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The rewoke flapper: womenswear’s important trend for Fall

By Jackie Mallon

Aug 31, 2018

The Fall 2018 runway reports have focused heavily on the startling proportions of the 80s revival: the oversize shoulders, taffeta rosettes in shades of cerise, the brash animal prints. But there are other options for dressing the modern warrior woman set on smashing apart patriarchal hypocrisies. There’s the roomy neon-trimmed citywear recalling the uniforms of the emergency services on a rescue mission. Or the frontierswoman in patchworked blanket shapes and homespun prairie dresses worn with cowboy boots. The womenswear offerings are saturated with the injustices unearthed by the MeToo movement, the attacks on Planned Parenthood, and a political agenda which many see as seeking to destroy women’s rights. But sliding into our peripheral vision as we approach dressing for fall, an example of stealth strength, enduring and inevitable, a trend without sharp corners or aggressive volume, but with a profoundly feminist core: we call her the rewoke flapper.

A century ago, suffragettes were galvanizing, forming groups and movements, energized to disrupt the status quo, eventually gaining the vote in the U.S. in 1920. At the same time restrictive foundation garments were being tossed aside––think of Loewe’s striped, fur-trimmed T-shirt dress for fall with bra attached casually on the outside, the leather strap of a cross-body bag squashing one of the cups, echoing the “Votes for Women” banners worn by our early sisters-in-arms. Their loosened-up silhouettes are echoed in the authoritative line of Prada’s sci-fi shifts which are embellished with shards as opposed to bugle beads in radioactive pinks and limes, worn with rubber boots––and id badges, because we’re all members of this club.

Giorgio Armani’s classic slinky soft tailoring ebbs and flows with the motion of the body, forward-moving, simmering with shade as opposed to scorching the earth; welcoming all genders, not pitting one against the other. The accusation of “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” is replaced with “We’re all in this together.” Dialogue can occur in the intimacy of candlelight as well as in the publicity glare of Capitol Hill, and Armani’s twinkling tuxedo embodies that.

Importance of the flapper dress

The new billionaire space-race led by Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos is celebrated in the return of Paco Rabanne. The jingly-disced army whose footsteps go unheard above the swishing sound of the dresses signals a new harmony. Sequins and spaghetti straps were also seen at Kenzo, candy-colored velvet at Erdem, fringe encircled the body at Y Project, and Gucci’s bouclé patch-pocketed jackets culminated in a burst of beading that danced around the hips.

For the more wallet-friendly option, see Zara’s dropped waist style striped with metallic thread. Or Moon Dreamer’s entirely sequined dress available at Top Shop with all-seeing eye motif; or forget about symbol-laden embellishment entirely and and opt for the mid-calf, bias hemmed v-neck dress in spicy mustard at & Other Stories.

The rewoke flapper offers a compelling argument for Fall.

Runway photos from Loewe, Erdem, Prada, Paco Rabanne, Giorgio Armani from CatwalkPictures; zara.com; topshop.com

Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.