“If it was ‘on-trend’ to throw yourself off a cliff, would you do it?”
If you imagine YMC as a semi-hysterical mother that’s her favourite question. It’s not a surprise, then, that their spring/summer look book attempts to be as far removed from trends as possible.
Which is not to say that avoiding trends is easy – the divide between trend and timeless is hard to make stick. Trends become timeless when worn for long enough, and the timeless often drops back into trend. Take an Elizabethan ruff: at its moment, timeless. Now? I’m not sure even Topman would find space for that trend.
But YMC are proficient at drawing a line. Last week’s new Coggles YMC range showed some of the specific items in the collection which looked diverse enough to have broad and non-trend appeal, and this promise has continued into their new look book.
Overall it can be reduced to three main parts: an Ivy League look, a colour-based look and a military look.
It’s refreshing to see American college culture being an influence without the outfit returning to an over simplified stock image. Preppy can be much more innovative than it is often allowed to be – and YMC embrace it in its more fashion forward incarnation.
This means leather sandals, printed shirts and white brogues all feature alongside what we would expect. In every case these stand-out pieces are in amongst a more conservative background, meaning they add detail and difference without being gaudy.
That is not to say, however, that only these pieces deserve attention. YMC’s use of the bold is only so effective because of their use of the subtle. The linen jacket is cut with a high gorge, the desert boots have brogue detailing and pleated trousers are substituted for chinos. This means that basics with alternative detailing act as strong anchors throughout.
In a wider application, these kind of outfits involve creating something preppy with more variation. All that’s needed is adding a unique piece and then matching it with something simple but detailed.
YMC use purple throughout the look book as a prominent accent colour – whole outfits are based around using it. Primarily it is neutralised through a simple use of layering and tone: a dark purple is layered over lighter shades. This method has practical benefits too, as when you remove layers your outfit doesn’t descend into monochrome.
Give them the opportunity, though, and YMC ridicule this approach by going for the large volume of similar tone. When this is utilised, the layering is reduced in complexity so that a clash of layers competing with one another is avoided. By changing round these factors – similar tone and fewer layers, different tone and more layers – the looks always balance. Despite using a narrow focus this part of the look book isn’t overly absorbed – otherwise it would give more headaches than inspiration.
A dominant colour in an outfit can be a way of linking together otherwise very different items. On a smaller scale, colour can link leather and fabric, slim and loose fitting, casual and formal.
This is part of the wisdom behind the basic belt and shoes match: it ensures that these two peripheral items don’t look like lost extras. The key is to make sure you vary tone slightly.
The most notable feature of these looks is the different approach to military inspiration. By taking pieces that have made an impact elsewhere – such as the duffle coat, deck shoe and carrot fit trousers – and by giving them a military reinterpretation, YMC are again doing something different. This means the looks are innovative but also, and perhaps more importantly, the military look is achieved without over using boots and uniform.
They’ve even tried to renovate camo shorts and bring them back into the fashion foreground. Given their reputation over the last few summers it isn’t only impressive that they tried, it’s impressive that they’ve gone a long way towards succeeding.
YMC’s skill is taking a look, a colour or influence and making it new. This look book twists everything slightly from our expectations by relentlessly reinterpreting. That means YMC have created something that, above all, doesn’t do what you expect. They might have not been able to avoid all trends (see their use of prints) but their effort is as close as can be expected.
This look book doesn’t jump off a proverbial cliff, it builds its own interpretation of what a cliff could be and does a forward roll off it.
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