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The rise of heart-shaped fashion


Millennials are showing their emotions with the help of new heart-shaped fashion. Although Valentine’s Day is over for this year, brands are still supplying a great selection of heart-shaped and love-inspired items. We look into why, this season, fashion has fallen in love with love.

Anastasia Kyle-Langley
Gallery
Anastasia Kyle-Langley,

 Putting on a show
Over the past seasons, releasing limited-edition capsule collections has become a regular approach of many luxury and high-street brands. As customer bases expand far beyond domestic markets, the holiday calendar needs to adjust to the demands of a new, international clientele. Some brands are resolving this with lavish displays, akin to travelling theatres, in new territories. Chanel and Dior, two brands that have staged visits to their clients since the houses were founded, set the tone again by staging resort and capsule collection shows in locations from Edinburgh to Cuba. This season, Gucci’s request to stage a show at the Parthenon in Athens was declined by the Greek government on the grounds of the monument’s fragility: but this certainly demonstrates the scale of the theatre fashion houses are prepared to stage to keep their customers engaged.

Political change
Academics suggest that in times of political instability, societies tend to cling to familiar values. While this year’s looks are still taking shape, they promise many romantic influences on the catwalk. The resort collections are showing the first signs: Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci and many high-street brands such as &Other Stories are turning to school memorabilia of the 90s: heart patches, slogans and other teenage ways to show affection from pre-internet days. Genuine feelings seem to be the new fashion kick: #squadgoals, a hashtag that promotes friendship groups, became one of the fastest-trending of summer 2015. It’s hardly surprising, as the trend for showing off devoted (and often fashionable) groups of friends was started by opinion-formers such as Taylor Swift and Kendall Jenner.

The rise of the new supers
In the early 90s a group of influential and formidable models came together: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitz. They were the most desirable guests at any show, with Evangelista famously claiming that she and her fellow supermodels wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. Loved by the photographers’ lenses, their faces were on the covers of every magazine.

Today, as the social media users assume the roles of fashion critics, they choose  role models they can relate to. Bella and Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are among the young American models who represent the new generation of supers. They might see 90s fashion as ironic, but, as their engagement sells, it matters to brands. Earlier this year Tommy Hilfiger presented his SS17 collection in collaboration with Gigi Hadid. The range was available immediately after the show and most pieces were sold out within hours. It’s worth mentioning that many of the collection items were covered in hearts.

The power of emoji
With the help of this alternative keyboard it’s so easy, and, importantly, quick to create a meaningful text message. With pictograms ranging from hearts to clinking glasses, bows and more niche symbols such as those of religious holidays and star signs, anyone can send a detailed short story in seconds.

The idea has been picked up by fashion brands. Many have started using emoji in the way that big logos were used in the 90s: an easily recognised symbol associated with the brand. Anya Hindmarch, the London-based designer famous for her quirky accessories, produced a number of very successful seasonal collections featuring smiley faces, heart patches and rainbows.

Millennials, often criticised for their short attention spans, have created their own means of communication; its influence is set to continue rippling through various spheres for years to come.

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