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Haute magic

Published : Mar 6, 2016, 11:05 pm IST
Updated : Mar 6, 2016, 11:05 pm IST

Fashion moves fast. Not too long ago, there was normcore and we all thought that it was the future.

Mary Katrantzou’s creations inspired by Chaos Magic.
 Mary Katrantzou’s creations inspired by Chaos Magic.

Fashion moves fast. Not too long ago, there was normcore and we all thought that it was the future. And no sooner had your fashionably-challenged boyfriend learned the term, congratulating himself on how he was normcore before the word even existed, the world of fashion changed, yet again. It’s now all about “chaos magic”: a year of magical thinking, making/wearing clothes out of mementos, elements from precious memories and adding lucky charms for the future. In short, it is a cult fashion trend for wearing clothes that are personally meaningful.

Calling themselves K-HOLE, five 20-somethings, who were previously responsible for coining the term ‘normcore’, in their fifth report, “A Report on Doubt,” talk about what magic means in today’s world. The findings aren’t your run-of-the-mill witches-and-warlocks stuff. What they’re talking about is a more spiritual, self-contained magic, something akin to mental manifestations. At the crux is the idea of “Chaos Magic,” a term that as per K-HOLE “lives in the same realm as the cult of positive thinking.” According to the report: “Mixing your own Kool-Aid, deciding how strong to make it, knowing when to drink it and when to stop, is Chaos Magic in practice. It’s a little bit free will, a little bit The Secret and a little bit about championing personal choice. It is what happens after will. It’s the antidote to the try-hard problems that come with overthinking.”

When asked to break down the takeaway from K-HOLE’s latest release, Emily Segal explained to, “In the broadest strokes, it is saying, ‘this is about people’s experiences.’ It is saying, ‘what’s important is how people are experiencing the world, experiencing their spirituality, experiencing anxiety, so there is a motion back toward the emotional landscape of consumers instead of their pocketbooks. It’s about ‘staying up at the club all night dancing’ or ‘laughing with your friends’.”

Our own home-bred trend forecaster, stylist and fashion blogger Purushu Arie explains, “We saw the influence of futurism and natural space mysteries a year ago when John Galliano debuted for Maison Margiela. With synthetic trash, smooth and glossy leather, opaque plastics, PVC in shiny iridescent and melted metallic hues, John Galliano evoked the feeling of magical life forms when Kanye West was stuck up with Normcore drab. True visionaries in fashion are those who create trends rather than follow them. In 2016, the Potterheads have grown up and now watch Game of Thrones. This year saw the release of Star Wars too. The new millennials easily grasp concepts of time and space. Much like the film Interstellar, Chaos Magic creates realities that are temporary and subjective. The resulting paradigm changes have contributed to a cosmic shift in fashion, influenced by galactic and edgy aesthetics. We’re looking at the future through cosmology, space and the universe. From Mary Katrantzou to Christopher Kane, Chaos Magic has not only ruled the runways recently but take one look at Cristiano Ronaldo’s new Nike shoes inspired from Volcanic Island, and you will know that the temporary future is about chaos magic.” Ask him what is so unique about the trend and he elaborates, “It’s about time and disconnection. All the cosmological influence didn’t happen magically but only reflects the progress of our own society. Trends are changing faster than ever before. For me, it’s about travelling at the speed of light, travelling light years, going through black holes and reaching a distant mystical universe. I am looking at colourful stars, asteroid belts, neon gaseous clouds and mystical creatures.”

For fashion designer Urvashi Kaur, the emergence of such trends in a way reflects the consumer’s fatigue with mass market trends. She says, “I’ve always felt that fashion consumers feel fatigued by mass market trends and continually look for ways to express themselves and showcase individuality through their dressing. The fact that this trend has emerged at a time of relentless globalisation reflects a sign of changing perspectives towards fashion and retail. I sense that this will gradually shift towards becoming a movement, where identity will play a key role in our buying patterns and the desire to stand out will supersede the need to conform.”

A Chaos Magic fan herself, she further adds, “I love having a little touch of magic, personal memories and details to whatever I wear. In fact, I am very attached to my collection of shawls, which is from all over the world. Each of these shawls has been carefully hand woven textiles with incredible elements of colour, pattern and texture. Layering them over my outfits gives me a feeling of being connected to something nostalgic and magical. I also take this inspiration forward in my label, where these folkloric references add a dimension of heritage and poetry to my collections.”

Ask Purushu if he thinks the trend will catch up in India as well and he avers, “Of course. Thanks to the digital revolution and rise in popularity of Indian fashion bloggers in recent years -— it’s no longer the case that one has to wait for six months to a year for trends to trickle down into the sub-continent. Hopefully the trend doesn’t glorify superstitions in an already superstitious society.” Urvashi agrees and adds, “The idea of personalising ones fashion and being unique is universal. I believe we as Indians already enjoy adding lucky charms and wearing bits and pieces of mementos passed down to us. In that sense, it’s a very Indian concept!”