Opened before November 19 at the New York Institute of Fashion and Technology Museum, Uniformity, or Shaping the Uniformity, features over 70 pieces from its permanent collection. This is a curious exploration of uniform - its history and diversity, its role in society, its psychological impact on people and its influence on fashion. The exposition turned out to be as relevant as possible, because one of the main trends of the 2016-2017 autumn-winter season was the so-called “new utility”. The name of the trend, which denotes clothes in the style of all kinds of workwear or uniforms (from military to sportswear), has a rather conventional prefix "new": in fact, there is nothing particularly new in it, which is clearly demonstrated by the American exhibition.
For representatives of the authorities, the uniform always made it possible to instantly identify certain groups of people - whether they were military personnel or policemen - who, in turn, were united by her physically and psychologically. At the same time, uniformity in clothing always speaks of the desire for control and order (often not devoid of violence), which concerns not only the “siloviki”. Suffice it to recall North Korea, whose population is dressed in suits and shirts not necessarily gloomy colors, as is commonly believed, but exactly the same.
Comme des Garçons (Ray Kawakubo), 1998
The military uniform of the US Army during the First World War, 1914-1918.
US Colonel military uniform, 1950
Uniform and haute couture are eternal antagonists, located in two diametrically opposite points. If the second gives everyone a chance to declare their individuality, then the first strives for unification. When referring to uniforms or workwear, designers play with proportions, details or color, and thus only exacerbate the existing opposition of uniforms to fashion. This can be seen in the example of the American Jeffrey Bean, who interprets sportswear, or the Japanese brand Sacai, which presented its version of the sailor uniform.
Paul Gaultier jean, 1992, France
Sacai, spring-summer 2015, Japan
Blazer of Princeton University, 1944 USA
The same thing happens with overalls of different professions, from road workers to laboratory assistants, which appears in the form of the overalls so familiar to us or a boiling white robe. The uniforms adopted in large corporations - for example, the one that was at McDonald's in the 1980s, with the embroidered "M" - had a direct impact on the periodically emerging trend towards logomania, and several seasons ago, ridiculed by designer Jeremy Scott in the collection for Moschino, made a peculiar fashion circle, returning as a parody.
New utility for the new season - an almost literal reproduction of uniforms - is a trend that emerged back in the 1990s, in the era of minimalism. In addition, it optimally meets the current needs of society. Limited to a rather restrained palette of "non-marking" colors - khaki, black, blue, gray, less often white or ecru - most of the things seem to fit the characteristics of "unisex". Like in the army, where the military uniform of women and men is the same color, since there is no need to clearly identify the gender of the military. The strict office dress code works in part the same way, where the whole variety of clothes is limited to dark suits and blouse-shirts. Subtle makeup is another way to add androgyny to a woman's look. The only accent is on the eyebrows: thick, slightly tousled, giving a touch of masculinity. As a complement - a weightless foundation, highlighter, balm or translucent lipstick.
1 of 27
Trench, Comme des Garçons
Skirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim
Park, Nigel Cabourn
Sundress, See by Chloe
Lipstick La Petite Robe Noire (shade 014), Guerlain
Set for eyebrow makeup La Palette Sourcils De Chanel, Chanel
Foundation fluid with shimmering particles Fluide Belle De Teint, Lancôme
Lip balm Le Rouge Perfecto, Givenchy
Eyebrow liner Fluidline Brow Gelcreme, MAS
Shaping stick Diorblush Light & Contour, Dior
T-shirt, Bottega Veneta
T-shirt, Moncler Gamme Bleu
Sneakers, adidas Originals by White Mountaineering
Backpack bag, Givenchy
Bag, Dries Van Noten
Backpack, Premiata x Chatwin
Boots, Brunello Cucinelli
Slip-ons, Furla Man
Blouson, Saint Laurent
Park, Nigel Cabourn
Glasses, Thom Browne
Cardigan, Stone Island
Another trend that “new utility” easily matches is “athleisure”, which combines formal or casual clothing with extremely comfortable and functional things that use high-tech materials: special impregnations, waterproof textures, ultra-light alloys and so on.>