Mysterious girl: Fashion Week’s enigmatic women

Kristian Brennan

Something kind of ominous yet wonderful happened at last month’s Fashion Week. Every now and then, a mysterious figure would emerge onto the runway, her face, carefully hidden behind enlarged, decorative accessories. Although it was apparent that each collection was visibly different, each of these hidden girls had one specific thing in common: they carried an air of mystery.

Mystique is somewhat unusual in the industry. International fashion shows happily dwell on and perpetuate the obvious in regards to the female physique. Sex sells, or so the adage goes, and the more skin visible, the better – think Tom Ford for Gucci or Stella McCartney for Chloe.

So naturally the unspeakable sense of mystery around the women on the catwalk raised questions. Who were these women? Why were they so enigmatic? Why hide their faces? And what were the designers representing by adding these ‘unidentifiable’ women to their newest collections?

We were first introduced to the ‘mystery woman’ in London at the A.W.A.K.E show. Natalia Alaverdian, the creative director, implemented the trend. Models wore eccentric designs, all adorned by quirky, ‘hand-shaped’ belts and the tallest of hats that completely covered the models’ eyes. The models were certainly not there to be recognised.

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The trend continued in Milan. Gucci dressed its models in eclectic designs, topped off with gigantic, glittered eyewear, oversized hats and leather chokers. All these embellishments made it near-impossible to see the models’ faces.

Gucci is famed for its models’ enigmatic presence on the runway and its vintage yet playful flair that exudes pure sartorial poetry. Just think back to Alessandro Michele’s last Ready-to-Wear show for Gucci. One model was completely covered in a glitter bodysuit. Even though she was unrecognisable, she was certainly the girl on everyone’s perfectly plumped lips.

Versace inserted obvious opulence into their ‘mysterious woman’ at Milan Fashion Week. The girls all dressed in vintage pieces from the Versace archives, some garnished with black eyewear and patterned scarfs, wrapped around the their heads and necks – showing just a smidgen of their faces.

Kendall Jenner, the Hadid sisters, and mother and daughter duo, Cindy and Kaia, were all present at the Versace show. But the spotlight was firmly on the strange presence.

The mystery continued with dramatic amplification at Maison Margiela in Paris. A collection catered for the ‘woman on the go’, models were sent down the runway in deconstructed raincoats, carrying a bulk of bags, their face hidden by dramatic eyewear, an eye-mask worn as a head-piece, dishevelled hair and a travellers pillow, placed around her neck, used as a quirky alternative to a chunky necklace. The mystery of the hidden woman continued, but this time, where was she going?

It may not be spring for us just yet, but the fashion compass has been firmly set and has given us a glimpse into what the fashion woman should be wearing next year. Regardless of whatever subdued message the designers are evoking with their ominous looks, one thing is for certain: next year’s fashion trends look to be a strange one.

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About Kristian Brennan

Kristian Brennan is a writer based in Manchester.