These days, when everything seems to move faster than ever, it’s hard to keep apace with the news. Last October, when we celebrated our first-ever his-and-hers issue, fashion brands like Burberry, Tom Ford, and Gucci were starting to show their men’s and women’s collections simultaneously, upending a fashion calendar that still separates the girls from the boys.
Just six months later, coed collections have practically become the norm. The change came about, in part, as an effort to present a unified message to customers, but I believe it is also a reaction to the times. The most interesting collections right now are the ones that blur the lines not just between genders but also between generations and races. As reactionary politicians attempt to close borders, fashion is making a point of opening them by celebrating diversity and tolerance.
Anya Taylor-Joy is a Goddess in Haute Couture
Anya Taylor-Joy wears a Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown.
Valentino Haute Couture gown; Messika Paris earrings and ring.
Armani Privé cape and dress; Tia Mazza veil. Beauty note: Prep for a plunging neckline with Chantecaille Rose de Mai Body Oil.
Chanel Haute Couture dress and feather bolero; Chanel Fine Jewelry earrings; Fabergé ring.
Dior Haute Couture dress.
Givenchy Haute Couture dress; Giampiero Bodino earrings.
Atelier Versace dress and sandals; Messika Paris earrings and bracelets; Boucheron ring.
Elie Saab Haute Couture gown; Buccellati earrings.
Ulyana Sergeenko coat and dress; Buccellati earrings. Beauty note: Dress eyes with Givenchy Liner Vinyl in Black Blue Ink.
Cadolle briefs; Tia Mazza tulle and veil; (from left) Philip Treacy London flower headpiece; Ellen Christine Couture flower headpiece; Philip Treacy London hat; Bijou Van Ness feather comb; Patricia Underwood plume; Bulgari ring; Tiffany & Co. bracelet.
Maison Margiela Artisanal Designed by John Galliano gown, headpiece, and boots.
Maison Margiela Artisanal Designed by John Galliano coat, hat, and boots.
Take, for example, the designer Brandon Maxwell, who is featured in “Shine Bright.” Maxwell is intent on making glamorous dressing an option for all women. “The most important thing for me…is that when a young girl in the middle of nowhere comes across an image of my collection on social media, she sees someone like herself. Not just African-American, but also Indian, Asian, Hispanic,” he says. This emphasis on inclusiveness is clearly a priority also for Ethan James Green, a young photographer whose work appears for the first time in the pages of W with “Supreme Court,” a fashion story with a truly contemporary cast of characters. Meanwhile, Heron Preston, featured in the men’s side of this issue (“Mr. Clean”), is building one of the buzziest new labels around—nominally for men, but also appealing to women—by promoting sustainability and even partnering with the New York City Department of Sanitation.
The Best Young Designers to Watch in 2017
Joan Smalls, in a Brandon Maxwell gown; Van Cleef & Arpels brooch and watch; Roger Vivier shoes.
Brandon Maxwell, with the model Joan Smalls, who wears a jumpsuit from his spring collection; Van Cleef & Arpels earrings, necklace, and bracelet.
Models wearing pieces from Molly Goddard’s spring collection; Mansur Gavriel shoes.
Molly Goddard (far right), with a model wearing pieces from her spring collection.
Model Aymeline Valade in pieces from Antonin Tron’s spring collection; Jimmy Choo shoes.
Antonin Tron, with the model Aymeline Valade in pieces from his spring collection; Jimmy Choo shoes.
A model sporting a look from Heron Preston’s fall 2017 collection. Nike sneakers; Preston’s own jewelry.
The designer Heron Preston (left) and models in looks from his fall 2017 collection. Nike sneakers; Preston’s own jewelry.
Heron Preston and a model sporting looks from his fall 2017 collection. Manolo Blahnik sandals; Preston’s own jewelry.
April is also the month when we take a chance, introducing the next generation of talented people whose names you should know. Case in point: Anya Taylor-Joy, who started making waves a couple of years ago with her role as a tormented teenager in the period movie The Witch. After her stellar performance in Split, M. Night Shyamalan’s recent hit thriller, it’s certain we will be hearing a lot more about her. “Pure Joy,” photographed by Paolo Roversi, is the actress’s first foray into the rarefied world of haute couture, and a welcome break from the intense characters she has embodied. Dane DeHaan, our male cover star, is someone whose career we have been tracking for longer; he’s already had several attention-grabbing roles and even stints as the face of Prada. But he, too, is at a pivotal moment. Thanks to his starring role in Luc Besson’s science-fiction thriller Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, DeHaan is entering the big leagues (“Great Dane”). Both of these young actors remind me of classic silver-screen stars: They approach their work with a drive and seriousness that is rare today.
I felt that same sense of purpose and respect for the past in all the up-and-comers in the worlds of fashion, art, design, film, beauty, and music profiled in “Heads Above the Rest.” The talented young men and women we discovered work in wildly different ways, but they acknowledge their mentors and those who paved the way for them. They are also invariably optimistic about the future, and confident that they will prevail over any obstacles in their path. At this moment in time, that’s a very powerful message indeed.
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