After Effects: Apocalyptic Fashion Is Making a Comeback, and These Collections are Proof - Lookbook

One collection made over $7 million in sales overnight for a nylon jacket.

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At a time where there’s heightened anxiety over the world’s state, fashion brands are unveiling new collections with styles that reflect the harsh climate and political circumstances of the present.

At Rick Owens’ Fall-Winter 2021 show, models were seen sporting predominantly black full-face coverings, heavily-padded garments, boots, and sunglasses on a smoke-filled runway.

The American designer calls the collection Gethsemane, which refers to the garden Jesus prayed in the night before his crucifixion. In a Grazia Magazine report, the luxury label further describes it as “a place of uneasy repose and disquiet before a reckoning.”

Though avante-garde is the style the label has always been known for, Owens says the “post-apocalyptic” collection and the manner it was presented “feels suitable for the moment.” It was set against a moody weather at the Lido di Venezia pier in Venice, which conveniently resembles a runway, and pared down with no audience.

“We’ve all been living a tense period in history waiting for a resolution, be it catastrophic or rational, in a suspense that feels almost biblical in its drama,” he says.

But Owens’ fashion label isn’t the only luxury fashion house releasing such designs.


The same apocalyptic feel can be seen in Matthew M. Williams’ Spring 2022 collection.

With a style that’s both effortless and edgy, the line, as a Vogue report describes it, “projects the badass sensibility of ‘90s adolescence onto the luxury stage.”

Williams collaborated with Seattle-born, Mexico-based airbrush artist Chito to provide graffiti art with cartoonish or emoji-like motifs for the collection’s shirts, dresses, jackets, pants, and even bags. Combined with the train tracks as the setting, the result is a grittier-than-usual Givenchy.


While Guram Gvasalia’s sub-label, VTMNTS, experimented with color for its Spring-Summer 2022 collection, it was noticeably angstier.

In a Vogue report, Gvasalia says it’s his reflection on our digital existence, deepened further because of the pandemic.

“I started to ask myself, ‘What is reality today?’ We live in this 2D world. The question is, ‘When you scroll through Instagram, is it photoshopped or is it real?’” he says. “Here’s another one, ‘Do we consume the internet or does it consume us?’”

All 129 looks from the collection can be straight out of The Matrix: jumbled wires on head-to-toe outfits; prints of computer font and pixelated salamanders; floor-length structured coats; logo-stamped jeans, and rectangular frame sunglasses.

Yeezy x Gap

Kanye West’s label, Yeezy, has also released its harder-edged, more synthetic collection for Gap, beginning with a $200 round padded jacket.

It comes in blue, black, and, most recently, red colorways, and is made out of recycled nylon. The jacket features a cotton poplin construction with a matte rubberized polyurethane coating and a connected collar-lapel design. It does not have a closure and is rather cropped in shape, with only a simple Yeezy Gap logo tag inside.

The jacket, which retails for $200, is also proving to be popular as Gap made $7 million in sales overnight. That’s 35,000 orders in one night for a jacket that will be shipped in six months.


The shift to apocalyptic motifs is also happening at Balenciaga.

Its Fall 2020 show, said to be a commentary on climate apocalypse, featured black looks in a variety of materials and textures through leather, rubber, and synthetic fur.

It also included trousers, massively-oversized outerwear, full-length scuba uniforms, boots, the divisive five-finger sneakers, as well as standout structural pieces, like the spiked rubber jacket famously worn by West. All of these were worn by models who walked down a flooded runway while an LED screen on the ceiling flashed graphics of rain, fire, and thunder.

The same dark approach was also carried through to the brand’s Afterworld video game.

Banner Photo from @GivenchyOfficial on IG

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