Trans-Seasonal Evolution

...fashion dissolves seasonal boundaries

by Ellen Grace Jones
Not too long ago, Spring/Summer meant colour, joy-de-vivre and ebullience. Autumn/Winter meant muted shades, dense outerwear and multiple layers; those were the rules. A cursory glance over the 2012 seasons, however, confirms that sartorial cross-pollination appears to be the latest burgeoning trend - thus rendering the biannual fashion polarities increasingly obsolete.

There was nothing remotely summery about Balenciaga's S/S12 heavy black leather and wool patchwork shirts, jackets and souwester-esque hats. Miu Miu, Givenchy and Valentino featured very dark-leather-heavy, colour-lite collections.

In turn, according to London Fashion Week's A/W 12/13 collections, bad weather and sub-zero temps were the last thing on the mind of many. Ashish presented a riot of 90's Summer of Love and New Age technicolour. Upon Peter Pilotto's satin gowns, summery, painterly floral prints were splashed, and white-hot woman of the moment Mary Katrantzou's collection was an abundance of vivid rainbow hues on expertly cut micro-dresses. So far, so summery. As for the A/W 12/13 Milan shows -- when The Daily Mail acknowledges the collection's 'summery-ness' you know something's really up…

Never has the fashion aspersion of "Oh, darling that is just so last season" actually been a compliment until now.

So where does this trans-trend ideology stem from? It's too complex to attribute the origins to one factor alone. "There has been a massive change," says photographer Nick Knight, founder of SHOWstudio. "The public are seeing clothes as they are shown, rather than in magazines three months later. And they want them when they see them."

There is no doubt our voracious, impatient lust for the new (exacerbated by the Internet) is a critical influence. Before Style.com, one would have to wait six months after the show to view, an A/W collection the following Autumn. Now we can see -- even purchase -- Burberry the millisecond the looks hit the runway. Film stars constantly wear pre-seasonal gowns to events. In a race to be first, our hunger to consume the future encourages this whole seasonal flip-flop.

Browsing through the digital rails of NJAL you'll find past puritanical seasonal maxims do not apply here either. As the season presently, officially turns to spring, Gothic noir looks of Kamila Gawronska Kasperska and Eon hang comfortably alongside floaty, ethereal beach dresses by Mynah and the colourful irreverence of Natalie Anne Moran. It's a perennial fashion party, and everyone's invited.

When times get hard, people get creative and indeed 2008's recession meant less disposable clothing income, more getting busy with your enterprising styling skills. As explicitly summery items found themselves becoming evergreen (albeit layered up to the max), we learnt how to make our closets' contents last and last. As a result, designers must understand that most consumers can no longer replace -- or at least, heavily add to -- their wardrobes twice yearly, hence the increasing seasonal dissolution.

It's unlikely we will witness a full-on cyclical 180, with each designer throwing micro-tankinis onto the catwalk for A/W, but the seeds of rigorous seasonal divorce have long been sown. I can only predict the disconnect will continue at it's current pace, continuing to beatifically ostracise what has been always regarded as seasonally appropriate norms. And this, for true style mavericks, is something to be celebrated.