All species from kittens to stallions have been integrated into textile prints, appliqué fabrics and embroidered logos, which of course has been seen before, but things are moving on. Animals are now keeping the models company; appearing on catwalks, covers and campaigns, but moving forward from their previously assumed position as merely a prop or accessory.
Fashion has always welcomed animal inspiration, from Miu Miu’s printed platforms to Jean Paul Gaultier’s deer headpieces of Autumn/Winter 2008, wildlife has forever been an influence to designers, but never really an inclusion, until now.
Brands Ermanno Scervino and Edun have called upon four legged and airborne creatures to accompany models in their Autumn/Winter 2012 campaigns.
Scervino’s collection consists of luxurious garments created from dark silks and lace featuring heavy embellishment. On a runway they look luxe, but when worn by Dree Hemmingway and Josh Beech in the rustic setting of a stable accompanied by a great black horse, the clothes instantly come to life, whisking one away, into a wild wonderland of freedom and nature.
“I have always been drawn to a horse’s ambivalent role: noble and full of sensuality and interior strength, as is my fashion,’ says Ermanno Scervino
Edun, remained in the studio for their campaign but flew in birds of prey to perch upon their models and in turn stole the limelight. The clothes are almost outshone by the large birds, as Edun’s regular photographer Ryan McGinley captured their serenity alongside equally beautiful jackets, shirts and knits.
So what has brought about this change in fashion? It is impossible to think our models are becoming less attractive, but just perhaps less relevant, if only for a split fashion second. However this sudden introduction of the wild is undoubtedly drawing focus away from these beautiful women and towards something else. Bringing in the wild presents a new route of escapism, encapturing the nostalgic and enchanting memories of animal characters from childhood storybooks and old family pets. Allowing us to escape from what is often known ironically as the ratrace which is our lives, this current need for the presence of nature within our fashion world evokes a feeling of freedom.
Mulberry’s creative director Emma Hill revisited the childhood story ‘Where the wild things are’ which sees a young boy run away with his imagination and befriend a furry beast. So fascinated with this yeti like creature, Mulberry’s Autumn Winter 2012 show saw a collection consisting of fur dresses, hair-lined gillets and shearling bags, with two of the books ‘wild things’ on either side of the runway. This even extended into the lookbook where they created life-size replicas to feature alongside model Lindsey Wixon.
Magazine Man About Town has taken their animal admiration above and beyond all the rest. For their tenth issue, they have shunned a cover star in favour of an illustration of man’s best friend, and the entire issue is barking mad. It has canine based advertorials with hounds wearing watches, another with dogs in full men’s fashion and editorials with styling from Katy England in which the male models are wearing tails and collar in homage to the pup.
It also touches on the importance of animals to peoples well being. With interviews from top designers such as Azzedine Alaia and Dries Van Norton, they each explain the love they themselves have for their pets and how necessary there are to their happiness. This particular magazine’s issue also suggests another reason behind why there has been such a strong animal presence in the industry of late; the heavy environmental issues which are affecting the whole planet. The issue covers dog fighting and abuse, and forces its readers to acknowledge animal cruelty.
Whether it is the environment, the sense of wild or a hunt for the most beautiful being to model the latest collections; animals have certainly infused fun into fashion features of late. We just hope it continues, and with rumour that Karl Lagerfeld’s latest bag is named after his pet feline, we can’t see this trend fading soon. Here is to Chanel’s Choupette, the latest female fashion icon.