Between the ages of 27 and 29, the astrological theory goes, is Saturn’s Return: a period of interrogating your place in the universe and looking forward to the next phase of life. Designer Ashley Williams, 28, seems in the thick of it. “You look back on your work and think: ‘That was great, this was terrible,’” she says. “It makes or break time now.”
Williams studied fashion at the University of Westminster, the young talent motivation at London fashion week – on graduating in 2012. Her shows main model friends such as Pixie Geldof and her types of ice-creams and speedboats soon found celebrity fans in Harry Styles and Rihanna.
Her S/S 17 collection, a love letter to her 90s high-school days, is possible her strongest yet. It has the poptastic, playful branding her fans love, but with a trust that comes from knowing your strengths. Angel-covered pajamas, varsity jackets were high points, frilled blouses, as were T-shirts and hoodies featuring that fallen angel of 90s youth culture, River Phoenix.
Past temper boards have featured John Waters, the Beastie Boys, and alternative piercing; next up, for A/W 17, is the panini art scene of 80s Milan. “They wore Fiorucci, Armani jeans, and cowboy hats. I did my dissertation on them.” Even under Saturn’s impact, some things in the past are worth revisiting.
Brandon Maxwell might be Lady Gaga’s fashion director, with a stain at New York fashion week, but Brandon Maxwell wants to thank his grandma for instituting him to fashion. “My thought cultivate is based around strong women who use clothes to get through the day. No matter what they’re going within, they hold their head up high.” For S/S 17 that means clothes designed for stomping into the room and getting observed, from tailored dresses and flares to a jumpsuit with a cape.
His fans involve Michelle Obama and Solange Knowles, but, to Maxwell, “all customers are celebrities – like the woman who tags me on Instagram after wearing my top to a party. It’s a win when I hear a woman sense special”. His grandmother must be proud.
Aurora James is the kind of suitcase-packing global traveler it’s impossible not to jealousy. Her Instagram feed details a life lived in Morocco, Palm Springs, New York. She also has a very strong shoe game, being the creative director of Brother Vellies, whose fancy footwear is made by artisans in Morocco, South Africa, and Kenya. We’ll be providing capital for in the flamingo boot this season, and continuing to stalk James on social media.
While the baseball cap in pop culture says “celebrity trying to hide from paparazzi”, fashion has an unlike taking. At Chanel, it was worn to the side – against a futuristic background of robots, wires and nervous assistant from 2055. At Balenciaga, it was accessorized with an oversized bag. Moschino and Versus used it for branding, and the Off-White cap bore the elliptical “Woman”. Thank goodness we’re on to the next iteration after the “Make America Great Again” cap of doom.
Fashion has never been scared of saying it with flowers. In recent seasons, off-kilter floral prints on grungy dresses have been present and correct in mostVetements collections, while Gucci’s Alessandro Michele is an advocate of the generous overflow of petals. But this season one distinct bee-friendly theme has influenced: the sort of floral print you’d see on a lawn chair in an episode of The Good Life. Yes, the Laura Ashley-on-poppers vibe hangs over the fashion zeitgeist for spring. These 70s-style prints could be seen in the Michael Kors collection, whimsical at Chloé and at Balenciaga in Kermit greens.
The floral return feels quaint, familiar and slightly unhinged – how better to indicate subversive femininity than with a visual reference to that unreconstructed decade? The 70s have given generously to pop culture recently, with the return of the pornstache and the Emmanuelle wicker bench on Drake’s album. In this instance, “saying it with flowers” is the most on-point way for fashion to communicate.