The mood at Paris Fashion Week was all-out anti-establishment, set by New York brand Vaquera, who staged a chaotic ode to turbulent times. Among the theatrical costumes, naughty sailor cosplay and satirical “I love you” studded belts were, most obviously, the ferocious stomps.
The clothes felt like a sardonic ode to political unrest, with US flags printed onto a bullet bra and artfully draped over the chest of one model. But beneath that, it was the models’ stomps that felt so pertinent: angry, stressed and ready to riot. You couldn’t miss ‘em.
This season, it seems, the brash strut is doing the rounds. Chopova Lowena’s tribe – cast by Sarah Small – subtly stomped in their irreverently scribbled T‑shirts and New Romantic ’80s silk shirts, made all the better with ballet flats or derby shoes with hard metal chains placed on top of them. And Sunnei went guerilla style, inviting twins to sit in the audience, with Twin One standing up amongst the crowd, stomping towards a revolving door and (here’s something I made earlier) Twin Two appearing on the other side in the Italian brand’s youthful take on fashion’s altering of identity. With denim mini skirts, BDSM harness trousers and rugby top stripes, Sunnei’s collection sipped from the ’90s-obsessed fountain of youth.
We’ve seen the stomp creeping – or storming – into shows before. Last season, VTMNTS sent an army of buzz cut runway first-timers charging down the runway for its AW22 show. And the attitude of their monster stomps was served with unzipped black trousers, exposed underwear and killer combat boots in a killer collection of military influences.
But before that, it was Leon Dame for Maison Margiela’s SS20 show in 2019, closing it down with a sharp, aggressive stomp. Cooked up by creative director John Galliano and movement director Pat Boguslawski, Dame’s finale became a buzzworthy internet sensation mere hours after the curtains closed. And in a look influenced by military uniforms, Galliano’s intention was to wake us up to international conflicts (though most people just talked about the walk, admittedly).
The youth are dissociated. The youth are pissed off. But rather than acting like a spoilt Veruca Salt, these lot have got something to say about their future – and they’re staring the turbulent times dead in the eye.
Whether it’s the mishandling of the cost of living crisis, uni students unable to find affordable homes, the archaic laws being passed in the States or the recent appointment of Italy’s far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni, the stomp feels like a reaction to global turmoil a subscultural siren call. Like when punks stomped in heavy Dr Martens against the British establishment, or acid housers stomped in 4/4 against the 11-year Thatcher reign, these lot stomping down the runway feels like a message of discontent.
Rage against the machine, man.