It’s been a minute since the blogosphere humored a micro fashion trend. Remember the pastel-hued ennui of Tumblr’s #softgrunge girls? How about the Netscape-brushed, rave-in-Atlantis trappings of #seapunk? Of course, even your most swagless homie knew what #healthgoth was (you have Alexander Wang x H&M to thank for that). But alas, said homie may have also known about the former because he himself was probably an enthusiast of its predecessor, #normcore, a trend that fetishized all things dull, mundane and nondescript.
The fashion industry simply loves churning out hashtag-able jingles to coincide with the fads that waver in and out of the market each season; they provide substance and a sense of tangibility to movements which are often considered farcical, shallow and capricious. I’m not saying that quasi-subcultural labels aren’t laughable at times (I’m too self-aware not to admit this notion), but at least they ease tension and add wit to a field widely perceived as uppish and deadpan.
The current trend climate is more erratic than ever. One minute it’s all about monochromatic white sneakers and minimal athleisure, the next it’s combat boots and vintage metal T-shirts. Everyone seems to like a bit of everything these days, and designers continue to tap deeper and deeper into a vast pool of influences with their collections each season.
That being said, allow me to introduce the latest mania that will surely be sweeping through the style realm in the forthcoming months: #officecore. (Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?)
Fashion’s love of all things cozy and casual has been going for a minute, with industry veterans, tastemakers and street style stars replacing blazers and oxford shoes with hoodies and sneakers as their de-facto uniform. Graphics have also experienced a big comeback; if you’re an avid Highsnob reader, you’ve probably seen any number of logo-heavy pieces referencing everything from motocross gear to rock music paraphernalia to throwback sportswear.
Then, of course, there’s this wave of designers from the Eastern Bloc that continue to dominate the conversation with their haute-sleaze creations and fractious youth-tinged ethos, known in the media as the “post-Soviet” movement.
But a surprising sway from this current style zeitgeist displayed during the FW17 fashion week circuit had me thinking – are designers finally going corporate?
The SS17 fashion month heralded the return of suiting and business casual clothing. From Hood By Air’s fetishistic Wall Street uniforms and Saint Laurent’s ’80s power babe attire to Louis Vuitton’s sci-fi tailored looks and Balenciaga’s shoulder-padded explosion of boxy office swag, the catwalk was riddled with twisted takes on formalwear that broke the streak of all things sporty and laid-back.
Fast forward to FW17’s runway trends, and you’ll be quick to spot that double-breasted suits, ties, loose-fitting chinos and button-ups were all the rage.
For his third collection as Creative Director for luxury French house Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia whipped up a wardrobe fit for a cubicle-dwelling telemarketer in Middle America, translating his trademark low-brow irony into an arsenal of conference room-colored puffer vests, bulky blazers, flannels and trench coats. The designer’s neo-normcore narrative would also seep into his FW17 line for Vetements, where frumpy corporate looks made cameos alongside studded lime green punk jackets and biohazard-emblazoned gabber coats.
Miuccia Prada’s seasonal range was a ’70s-flavored mix of Office Space chic, followed by fellow Milan-based stalwart Valentino, who reimagined punks as conformists forced to work a daily 9 to 5 at a FiDi brokerage firm. Gosha Rubchinskiy’s rogue FW17 show in Kaliningrad sent forth a parade of football-playing schoolboys in geometry teacher shirts, intarsia knits and pinstriped tailoring. Dries Van Noten crafted billowing silhouettes of everyday menswear classics in lieu of his signature dazzling baroque costumes. Of course these are but a few examples we’ve seen this season (lest we forget the clerical ravers in MISBHV’s Polish club fantasy), but you get the picture.
It’s kind of amusing that, in a time where socio-political turmoil is running rampant all across the globe, designers are drawing inspiration from the outfits so commonly donned by the politicians and corporate officials we’ve come to stridently distrust. Are blazer-wielding autocrats like Donald Trump and Martin Shrkeli fashion’s new muses? Highly unlikely, but this barrier between arty commentary and commercial acceptance is a fragile one.
Of course, the satirical quirks affiliated with this formalwear fad does brings things into perspective from a modern fashion standpoint – dad caps, clunky footwear and high-end iterations of cheap commodities (aka parody fashion) have been big staples for style-forward consumers for a while. Not to mention that the ring leader of this whole craze, Demna Gvasalia, holds substantial clout over the industry’s current cultural climate.
Will #officecore be the next big thing? I think so, but only to a degree. A lot of what we’ve seen on the catwalks can be styled in ways that suit both your average Joe and your avant-minded fashionista, so incorporating bits and pieces of business casual into what you’re already wearing isn’t too radical.
Will I be following it? That depends. If it’s Fargo and Seinfeld we’re talking about, then hell no. American Psycho or Ryan Philippe from Cruel Intentions, on the other hand, sure, I’m not opposed, though I’m still way too much of a Docs and graphic T-shirt kind of guy to be 100% committed (I also loathe this trend of mid-late 20-somethings wanting to look like middle-aged dads).
For more Snob Trends, check out why we think YEEZY Season 5 could make burgundy the next must-have color.