Whenever the state of the Earth seems discouraging, we look to outer space. The Space Race of the ‘50s and ‘60s took place against a backdrop of the Vietnam War, civil rights protests and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now, NASA’s journey to Mars and the discovery of new solar systems are welcome respite from a world in which the US president endorses neo-Nazis, Europe deals with a spate of terror attacks and the UK faces up to the implications of Brexit.
Designers often draw inspiration from the cultural climate, and paid tribute to intergalactic goings-on via the catwalks of AW17. From Annakiki’s oversized silver leather biker jackets and matching knee-high boots, to Liselore Frowijn’s planet-printed padded coats, this season's shows had a celestial theme. Moschino looked to the ‘60s space movie Barbarella, while Christopher Kane’s models were alien-like in their slinky metallic dresses. Mugler’s collection reminded us of Blade Runner, all silver dresses with power shoulders and black leather trench coats.
Blade Runner – which returns this October with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling – isn’t the only sci-fi reboot of the last few years. Nearly half a century after 2001: A Space Odyssey, we're enjoying a boom of fictional futurism. Both the Star Wars and Alien franchises have continued, while The Martian, Ex Machina, Gravity and Arrival have all proved popular otherworldly experiences. The Barbican’s current exhibition Into The Unknown shows just how curious we are right now about worlds beyond our own.
Autumnal and winter dressing usually leads us to richer fabrics and shinier materials but this season, rather than the glitz and glamour of sequins and sparkles, focus on the high shine of patent and perspex, and the reflection of space-age silver. Wear geometric jewellery and don unearthly, oversized and structured pieces – think David Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth, or Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element. Buckle up, we’re going to outer space.