The strength of their hands: Reflection on FW22

March 8, 2022

The hand filled with hours 

credit: Kevin Germanier by Laurence Benaim

“The hand filled with hours.” This is the title of a poem by Paul Celan, a German poet and translator born on November 23, 1920 in Chernisti (Czernowitz), Ukraine. Designers were delving deep into their own history to find answers to pass on. The needles hurt. The children have small wounds on their hands, and their hearts bleed. In this intensely tactile season, we no longer feel the fabric with our eyes. The light turns into matter, the colour generates a sensation of warmth, fusion, comfort. The handcrafted fabric merges with the hand. It rejects the frivolous hours of consumerist abundance. It is heavier, more textured, more refined. It crosses day and night, between shadows and flashes. The body, formerly buried under its hoodies, is born again, discovered, cut out, redrawn – as though seeking to regain sovereignty and identity. As if the garment, which dresses as it uncovers, was staging another force: that of the possible encounter, the embrace, all these forbidden embraces, all these potential convergences.  A fusion beyond gender, but fully felt in the collections of Fall Winter 22-23, where the tweeds, heavy crepes, and woolly architecture, testify to a re-conquest of the senses on the digital-only, and the rhetoric of metaverse prophets. We keep on greeting each other by stretching our stumps. We get closer to defy our fears which are not virtual.  To no longer pledge anything. To join our forces not to remain there, arms crossed. In the fog, fashion proceeds, despite everything.

There is probably a parallel to be drawn between the cover of the latest Houellebecq novel (“Anéantir,” or Annihilation in English, Flammarion) and the shattered smartphone sent as an invitation by Balenciaga designer, Demna. The point of view turns into a gesture; agility is no longer an exclusive catchword served up by marketing consultants.  Manual dexterity is again weighing on creation; in fashion, it weaves muslin, assembles pearls, recycles industrial waste by hand. And between patchworks, clean edges and sequins assembled like scales, the most neglected sense of these last two years takes over.

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