The common theme of ‘rebellion’ was apparent across many shows at Paris Fashion Week. Whether this was through up and coming fashion houses like ‘Jacquemus’ setting the standard of what they can get away with, or other designers such as Maria Grazia (creative head of Christian Dior) reflecting on themes of past historic rebellions for inspiration. But Liverpool women have been doing this for years. Except, our fashion week only lasts three days, and it is held at the same venue every year: Aintree racecourse. The rebellion I’m talking about isn’t too much alcohol or the arguments caught on camera, etched into tabloids across the country. It’s the embodiment of resisting the constraints of society and the going against the grain of ‘appropriate’ fashion.
This was especially true for the Grazia led Christian Dior show with ‘C’EST NON NON NON ET NON!’ branded across the front of the merino wool jumper opening the show. A brigade of women stomped down the runway in military fashion on the 50th anniversary of Parisian student protests of 1968. Dior boldly chose to acknowledge the protests made outside their stores at the time and paid homage to the female student rebellion, confessing here that these women were right and they were wrong. The set of the show armoured with photographic evidence of the time along side graffiti reading ‘women’s rights’ and ‘mini skirts forever’. It was clear this was a call to arms.
But our scouse bird standard exists in its own platoon and a need to acknowledge rebellion never left us. I speak for all Liverpool women or ‘scouse birds’ as we call ourselves when I say ‘miniskirts forever’ is certainly a slogan we can get behind. They are as much a symbol of rebellion today as they were 50 years ago and just as much as an issue. Just look at the monotonous nature of ‘Aintree ladies day’ reviews as journalists love to mention skirt lengths and who should, or who should not be wearing one. The beauty is, for years of Ladies day style, no person, journalist or male figure has been able to successfully dictate what a scouse bird can or can’t wear. I was taught by generations of scouse women if a you get a man, and they tell you that you can’t wear something, you tell them ‘NON NON NON ET NON’. Men threatened by confident women don’t deserve them and I completely understand the influx in our city -our girls love the power trip. The understanding of 1968 as an age of rebellion and feminine power is the ethos of every scouse bird. In this case, Every Aintree ladies day is a 1968 of its own.
Up and coming designer Simon Porte Jacquemus (of fashion house ‘Jaquemus’) boldly decided to bring beachwear to a fall/winter collection at Paris Fashion Week. Inspired by his travels to Morocco and the souks (market), Jaquemus didn’t waste any time waiting for summer and rebranded the fall collection as ‘my warm winter’. The collection featured the most extravagant beach hats and braless women gliding down the runway at Petit Palais under Picard’s painting ‘Triumph of the Woman’. The collection certainly is a triumph against the restraint of suitability.
Just like this runway, season or weather doesn’t mean the scouse bird has to compromise her look. We are a species of northern nights out in cocktail dresses without a coat. If you think forecasted rain on our crusade will prevent us looking our best, then you’re wrong. Underestimating a scouse bird’s power to perform is what has led to bitter articles each year from journalists not as bold or brave to be ‘scantily clad’ as they say. They’re rowing the boat instead of rocking it. A look we wouldn’t be caught dead wearing.
The Louis Vuitton menswear show at the Fashion Week featured runway royalty, as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell returned to the catwalk for the last show under menswear director Kim Jones. Noted for the controversial collaboration of Louis Vuitton with skateboard and streetwear brand Supreme, Jones is no stranger to the idea of rebellion. In interview with Sarah Mower, Jones reflected on the importance of catering to the experimental preferences of the millennial generation: ‘if you don’t evolve, you die’ He said. This non-conformist attitude certainly is true in the use of female models in a menswear collection. This act alone is one of rebellion against gender conventions and stereotypes.
What we can pick up from Jones is that femininity doesn’t belong to women, it doesn’t belong to men either. When we understand this concept, ‘La Rebelle’ figure no longer has to be feminized nor do clothes have to be gendered. We can take a leaf out of Liverpool women’s Fashion quarterly as for years they have traded dresses for suits at Ladies day: a big no in the eyes of racecourse dress code, but a stiletto clad step forward in female expression. Just like Kate and Naomi in the Louis Vuitton show, you can wear nothing but a men’s PVC trench coat, military boots and an attitude on your face and serve a concept of female masculinity: and what’s fashion without a fresh concept? It’s a bland £200 dress from Debenhams that doesn’t rock the boat: Though it’s certainly not a contender for the Daily Mail wall of shame, it’s also not a contender for Liverpool’s best dressed.
A scouse bird is nothing if she isn’t memorable. If you tell her she looks ‘nice’, she will retreat upstairs, re-evaluate where she went wrong and continue until she looks gasp worthy. A gasp, of course, could mean anything. But the scouse girl knows it’s better than looking ‘nice’. To her, nice is satisfactory. Nice is safe. Nice is forgettable. So, whether the preference is ‘miniskirts forever’, obnoxious hats or suited and booted, the choice belongs to the scouse bird. The rebel. The only rule being, if you’re not making a statement, you’re not shouting loud enough.
All photos used do not belong to me but to Vogue Runway.