Intergalactic Escapism Takes Fashion


Veronica Liow

An example of intergalactic fashion fros Fyodar Golan’s show at Spring/Summer 2018 in London Fashion Week.

Shannon Hu, Contributing Writer

This day and age, space travel is on everyone’s minds. With Elon Musk’s SpaceX now launching rockets strapped with Tesla cars into space, it seems we’ve opened up a new world of possibilities — or perhaps, a whole galaxy of them.

This interest isn’t only reflected in the 15 million views garnered by the four-hour video “Live Footage of Starman” on YouTube, or the box office success of movies like “Passengers”, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the new “Star Wars” films that explore space travel and life beyond Earth — the fashion industry has picked up on it as well. What on earth does this look like?

The intergalactic-outer-space-futuristic trend takes to the runways, fast fashion displays and our #OOTD looks in the form of holographic and iridescent textiles, NASA patches and pins, spacesuit-inspired cuts and fits and astrological prints. Starting off as more a casual, tumblr-DIY way of accessorizing shirts, jackets, caps and more, the trend has interestingly been showing up on the runway, particularly during the recent Fall/Winter New York and Paris Fashion Weeks. High-end labels like Balmain, Chanel and Maison Margiela have all jumped on the intergalactic bandwagon and embraced the space-age theme with various perspectives. These looks, however, are much less casual and tumblr-DIY in style — reinterpreting the trend’s more humble origins. They reference the glamor and extravagance of women’s fashion in the 1930s but also the modern technological developments that are painting a more cyber-operated image of our future.

Balmain’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection by designer Olivier Rousteing displays this glamorous escapist spirit with a parade of eye-catching, iridescent jackets and dresses varying in glitter, shine and sheen. What’s interesting is the very high street, fast fashion look of the fabrics, which in more doubtful moments seemed a better suit for a shower curtain, quilt or one of those emergency thermal blankets. Or, perhaps the adaption of these cheaper-looking fabrics into high-quality pieces is a statement of making fashion more accessible and inclusive. For Chanel’s ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2017 collection, on the other hand, Karl Lagerfeld held an exorbitant show in Paris, complete with a mock rocket launch, models in diamond-embellished boots and attention to detail, like the slicked-up hair and unconventional makeup.

With these big name labels lending their reputations to the intergalactic trend, it will be interesting to see whether streetwear and tumblr-DIY fashionistas will adapt or lead the trend in another direction. Ariana Ushiki, a first-year student at the Parsons School of Design, notes that the intergalactic style is uniquely tied to an element of gaudiness — an ostentatious attitude that high fashion does not seem to shirk away from.

 “The trend is very childish, but in the best way,” Ushiki said. “The holographic textile is this plastic, very obviously man-made material, but the designers don’t seem to want to hide that fact. It’s also interesting and raises the question of where trends actually begin. Usually trends start on the runway and then brands will be inspired, but this it almost seems the opposite. Fast fashion stores came out with it first.”

Tandon first-year Jerry Jung, self-proclaimed picky shopper and frequentor of trend-following stores, enjoys some elements of space-themed styles, but when it comes to the holographic look — he’s not the biggest fan.

“I’ve seen the NASA logo on bomber [jackets] and I like those, it’s unique without being too loud,” Jung said.  “As for the rainbow-chrome-foil trend I haven’t seen very much, but I’m not the biggest fan. I wouldn’t wear it in public because it’s a bit too loud for me. I might wear it to an event or something where you’re supposed to dress like that, but as everyday wear it’s a bit too much for me.”

Perhaps the eye-catching, extraterrestrial-like material that is part of this trend is fascinating on a upscale runway but simply tacky in real life.

While the romanticization of space and space travel has always been present within film and television — we’re staying tuned to see if the space trend’s forays in the world of fashion will rocket above the stars, or stay grounded and fall flat.


Email Shannon Hu at [email protected].