The first four months of 2023 have given the world a showcase of a broad fashion trend that seemed to starkly contrast against popular choices from last year: impracticality. In 2022, we witnessed the mainstream rise of Gorpcore – a genre full of clothing items such as rain jackets, down jackets, base layers, waterproof vests, and hiking boots. These items all have a main aspect in common: technicality. The style was created with the intention of allowing mobility in (poor) outdoor conditions. Washingtonians have long been lovers of this style, due to the fact that our climate pretty much requires dressing up in these items for much of the year. Some could even choose to deem this style “REI Core.”
With the start of a new year came the occurrence of an important event: Paris Fashion Week. It took place from February ninth to the 15th and showcased the unique and elevated style that has taken the country by storm in the past few years. On top of this, it marked the arrival of a theme of hilariously bold and flashy impracticality. This likely took some influence from Gorpcore, as it seemed to mock its technical aspects. Several celebrities were seen wearing outfits that seemed impossible to function in on a normal day. Among these were Kylie Jenner strutting in a black dress that had a full-size faux lion head attached to the front as well as Doja Cat wearing a rhinestone and bubble-covered, skintight, all-red bodysuit and dress, making it appear as if she had no hair. Viktor & Rolf took the craziness aspect to the next level, showcasing anonymous models with the artistic value being set instead on large, billowing dresses. These dresses defied common purpose by being worn in every way besides traditionally. Dresses were worn sideways, diagonal, or even completely upside down. The insanity of some of these items influenced the mainstream blow-up of several other items in the following weeks, most notably MSCHF’s Big Red Boots.
The Big Red Boots were showcased during New York Fashion Week, which happened concurrently with the event in Paris. It is unclear what exactly influenced the creation and stage presence of this iconic piece of footwear, but many would point to the double-toed tabby boots from last year. The Red boots were made of TPU Rubber and sported a comically large fit that many compared to the shoes of the main character from the classic TV show Astro boy. The boots became available for purchase at a retail price of $350 and quickly began reselling for over $1000. Countless celebrities posted pictures wearing these boots in the following weeks, which led to one important question: why? Not only do the boots look extremely comical and do not exactly mesh well with the majority of outfits, but the concept of being able to walk in a pair of boots that has a toe box 2 inches above the top of the foot is quite far-fetched. Considering the multitude of outrageous pieces that were showcased at both events, it can be concluded that fashion as a whole is beginning to take on even more of an “artistic” sense. Many pieces are being created with the intention of being the stand-out feature of any outfit they are a part of, negating the need for aesthetic value, piece compatibility, and the concept of “wearable clothing.”