The Spring/Summer 2019 runways, he says, were marked by a mix of fashion and politics. “People have really been talking about women. It was a very intense month,” he says. “It was this extraordinary coincidence of current affairs and fashion affairs,” in particular watching the runway shows amid the Kavanaugh hearings in Washington D.C.
The most anticipated debut of the season was Hedi Slimane’s first collection for Celine following Phoebe Philo’s departure. “I just expected so much more. In the two years that Hedi hasn’t been involved in the industry… fashion found new leaders and new opinion formers,” says Blanks, adding that the collection — marked by the same elements as Slimane’s collections at Saint Laurent — felt like settling scores and reclaiming his aesthetic.
Two shows, however, were amongst Blanks’ favourites. Prada’s Spring/Summer 2019 show proved Miuccia is feeling engaged, but angry about how retrogressive fashion is about the women’s revolution. “Just the way she has started to define women through her clothing — more aggressively and more of a sense of community,” he says. Francesco Risso’s Marni collection was another favourite, which Blanks called a “fabulous trip” that was “polished in execution.” Reminiscing on Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino collection, he remembers giving him a standing ovation. “When Adut Akech… came out in that dress at the end of the show, you just felt like you had to stand up.”
The runways were also marked by diversity. “It was the season of the black model,” Blanks says. “These girls have a different kind of energy, they don’t have that diva quality.”
Relevance was a word heard more and more often among attendees. As to what it means for Blanks? “In the age of #MeToo, relevance is this combination of appropriate and uplifting,” he says. “Relevance to me is not just pointing out the problem, it’s indicating a possible solution.”
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