Flick through the pages of any fashion magazine and you’ll find yourself besieged by the future. Headlines clamber over each other in the race to scream the message loudest:
“TOMORROW’S LOOKS, TODAY!” “THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME!” “THE NEXT GENERATION!”
It’s the whole focus of the industry’s frenetic biannual cycle, after all – hail the new, trash the past. But the surprising thing about fashion, for most of this latest millennium, is that the reality has been something altogether more conservative. Throughout the 20th century, fashion consistently pushed the boundaries of technology, imagination and taste to produce challenging new ideas to reflect the spirit of each new decade – from Chanel’s unstructured suits in the Twenties to Pierre Cardin’s unisex spacesuits, or from Issey Miyake’s revolutionary Eighties pleats to Prada’s sleekly industrial nylon tailoring. But at some point post-2000, the tide did a 180-degree turn – and suddenly, instead of looking forward to the brave new future, the industry found itself drawn into a love affair with its own history.