If you have a ton of money to spend on clothing, then please, keep doing whatever it is you were doing before you opened this page; this post is not for you. But, if you need to be a bit more careful about how often you purchase new clothes, especially luxury goods and designer items, then allow me to make a humble suggestion: Take next spring off from buying anything.
Collect the money you would have spent on clothes, and start planning a retirement fund. Rent a car, and drive it to an outlet mall. Adopt a polar bear. Hell, adopt a highway. But don't bother buying designer-level fashion, because most of what will be available for purchase next spring is ugly. Really, truly, almost shockingly ugly.
Before you react, let me make it very clear: Calling the collections that many talented designers have presented for Spring 2017 “ugly” is not an insult. With men’s Fashion Weeks in London and Paris down, we’re halfway through runway shows and presentations for the season, and it’s become clear that we’re in the middle of an intentionally horrible, ugly-by-design moment right now. Ugly clothes for spring—or if you’re being more generous, “ironically displeasing” clothes for spring—are very much a thing.
Browse through the newest, ‘90s-influenced collection from Italian label MSGM. I’m not sure what designer Massimo Giorgetti noted as his official inspiration for the season, but it might as well have been “listens to Fatboy Slim once.” Or Gosha Rubchinskiy’s latest, with clothing that several attendees at his show equated to cheap, black market knock-offs. J.W. Anderson created red-tinted goggles and floor-grazing sleeves. You can imagine Prince taking a look at Etro—including a ruffled shirt paired with purple paisley pants—and backing out of the room, saying, “Hey, don’t blame me for this one, man.”
And then, there’s Gucci. Now, I like Gucci a lot. I appreciate how creative director Alessandro Michele has completely revitalized and reimagined the label, creating a unique aesthetic that sells so well that he now has fast fashion gunning for him. I would say he’s one of the most exciting names in fashion. But, if I’m going to recommend shelling out a few grand for a coat next year, it’s not going to be a green one that looks like nothing so much as what a Depression-era child would put on their doll for Christmas Eve dinner, only to be told later that Christmas was canceled, because her parents have no money. The irony spins on.
You can make the argument that much of what’s been shown this year is actually not ugly at all. It’s beautiful, if you understand the context and the artistic point of view. You would not be wrong. Its intentional ugliness, in its own way, destroys notions of what can be considered tasteful clothing. If you were to wear it next spring, you would be on-trend and probably on the receiving end of some envious looks from those in the know.
But, therein lies the problem. As my colleague Cam put it, “These kitschy pieces are not something you buy with the intent of passing on to your grandson—they're something you buy because they’re cool now.” Their very of-the-moment-ness gives them a limited shelf life. The more specific the moment, the shorter it tends to last. And this ugly moment is super specific.
So, if you need to pick a time to be frugal with your spending, start with next spring. And if you don’t, call me in April. By then, I’ll probably have an impulse-purchased green coat that I’ll be looking to unload.