Breaking norms and making fashion fun again
By: Mia Orris
Under stress and half-dressed, AVAVAV’s latest show for Paris Fashion Week left models practically running on and off the stage. This “no time to design, no time to explain” concept is such a refreshing change from conventional runway presentations. The inspiration behind these designs was a testament to all the pressure, strict deadlines, and unattainable daily expectations put on the fashion industry. In an industry that rarely strays from its identity of perfection, planning, and attention to detail, AVAVAV’s approach has been consistently daring and dynamic.
The company’s creative director, Beate Karlsson, has gained quite the reputation for her viral and eye-catching productions. In the Spring/Summer 2023 collection, she stirred up the runway by having her models purposely trip on stage. Then again, in the Fall/Winter 2023 collection Karlsson had her set literally fall to pieces. These shows have the tendency to leave a lasting impression and have quickly made Karlsson a trailblazer in her craft.
Although I was familiar with the previous shows, it was the most recent Spring 2024 collection that caught my attention. It started with the backstage scene in shambles, with crew members rushing to pin up post-it notes with the company name. Once it was showtime, the first model was quickly shoved onto the stage. The model promptly took two steps and immediately returned off the runway, embodying the frantic pace of the fashion world. Every second counts and every moment must be captivating.
As each model made their quick appearance on the runway, the audience couldn’t help but be captivated by the chaos: missing shoes and tops, tousled hair, smudged makeup, and literal shapes posing as clothes. Still, even through this mess of a fashion show, a distinct allure drew spectators in.
AVAVAV's outfits pushed the boundaries of innovation, cleverly toying with shape, texture, and societal commentary. Collarbones and sweaters had the phrase “filthy rich” plastered upon them, critiquing the fashion industry's fixation on stature. It added a juxtaposition to the intentionally unfinished look of the models' hair, makeup, and attire, further emphasizing the brand's dedication to breaking free from conventional expectations.
These so-called high-fashion, half-finished looks act as commentary to what high-end brands are currently selling. Golden Goose, Balenciaga, Yeezy: all of these companies are profiting off of new clothes that look like they’ve been taken from the dumpster. In essence, I believe that AVAVAV's runway collection can be seen as a playful and almost satirical take on the high-fashion world's current obsessions. These deliberate messy and incomplete looks seem to ask the audience to reflect on the very nature of luxury and high fashion. Is it designer labels, price tags, expressions, or something deeper? AVAVAV’s show clearly promotes that fashion goes beyond material wealth — real innovation comes from breaking the rules.
Moreover, it becomes clear that opinions about the show's defining characteristics vary widely. While some blogs and comments view it as a bold statement, others struggle on how to exactly categorize it. As for me, I would simply label it as bold. This is truly a reflection of the intense pressures and unrealistic expectations that are placed on those in the fashion industry. The deliberate chaos and half-done designs are a unique statement against pursuing perfection.
Each model's brief appearance on the runway felt like a glimpse into their real life, a place where time is limited and creativity must be expected on command. This is a refreshing and daring take on an industry that can sometimes take itself too seriously. AVAVAV is making fashion fun again, making sure viewers are left with an impression. They invite us to embrace creativity and imperfection and show the world that sometimes the most captivating moments are born from spontaneity.
Mia Orris is a part of the Online Team for Rowdy Magazine. To get her through the day, she pretends that campus is her personal runway.