We all know that inspiration comes from all corners; whether that’s in fashion, music, or any creative endeavour. However, sometimes more interesting is when various projects, spanning the ages, can align under a different theme. Enter the seven deadly sins: sloth, pride, greed, gluttony, lust, envy and wrath.
Narrowed down to a list of seven in the 6th century, these cardinal sins were first conceptualised by Pope Gregory, with the aim of identifying (and thus, addressing) the ‘immoral’ facets of human behaviour. Whilst the list now reads as little more than a 7-step checklist of emotions that you will probably work through on a night out, they once held the historical burdens of shame – and were to be discouraged at every opportunity.
However – times have changed, and 15 centuries on, the seven deadly sins have become permanent, yet diluted fixtures in society – for good or bad. As is such, it makes sense that they have inspired fashion trends, collections and brands over the years too. Take the abundance of the concepts of heaven and hell in fashion: designers have always looked to historical and biblical reference points to craft new collections and subvert their original meaning to comment on contemporary society.
With this in mind, we’re taking a look at collections and brands which fit into the seven deadly sins, and which take elements of their original intention, as sinful, but actually subvert their meaning to create something fresh, innovative and cohesive.
First up? Sloth. Originally designated as a sin which prescribes ‘laziness’ as a bad thing, in today’s age, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time out to chill. And what better way to do that than in Dingyun Zhang’s puffers? Zhang’s designs are all-encompassing, dramatically padded and quite frankly, would be a dream to laze around in.
This one was harder to pin down – and all the more interesting to consider as once being classed a ‘sin’. Now, the original sentiment translates more to arrogance, with pride materialising as something to be encouraged. So much of ‘pride’, in fashion, is about how you wear the garments, rather than what they are – and pride should be found in every designer’s work. However, one area which most clearly demonstrates this ‘sin’ is in couture – with hundreds of hours of craftsmanship going into each piece, it’s all but guaranteed that couture pieces are embellished with pride. And what better brand to showcase this than Schiaparelli – the brand showing intricate, complex and sculptural gold hardware pieces on the runways of Paris.
Now for a more literal approach – VTMNTS’ AW22 collection. Drawing on themes of wealth, affluence and technology, Guram Gvasalia presented a lookbook which featured opulent jewellery, crushed velvet catsuits, and notably, a VTMNTS-dollar-bill backdrop. Guram described the collection as being primarily inspired by social media and Bitcoin millionaires, which he hopes will “redefine couture for the new generation”.
What do you think of when you hear the word gluttony? Stuffing your face, duh. Luckily, fashion has had an ongoing relationship with food – with brands collaborating with fast food franchises on meals, merch and even entire collections. One of the most popular was Moschino x McDonald’s – which saw each brand’s signature ‘M’ reworked and slogans like ‘Moschino: 12 million served’ banded on apparel.
Perhaps the ‘sin’ with the clearest crossover with fashion, you’d be hard pressed to find a brand that doesn’t appeal to lust in their designs, campaigns or presence in one way or another. Although the choice was endless, one facet of fashion which is lust personified is Tom Ford’s NSFW ads for Gucci. Taking the term ‘sex sells’ and running with it, Ford oversaw provocative ads to the point where raunchiness became synonymous with the Italian fashion house, even appearing in some himself.
(Bottega) Green with envy. Championing its now-signature ‘parakeet green’ colourway, Bottega Veneta were the obvious choice for this sin. Decking out everything from cassette bags to 3D billboards in the vibrant hue, its tie-in with the sin is probably implicated in truth too: Bottega’s success with essentially ‘trademarking’ a single colour will no doubt have other brands scrambling to see if they can replicate the process.
When picturing wrath in relation to fashion, one image came to mind: the closing look from Alexander McQueen’s AW98 show. With the sin defined as ‘extreme anger’, the visual overlap with this look is clear: the model appeared in a stringed red dress, heels and face covering, encased within a ring of flames. It gave Dante’s Inferno, allusions to hell, and McQueen’s meticulous visual representation of wrath in its purest form.
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