Yin Yang; Fashion

By Rebecca McNelly-Tilford

“In ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (/jɪn/ and /jɑːŋ, jæŋ/; Chinese: 陰陽 yīnyáng, lit. “dark-bright”, “negative-positive”) is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.”

Taking the inspiration from Ying and Yang for February 2020 we take a look fashion creative outcomes that celebrate all complimentary clashes.

Toga – The Spring Summer 2020 collection was a bold definition of ying and yang. Miss yet-matching, a neutral colour palette in business-like work-wear, competing against bold patterns and striking colours. Combining tailored structured pieces with silk scarfs, patterns of check and floral. Contrasting stitched outlined wholes in jumpers, overall creating combinations you wouldn’t think make sense, but just do.

Structured Blazers in neutral colour palettes are styled with additional design features like long flowing materials that trick the eye. Questioning if it’s an addition to the blazer, or just attached to the garment for a contrasting styling detail. Black wet leather look jackets are paired with bright red and green/yellow checked trousers, and some more simple contrast come from pops of bright floral fabrics that seem to burst out of flared dark jeans and structured blouses.

‘Unnecessary sport functions are added to to a textile used for dresses, what if an urban element was added to beach sandals? I wanted to invest in more time into producing uses scary things and see what would come out of the process. Making fashion, itself is an unnecessary thing, it’s an indulgence after all.’ – Yasuko Furuta

Alexander McQueen – womenswear “Each look tells its own story. The connection between the clothes is the time it took to make them. I was interested in clarity and paring things down, in the essence of garments- stripping back to the toile.” Sarah Burton

The womenswear collection was more of a toned-down approach for the McQueen essence. Using upcycled lace and organza, leather and many other fabrics that created contrasting textures. All combined with harsh tailoring cuts and edges, as well as ruffles, layers and streamline feminine silhouette that clashed so beautifully to create a bold fashion-forward collection. The colour palette of the collection itself reflected by ying and yang contrast of colour of black and white, simple yet powerful. The contrast of feminine fabrics and combining it with darker tones of slashed tailoring created feminine soft edges with sharp tailoring.

Menswear – This collection is a dialogue between Alexander McQueen womenswear and menswear. It also references and reminisces on nineties McQueen and the frequent inspiration trips made by the team to Japan. This can be seen by some cuts on jackets and floral painted elements seen in both the men’s and the womenswear collections. 

The men’s and women’s collection fused together with a combination of structured garments, a staple that McQueen is so well known for, and combining it with delicate details. A clean all-black outfit contrasted with red satin sleeves with embroidered dragon jacquard. The menswear collection featured a colour pallet of reds, pinks, black and hand-painted bleeding-colour florals. ‘Delicate broderie anglicise appears on mannish white cotton tailoring and shirts. Classic suiting is cut in fuchsia wool mohair. Both uphold the juxtaposition between the masculine and feminine that lies at the heart of Alexander McQueen.’

Gucci – New forms of subjectification – Our present instead, is shaped by a ‘microphysics of powers’ that molecularly operates inside society: a form of extensive governmentally that, through a set of institutions, devices and mechanisms of subjugation’

Gucci is a brand that brings the ideals of minimalism and ‘maximalism’. This collection features a wide colour palette and is not shy of colour, but the SS20 collection saw a contrasting introduction of black, which is rarely seen on a Gucci catwalk. Another take was the lack of print that is another staple of the brand, this collection features clashes in a more delicate way. Using neutral colours, and combining it with bright colours, whether this be via tights, other garments over clashing accessories, Showcasing that details make a creative successful collection.

Ashish – Ashish took a cultural and more ‘grown-up approach’ to the spring-summer collection, using mirror work as well as the signature sequins, creating uniform pieces like plain white shirts and contrasting it with colour, delicate and detail. Pairing block-coloured shirts, with multicoloured pattern heavy bottoms, and even creating contrasting dresses with one side pink and the other black. Coming together to create a new unique approach for the designer while encompassing his signature style to make a beautiful collection.

Charles Jeffrey – SS20 erupted beneath violent pressure: as a diamond under heat. Formed in the eye of a storm, or the center of a furnace, Charles Jeffrey proposes these clothes as physical, visceral responses to societal change. – New pattern-cutting techniques, geographic and gestural, become a king of visual exploration of the civil consciousness oh Jeffrey’s generation.

Multiple styles, influences, silhouette sand inspiration is used and creating for the SS20 season, all clashing in there own individual ways, yet coming together to make a cohesive collection.
The use of uniforms and armour referencing civil service ‘speak to the need for both freedom and protection’ while knitwear and other tailoring pieces came in dark colour palettes. But contrasted with multicoloured patches or painted looks to create a serious yer creative collection.

Loewe – ‘The collection alludes to a patrician elegance -where extremes of femininity and luxury are pushed to ethereal heights. Evading pastiche, razor-sharp statements of Loewe craft and meticulous construction go hand in hand with a hint of drama’

Like Gucci, Loewe details and accessories of the collection all take a contrasting approach, shoes and heels are designed in unusual shapes, in skins of lizard and crocodile. With of fringed tassels, even down to a crystal brooch. The SS20 season also sees the introduction to the ballon bag ‘a sculpted drawstring bucket style in three sizes crafted unrefined materials like smooth calfskin, crochet raffia and Classic canvas.’
Also seen on the McQueen catwalk, the colour palette clash of black and white makes a dramatic statement, creating a harsh and yet soft essence, whether that be from an all-white outfit contrasted by an oversized black leather bag, lace and crochet details paired with leather and black or pairing an evening dress with tinted lenses in a sport lux style, this SS20 collection was drama-filled beautiful collection from Anderson.

This neutral contrasting clash can also be seen on the high street.

Topshop showcased the trend by mixing prints of leopard and zebra, while taking wardrobe staples like the plain white and adding the cut of details for a subtle contrast. This also translated into the SS20 campaign imagery, models are seen styled in clashing prints as well as the combination of simple block colour with patterned shirts.

Anthropologie also translated this via accessories as well as garments, featuring bright block colours, contrasting it with neutral ‘everyday’ colours. Black garments are covered in bright floral show-stopping patterns, while headband come in simple natural designs and contrasted with bold embroidered floral details.

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