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TECHNO + RUNWAY:
OUR UNHOLY RELIGION

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Ah, the sacred union of techno and runway. The pulsating beats of underground clubs combined with the avant-garde creations of daring designers – it's a match made in heaven, or perhaps, a trendy warehouse in Berlin. Like penitent pilgrims, we flock to the altar of fashion and techno, worshipping the gods of minimalism and outrageousness. Let's explore this divine connection, shall we?

One can't help but ponder the symbiosis between techno and fashion. After all, both worlds are built on a foundation of innovation, non-conformity, and a penchant for the provocative. It's no wonder that the two have become inseparable, as they feed off each other's creative energy like a pair of impeccably-dressed vampires.

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Givenchy RTW Fall 2021

Take, for instance, the latest runway shows. Was it just me, or was there an unusually high number of models stomping down the catwalk to the hypnotic beats of techno? And it's not just any techno – we're talking about obscure tracks that I swear I've heard echoing in the depths of an illegal rave at 4 am. It seems that fashion has finally caught up with the pace of our late-night escapades, and is embracing the dark, sweaty underbelly of techno culture.

MILAN — Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons enlisted electronic music icon Richie Hawtin, also known as Plastikman, to craft the soundtracks for Prada's men's and women's fall fashion shows. Specifically, the women's collection video showcased models dancing in a dark, techno club-inspired environment.

 

For his men's fall debut, MSGM creative director Massimo Giorgetti set up a rave party amid snowy conditions; Matthew Williams evoked a techno concert ambiance for Givenchy's digital showcase, and GCDS displayed a club-ready lineup with a psychedelic vibe. In Paris, Coperni took its attendees to the AccorHotels Arena for a parade of club attire accompanied by techno music, while newly appointed artistic director Nicolas Di Felice paid tribute to club culture with his fall collection for Courrèges.

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Rick Owens Runway Pieces FW22

These are just a few instances of the considerable and ongoing impact of rave and clubbing culture on the collections showcased by various fashion houses one year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This global crisis imposed restrictions on personal freedom and forced individuals to reevaluate their personal and professional lives.

 

Escapism had already surfaced as a theme in the spring 2021 collections presented last fall amid the ongoing pandemic. However, while it initially manifested as a gentle nostalgia and the longing for reassurance, in the following season, escapism took on a more rebellious, assertive tone.

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Professor Carolyn Mair, a behavioral psychologist, PhD, author of "The Psychology of Fashion," and founder of Psychology.fashion, believes that people's excitement for the return of freedom, social interaction, and self-expression will lead to a rush to engage with the world at large, whether through clothing or social activities like dining, drinking, and clubbing. Mair explains that fashion mirrors the zeitgeist, and losing oneself in music and dancing with others allows for a temporary escape from everyday concerns and responsibilities.

 

Doris Domoszlai, a fashion historian and cofounder of Fashion Forward, a New York-based fashion think tank, also sees a strong connection between fashion's recent embrace of escapism and the lack of freedom experienced by people worldwide. Domoszlai points out that given the ongoing pandemic, it's no surprise that many designers have turned to escapism to express their frustrations and hopes for the future. Outdoor and rave cultures serve as venues of escape, offering excitement beyond the confined spaces people have been restricted to during lockdowns.

OFF-WHITE FW19
OFF-WHITE FW19

Off-White FW 19 Men's Collection

Domoszlai also reflects on several digital shows from the fall 2021 fashion weeks. She notes that Givenchy's collection, set to electronic music in a warehouse reminiscent of 90s' acid raves and recent illegal pandemic-era raves, underscores the urgency to escape the current dystopian reality. Domoszlai also draws parallels between the GCDS digital presentation and early 2000s' Millennium Bag, as well as the fear of an uncertain digital future. The GCDS collection represents an escape to both the past's view of the future and the potential places people can go to break free from long-term quarantine.

 

Furthermore, Domoszlai highlights Ottolinger's digital presentation, which explores escapism from an outdoor perspective. By transporting viewers to an unnamed, futuristic, rocky landscape, the activewear-inspired collection conveys the designers' need to escape confined spaces due to COVID-19 and the feeling of being lost in uncharted territory. The presentation's final words, describing the setting as "formerly known as somewhere, now known as nowhere," encapsulate the disconnection the designers feel with today's world.

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