The age of innocence: when fashion is inspired by childhood

Whether it is to express a playful sense, a vital drive, a political act or a promise of the future, fashion – even before the pandemic – has often looked to childhood and its imagination with universal evocative power. An uncorrupted time in which everything is still possible. An exercise in the fantastic that unites great brands and “avant-garde”, which are inspired by the childhood theme with various approaches: dreamlike, surreal, nostalgic, autobiographical, ethical.

The campaigns thus abandon the explicit seduction for the representation of innocence, and glamor is imbued with tenderness: if Virgil Abloh made his debut in 2019 by Louis Vuitton with a reference to the age of purity free from gender or belief preconceptions, Gucci set his pre-fall (taken by Alasdair McLellan) in an ephemeral Arcadia populated by fairy-tale animals, in a magical time of harmony with nature.

The Gucci pre-fall 2020 campaign, shot by Alasdair McLellan, invites a return to childhood, a time of perfect harmony with creation.

On the F / W 2021 catwalks, Alessandro Michele lashed the innocent aura of baby mises with dark contaminations, and for menswear he created an “allegory on childhood”, a return to the future to learn a new way of being men. Rich in biographical references is Chanel’s couture, which reproduced motifs, lines, uniforms of the Cistercian abbey of Aubazine, where Coco lived as a child; full of memories is the collection of the young Russian designer Daniil Kostyshin, who has recreated the clothes worn as a child in old photographs. At Marco De Vincenzo the imagery is magical, playful, with minidresses with out-of-scale details reminiscent of doll clothes. Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada, an American designer sensitive to ethical issues, had spring / summer dresses as white sheets to be filled with childish drawings, as model mothers with children in her arms, and Plan C by Carolina Castiglioni printed on garments and accessories the “family portraits” designed by his daughter Margherita. From Lanvin and Marni, the double plot of the dream, nocturnal and diurnal, unfolds, almost mirror: Bruno Sialelli (interview on page 72 of the June issue of Tips Clear Italia) rediscovers the restless sleeps of Little Nemo, a 1905 comic by Winsor McCay, and Francesco Risso plays the most visionary of fairy tales: Lewis Carroll’s Alice, who evanescent like a dream of childhood, heralds the end.

From Tips Clear Italia, n. 838, June 2020


English Text

Whether expressing a sense of play, a visceral impulse, a political act or a promise of the future, fashion – even before the pandemic – often looked to childhood and the universally evocative power of its imagery. An uncorrupted time when everything is still possible. An exercise in the fantastic that unites great brands and the ‘avant-garde’, inspired by the theme of childhood, but with various approaches: dreamlike, surreal, nostalgic, autobiographical, ethical.

Campaigns abandon explicit seduction in favor of the representation of innocence, and glamor becomes imbued with tenderness. While Virgil Abloh made his debut at Louis Vuitton in 2019 with a reference to the age of purity, free of preconceived notions of gender or creed, Gucci set his pre-fall collection (photographed by Alasdair McLellan) in an ephemeral Arcadia populated by fairy- tale animals, in a magical time of harmony with nature.

On the F / W 2021 catwalks, Alessandro Michele suffused the innocent aura of the children’s outfits with dark contaminations, and for menswear he created an ‘allegory of childhood’, a return to the future to learn a new way of being a man. Rich in biographical references is Chanel’s couture, which borrows the motifs, lines, and vestments from the Cistercian abbey of Aubazine, where Coco lived as a child. No less saturated with memory is the collection of the young Russian designer Daniil Kostyshin, who used old photos to recreate the clothes he wore as a child. Marco De Vincenzo proposed the magical, playful imagery of minidresses with out-of-scale details reminiscent of dolls’ clothes. Hillary Taymour from Collina Strada, an American designer sensitive to ethical themes, used mothers holding their children as models, their Spring / Summer dresses as white as sheets of paper to be filled with children’s drawings; Plan C by Carolina Castiglioni printed the ‘family portraits’ drawn by her daughter Margherita on garments and accessories. Meanwhile Lanvin and Marni, almost mirroring each other, told the parallel tales of dreaming and daydreaming. Bruno Sialelli rediscovers the restless sleep of Little Nemo, the 1905 strip by Winsor McCay, and Francesco Risso interprets the most visionary of fairy tales: Lewis Carroll’s Alice, which foretells the end of childhood, as evanescent as a dream.

Tips Clear Italia, no. 838, June 2020

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