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The Avant-Garde Is Alive and Well and Making Fashion

  • March 05, 2021

Ms. Serre may be at the forefront, but she’s not alone.

There’s Thebe Magugu, from South Africa, who takes the idea of fashion storytelling to a new level in guerrilla films that use clothes to teach cultural truths — this time about the new embrace of traditional faith healing among his urbanized millennial peers. Working with the director Kristin-Lee Moolman, he etched out a story of gang warfare and spiritual union told in both action and cloth. Safari suiting was made from textiles created to mimic the straw mats a friend used to throw bones (complete with said bone). A black jacket was “scarified” along the spine with Braille threads reading, “What you do to your ancestors, your children will do to you.”

Then there’s the Vaquera gang, Claire Sullivan, Patric DiCaprio and Bryn Taubensee, whose work has grown from blowing raspberries at the establishment to nimbly skewing tropes of aspiration, elitism and gender. This season that meant blowing them out and decontextualizing them, so that satin undies, flamenco flounces and baggy sweats demand a rethink.

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