Fashion has always been synonymous with contemporary, avant-garde, creative research in styles, and colours.
Yet, the ultimate challenge for every accessory stylist of the new century lies in experimenting with new materials and manufacturing techniques. From this point of view, the final frontier of creativity is certainly plastic.
The last fashion shows in Europe prove that the attention, for the almost infinite creative possibilities, offered by plastic has never been higher.
Have a look at Melissa shoes, a world success coming from Brazil. From ultra-flat colourful sandals to dizzy wedge shoes, everything is in pure glossy plastic. Her recent collaborations with Paco Rabanne, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier (2010) announce that plastic shoes are an absolute “must-have”.
In all the colours of the sun, decorated with impressive gold buckles, exotically printed or pierced to simulate an embroidered pattern, they can be juicy and playful as well as luxurious and elegant. Their real secret, however, is that apart from being chic, Melissa shoes are always comfortable, to make you feel perfect on any occasion: from an informal work lunch to a hype night party.
But plastic also fits perfectly on bags, sunglasses, watches, belts, badges and hair accessories. Made of PVC, perspex or acrylic sheet, they’re all very popular, as Karen Walker has shown, creating fun plastic necklaces and wide perspex-like coloured cuff bracelets.
At DSquared, shoes, bags and rain bonnets were toughened up with studs. Marni too, has followed this trend with the last Plastic 2011 Collection: summer is fizzy thanks to Marni shopping bags, all in hi-tech plastic, printed with optical and spot patterns, pierced or enriched with leather handles, to coordinate with Marninaïve and chic T-shirts.
The jewellery option? Clear bangles, as seen at Burberry, Michael Kors and DSquared. Plastic might not be as refined as leather, but fashion’s innovators have managed to turn it into appealing and sophisticated style items, an example being the jewellery collection conceived and produced by a hundred per cent handmade process by Fish Design, Gaetano Pesce’s Italian design house.
This design house offers an entire world of plastic accessories and unique home décor items, such as the multicolour, chameleon-like, ever-changing Euruption (“European Eruption”), Ri-bbon, and Spaghetti rings and bracelets. With Pesce’s experimental and expressive vocation, his resin rings and bracelets are much closer to sculpted art masterpieces.
Plastic believes in the transformative powers of pop music. And this season’s foray into the psychedelic ‘60s has the same palliative impact. This accessories trend is one of the easiest to copy and master especially if you are a great fan of colourful and cheerful designs.
Plastic might not be as refined as leather or suede, but fashion’s pioneers have managed to turn it into haute couture.
Sanchita Ajjampur is a well-known accessories expert.