Talking Personal Style with Vogue Turkey, Partying in the Streets with Acne at Centre Pompidou, & Caroline Issa’s #FW Instagram Best
Fashion Week Journal for Sunday, March 8
By the fourth week of what is really Fashion Month, the sheer number of shows attended by someone like Konca Aykan, the super-chic stylist and Vogue Turkey Fashion Director, is sort of staggering. So asking her over a laid-back Saturday lunch which ones have stood out—well, it’s not really a trick question, but it’s also not an easy one.
Aykan’s thoughtful two-fold answer says a lot not just about what global designers have presented thus far, but also about the climate of style and fashion in Istanbul and the rest of the world.
“The collection shown at Lanvin can be broken down and made into so many different looks,” she told me, explaining that she saw them as adaptable, malleable and open to interpretation.
Lanvin Fall 2015 via gorunway.com
Likewise: “The Gucci show completely blurred the sexes; this allowed you to let go of ideas about male and female and really see the pieces. It was about those pieces,” she remarked, referencing the first show from new creative director, Alessandro Michele. Aykan described the looks as “delicately boyish,” a mix of overtly feminine fabrics and motifs with those that were bookish and somewhat quiet.
Perhaps even more notably, and to Aykan’s point: both male and female models wore the Fall ’15 collection. There’s a real message there.
Gucci Fall 2015 via gorunway.com
“Individualization,” she said. “That’s my word for 2015.”
Of course, everything and anything in fashion can change in a heartbeat, so I should note that these were the two shows that were top of mind for Aykan at Buvette on Saturday, March 7. She may have designers and presentations to add to the list today and tomorrow and at the close of the week, but those standout shows are evidence of what the critical thinker sees as an overall “180 degree change” in which heavily prescribed trends are dying, yielding overt encouragement for the public to create their own look.
“Individualization” may not have game-changing currency in the States, where we pride ourselves on a personalized approach to everything from our coffee order to how we wear camo and platforms, but in Turkey, that emphasis is new and very real.
Aykan is of Turkish descent but was born in the north of England near Scotland and spent time all over the world—Russia, Saudi Arabia—before settling in her family’s native land. She sees the approach to fashion in Turkey as comparable to the vibe in Greece or Italy. She explains that for most women it’s about taking a brand’s aesthetic wholesale. Really trying to be the girl on the editorial and in the campaign.
“To me, style is about taking how you feel that day and translating it to a look that can carry that feeling,” Aykan said. “But that concept isn’t widespread in Istanbul.”
Konca Aykan at Fashion Week 2013 via styleinthecity.com
A concept that is widespread is that of allegiance. On one hand, Turkey and Vogue Turkey truly support native designers—established ones and more forward-moving up-and-comers. But by and large, Turkish women who follow fashion tend to wear one designer—Aykan mentions Saint Laurent—head to toe. Or they very closely follow the “rules” of silhouette and styling of Chloé or Céline, two of the fashion director’s other examples.
What Aykan sees as important moments for Fashion Week very closely relate to what’s happening in the lives of her readers. As Aykan and her colleagues continue to uplift designers from Turkey and place them within a global fashion context on editorial pages and within issues, and as more and more American, French and worldwide designers move into the Turkish market—and as their work continues to encourage a “take this and make it your own” ethos, the Turkish fashion climate is changing—and individual modes of dress are changing.
The times themselves—as the saying goes—they are a’changing.
Perhaps the best endnote goes back to Gucci and is stolen from the notes Michele left on the seats of his show back on February 25.
“Those who are contemporary are those who neither perfectly coincide with their time nor adapt to its demands … Contemporariness, then, is that relationship with time that adheres to it through a disconnection.” —Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben
In other international news, leave it to a brand from the democratic state of Sweden to stage a public runway show. Or to at least try to. Or seem to try to.
The posters all around town and on Instagram for the Acne Studios presentation at Centre Pompidou eluded to what would be a come-one, come-all kinda jam, but you had to sort of doubt that something that great could actually happen.
Something sort of great did actually happen, though, and not just for those that got inside the venue to see the Fall collection.
Outside in the square under that amazing building, an ancillary but no less official Acne DJ setup provided a gathering spot, and people did. Gather. All kinds of them.
Although not a single look from the collection presentation was viewable from where we stood, no one seemed to mind. Instead, a sort of festival spirit pervaded—albeit a very, very low-key one. Lots of head-bobbing and smiles for a nice long time. It reminded me of that thing we refer to as “island time,” when no one has anywhere to go or any reason to check the clock.
And believe me when I tell you that that’s very refreshing in the middle of Fashion Week.
While the people watching and crowd surfing at Fashion Week is pretty amazing, it’s always lovely to see friends when you’re out of town—even when they’re brand-new friends like Caroline Issa.
Running into the designer/editor/icon at the Kenzo show reminded me of this look from our fab street-style coverage in which Ms. Issa was spotted and photographed in what else? … the Caroline Issa and Nordstrom Signature Collection.