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When Does Statement Become Stunt?

Updated: Jun 15

Whilst shock factor and the art of performance have always played a role in fashion (and a role we have adored too) moments and garments designed in their entirety to make us clutch our pearls and post to our Instagram seem to be the latest trend from the se past fashion weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re here for the drama. But there is this indefinable line between art, and cheap stunt. Between thoughtfulness and random stabs in the dark for that sweet light of a viral video.

What moments would we define as thoughtful, artful shock factors on the runway.

Anything alexander McQueen – the spring 1999 spinning dress painted by a robot arm, as the model twirled slowly, hands reaching up into her hair as if in pain (or pleasure). Or the beautiful floating hologram of Kate Moss that shed its ghostly light on the runway in 2006. (or many of his other shows)

Thierry Mugler’s 10th anniversary stadium show were divine beings were lowered from the air dripping in glamorous gowns, or Viktor and Rolfs 1999 Russian Doll, where a rotating model was dressed in layers upon layers of new looks like, you guessed it, a Russian doll.

These were moments that made you gasp, made you feel something, and were a form of communication through performance – taking the clothes even further than they could go on their own.

What moments would we define as random trends aspiring to virality.

Well, Kylie Jenner wearing that fuckoff massive lions head...

Basically any time there’s a celebrity doing something ‘outrageous’ (but not really that outrageous if you’re someone of the alternative style inclination) or a one off gimmick that kind of doesn’t add to the meaning of the collection at all happens on the runway. To be honest anything created especially for social media – and again, don’t get me wrong. I work in social media, it's so important and it can be used in a really clever way to add meaning to fashion, it matters and of course brands are going to tilt their strategy towards optimising everything that social media success can bring. But it can also be used as an easy out – to strap one butt plug or condom onto an otherwise pretty boring event (looking at you Diesel) without the collection even being anything to do with sex positivity, kink positivity or anything else or the sort. Just for a brief moment of social media hype.

Think of these shocking moments in this way – how to they make you feel? Will you look back at the moment you saw this dress, this event, this model and get that flutter in your chest that something incredible has just happened all over again? Or will you vaguely remember reposting it because it was a bit weird and would get a few likes out of novelty?

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