered light summer dresses over knitwear, leggings, and under coats in a way that felt intentional, desirable, and relatable. The trick with layering your summer maxi into the colder months is to consider your colour palate and not stray too far off the spectrum. For the Chloé vibe, pile on the nature-inspired metallic jewellery.
At Dior Fall 2019, Maria Grazia Chiuri tackled weather-defiant layering in a very practical way with interchangeable separates that create looks spanning the temperature continuum depending on how they’re paired. To look at her designs and the way they’re styled is to shift the mental gears controlling desirability. In addition to thinking about whether or not you like something, you begin to also consider how wearable it is weather-wise, and how it can pair with other items in your closet to turn them into looks for seasons they might not originally have been intended for.
Turns out, paying attention to the weather and the way it makes you think about re-styling traditionally ‘summer’ or ‘winter’ items in your wardrobe can give those items not only sustainable longevity, but also create that unexpected sense of newness fashion lovers thrive on.