Fashion

London Fashion Week February 2020

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This London Fashion Week, a hail storm hit so hard, they actually gave it a name: Dennis, like the menace or the basketball player who hangs in North Korea. There were deep puddles outside Buckingham Palace, and deep crowds in front of tiny doors to fashion shows. We wore kitten heels and floral skirts and carefully casual layers because of optics, which basically means because of Tyler Joe.

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Three looks from Victoria Beckham

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I shivered a lot and hoped the right people would look at me. They did and I was still cold, but the shiver turned to a jolt of excitement. Maybe I belonged to more than just my doubts. Maybe the way I looked finally matched the way I felt, but not really, because all I felt was freezing.

Victoria Beckham’s been there, and now she’s someone so famous, she adds to the canon of her own iconography whenever she leaves the house. Her latest outfits will let her do it with a little more cocooning, thanks to oversize tops and leather boots so tall, they’re pretty much pants. Grab them, strap in, snuggle down, and brave a world that says it wants peace and love, but really just wants to know why you’re still allowed to be part of a loving family, despite being both powerful and female. (It’s the boots, obviously. Hello.) This is armor you can wear in the rain, even with paparazzi camped outside or your ex boyfriend stalking your Instagram. Frankly, in these deceptively serene looks, he doesn’t stand a chance.

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Lindsey Wixson and Annibelis Baez at Preen

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Preen happened in a circular church, with models stomping underneath a dome carved with words like GLORY and BEAUTY. These two looks had both, though only Nebraska native Lindsey Wixson was prepared for the weekend monsoon in a lipstick-red trench that threatened anyone in its way with a damn good time.

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Pink! Blue! Pink! Blue! At Emilia Wickstead

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There was magic at Emilia Wickstead but I wasn’t sure how to wield it. These are the kind of grown-up clothes best explained by sorcery and childhood memory morsels, instead of the painstaking attention to detail and commitment to craft that creates this kind of exquisite exhibit. It’s almost too good to wear in real life—what code of conduct could line up to the structure of these seams? Like a job promotion or a 7-minute mile, these are clothes that make you work hard for them.

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Cate Blanchett and Millennial Pink at Roksanda.

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When I was 24, I went to Paris for my first Fashion Week, and this architect tried to hit on me. “You work in fashion?” he said when it was clear I wasn’t interested (and knew if he knew me, he wouldn’t be either). “I dated a girl in design school. Roksanda. I believe she was the love of my life… and I was not the love of hers. That still kills me.” I feel the same way about color-blocked outfits.

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The North Face x MM6 Maison Margiela

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Even if your soul’s cold, there’s real warmth to be had in MM6’s new collaboration with The North Face. The outerwear has puff padding made from recycled down insulation, and a sharing-is-caring zipper that lets you attach the various garments together. Mix, match, build a really expensive blanket fort, and remember a simpler time when Sean Combs and your preppy crush from lacrosse camp wore exactly the same winter coat.

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Halima Aden and Naomi Campbell at TOMMYNOW

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There’s nothing more Brit Style than Naomi Campbell opening a fashion show in London and nothing more American than Minnesota native and U.S. immigrant Halima Aden storming a Tommy Hilfiger catwalk in a stars-and-stripes hijab. We got to cheer for both at Sunday’s TOMMY NOW show, which also included rock royals like Georgia May Jagger and Parris Goebel, the choreographer for Rihanna and Justin Bieber who just signed her own modeling contract with IMG. A multi-hustle maven? That’s the true American way.

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The shakes at J.W. Anderson

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Fashion Week is stressful, so J.W. Anderson gave us some ASMR. As models like Kaia Gerber and Mona Tougaard wore shaggy shimmer pieces, you could hear the static-y whoosh of the clothes, which came to live every time the girls moved or even breathed. Were these plastic auras surrounding our synthetic lives or poison sea anemones waiting to graze your skin? I couldn’t tell; I was too busy wishing I had a warmer sweater. (J.W. makes good ones for UNIQLO, in case you’re looking.)

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Left, Lady Clara Paget. Right, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon.

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Lady Clara Paget is an aristocrat, but in this picture it looks like she wants to make a Kidz Bop music video for the all-female Ghostbusters, andto quote our dear R. Eric Thomas—I am here for it.

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Kaia Gerber, Alexa Chung, and Victoria Beckham

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Finally, these women are wearing the pants across three generations. They have shit to do and they don’t really care if you’re paying attention, but they know you are, because they’re, like, really pretty. I’ll never be able to emulate this kind of supreme confidence, but I’ll totally settle for a wide leg trouser instead.

Young woman shopping in a vintage clothing store

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Finally, between shows I ducked into a cafe-slash-thrift-store. I went inside because of the hail storm, and lingered for 45 minutes because of the scene: teens and university kids digging through boxes and bins, picking up vintage Moschino jackets and random varsity sweaters, soft college radio flannel and stiff embroidered denim. It wasn’t a runway story being told through clothes, or a tribe being sewn together through a rare but shared experience—just kids buying into who they want to be, based on what they could find in a giant room of clothes.

As for me, I wanted to stop being cold and wet, so I bought a giant sweater… and pretended it was J.W. Anderson, at least when I swished out the door.

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