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On the Runway, Money Is the New Sex – The New York Times

This past May, as a foreboding heat washed over Manhattan, Demna, Balenciaga’s artistic director and a master satirist of our dystopian digital age, became the first designer to stage a runway show on t…….

This past May, as a foreboding heat washed over Manhattan, Demna, Balenciaga’s artistic director and a master satirist of our dystopian digital age, became the first designer to stage a runway show on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Following the ceremonial ringing of the bell, models emerged in double-breasted wool coats and silk jacquard pussy-bow blouses from the brand’s resort 2023 collection, which they wore over full-body latex bondage suits with talonlike nail details, some of them gripping leather briefcases or takeout coffee cups as they navigated a crowd including Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, Mayor Eric Adams and the makeup artist Alexis Stone, who attended as Dolly Parton. The plan had been for the presentation to take place in the Ramble, a section of Central Park as famous for cruising as for bird-watching; the Georgian fashion designer had been thinking about the exchange of desire and his own complicity in such transactions. However, when it proved tricky to obtain a permit, Demna turned his attention to an even headier fetish: money. The invitations were stacks of fake $100 bills.

It wasn’t that long ago that fashion was heralding a return to free love and sex, as reflected in the sequined bandanna tops and ultra-low-rise pants that dominated the spring runways. But just like back-to-back promises of Hot Vax Summer, that came and went fast. Gone are the micro-miniskirts, tattered jeans and other signifiers of hedonism; they’ve been replaced by no-nonsense dressing, the sartorial equivalent of a spreadsheet. Even the bare midriff, a staple of the recent Y2K style revival, has been covered up and cinched into a corset — particularly in the case of Versace’s fall 2022 collection, where various iterations of the silhouette-shaping garment were built into luxe suit jackets and worn underneath sporty puffers and satin coats in electric pink and blue.

Much of this season’s fashion arrived with a sense of urgency — not to distract from our confusing economic moment but with what seemed like a determination to weather it. The tone has been neither submissive nor transgressive; it’s steadfast. We’ve seen it before: Following the feathers and colorful embellishments of the Roaring Twenties, wide-leg suits in sober tones became the uniform of the Great Depression. And even when things appeared to be humming along — when, for example, Americans settled into the “greed is good” mentality of the late ’80s — designers embraced muted colors, padded shoulders and other cues that suggested restraint and power. The message this time around, to paraphrase Kim Kardashian’s recent divisive comment about women in business, is similar and unequivocal: It’s time for people to get up …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/22/t-magazine/money-sex-fashion.html

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