Six decades on from the original birth of Space Age fashion, Milan Fashion Week has dialled up the atomic ante for the new season. From Mary Quant-esque minis to Paco Rabanne-like chainmail dresses via Pierre Cardin adjacent high-shine tailoring, out-of-this-world fashion is making an astronomical comeback.
While the Sixties had landmark events such as the first man on the moon and the US vs Soviet Union Space Race, the 2020s have had their fair share of galactic experiences. Just last year, the billionaires’ space race between Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos has seen outer-space travel become a much more fathomable prospect for the average civilian (if you have a spare few million dollars), and the world of fashion has already started planning what to wear.
Dolce & Gabbana celebrated the metaverse for their ultra-modern collection. A virtual world of neon landscapes, logomania and avatars acted as a backdrop for the fantastically futuristic line. Bold lycra jumpsuits paired with computer-chic face shields served a particular Power Rangers panache while asymmetric tailoring imbued a certain Star Trek savoir faire; all done in the typical Italian-cool that the design duo do so well.
Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi thriller 2001: A Space Odyssey acted as muse to Jeremy Scott for his latest Moschino collection. Paying particular attention to the final scene of the movie set in a neoclassical bedroom with LED floors and palatial furniture, Scott featured nuanced versions of wardrobes, candelabrum, cutlery and grandfather clocks in his quintessential high-camp extravaganza of fabulous fashion. His final homage to the classic cult was his bow at the end of the show, where Scott donned an exact replica of the red spacesuit from the movie.
Kim Jones’s spacey references for Fendi were subdued but still noticeable. Just weeks after presenting his dramatic Haute Couture collection where he merged the architecture of ancient Rome with the cyber riffs of the hard techno club scene, Jones found solace in a softer palette of pastels and heather grays for his next ready-to-wear line. Modernistic tailoring in galactic blues with matching opera gloves juxtaposed the floaty and feminine silk chemises to create a soft vs hard edge. Elsewhere, leather corsets denoted Jane Fonda in Barbarella‘s legendary breastplate.
Alessandro Michele’s’ Exquisite Gucci ‘collection was inspired by the surrealist exercise’Exquisite carcass‘which you may be more familiar with explained as the game you played at children’s sleepovers where you each take turns to draw a section of a character, only being able to see the end of what the previous person had imagined. Just like in the game, avant-garde and alienistic silhouettes graced the runway for Michele’s AW22 line. Another unlikely inspiration came in the form of a collaboration with Adidas, where sportswear stripes were paired with shoulder pads and headdresses for the ultimate extraterrestrial ensemble.
With the world in shock from the saddening scenes of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, fashion escapism has never been more prescient. Just like the 1960s saw the sci-fi style boom in the wake of the Space Age, designers are once again turning to the outré and absurd in times of unrest. To fashion infinity and beyond.