Trend observations with a sociological eye from afar...
by Darryl S. Warren in Vancouver
It has been said before in this blog that we fully recognize how hard it is to be in the fashion industry. It requires a lot of work to balance creativity with business acumen. Our sentiments still hold true today, especially as expectations add pressure for design teams and houses to come use with collections that can hold interest while attract investment...emotional and financial.
We understand how it is ultimately a business, and the climate is more challenging than ever, especially now that the UK has made decisions that impact the industry following the vote leave the EU charmingly tagged as Brexit. These recent events compound ongoing concerns that have been recognized but downplayed. But anyone who has followed this blog knows that the complex global economic picture is not as rosy in the eyes of the general public, largely thanks to the years of alarm we have conditioned ourselves into.
We're flattered that the much-respected and informative industry online magazine Business of Fashion recognizes this climate and its impact on the industry as they discussed this in a recent posting; it's a message we know has been fuel for collections for some time, even if we also acknowledge the more positive threads within the collective psyche. But it's also clear that we are more fragile than we choose to let on, and we don't always hide it well, especially in the age of information. And now that we have yet another concern, we bring it to the fore to discuss how to weather the impending storm.
Many 2017 Resort collections reflect a rather safe approach that cannot be faulted. The public as a whole is still nervous about taking too many risks, and seeks familiarity while knowing we are in a changing world. Most collections are wholly retro-influenced with modern touches but the cuts, shapes and even volumes are still familiar, evoking good times where the world was less complicated. Some collections are even safer, stirring into clean simple classics much the way many lines did in the 90s to ensure profitability when tightened purse strings meant the end for some houses. But we also live in a connect world where globalization and technology have allowed designers access to markets in ways never-before possible, increasing chances of survival if not fostering growth.
But even industry media outlets know what is all to true: this safety is becoming almost formulaic and while sales are still there, it seems like the sure bets are taking some of the passion that fashion normally brings to our lives. The blending of elements of the past with materials of the present are producing some beautiful clothes, many that are wearable and that shouldn't be bad...and it isn't. But it shows a cultural stagnation and that is bad if we are to evolve.
Fortunately, not all designers have held back. Some designers continue to push the boundaries in small ways, toeing the border of familiarity while edging "the new", smartly pulling us along safely while positively reinforcing us to go forward while still embracing enough familiarity to guarantee sales. A few others, though, are trying some new steps, taking chances and banking on the desire we all have for something different and uncharted. So far, collections from Acne Studios, A.W.A.K.E., Dion Lee, Issey Miyake, Ji Oh, Louis Vuitton, Maticevski, Mother of Pearl and Ports 1961 are showing signs of experimentation in cut, form and material play as they attempt to take us into new places and it will be interesting to see how these collections influence upcoming ones next season.
Of course, the 2017 Resort collections aren't done yet, so anything else could come up to upend the game. But...really...what's wrong with that?
Fashion is busy these days, with the 2017 Resort collections continuing while the men's collections are also competing for attention. This blog recognizes that menswear is showing more range and creativity than in past years, similar to during the 80s when boundaries were tested the first time around. But ultimately, innovation lies where the most allowance is, and as much as menswear pushes past its limitations, the real play with form, cut and silhouette is found where the most range is offered. Until change really takes hold, women's wear offers the most latitude to experiment, and still leads when looking at trend creation.
Lately, the fixation of retro has become almost a perennial mainstay. The connections between past and present as it plays with familiarity are ever-present references the public can relate to. But it's not just the draw to the familiar that is driving this creative direction.
The rise of vintage clothing purchases these days can be seen as thrift, but this is not exclusive as motivation. Vintage clothing offers something that our trend-fixated world cannot: the offer of something special and unique that cannot be easily coveted by others. The rise of DIY supported the quest for individuality; vintage satiates this desire without taxing the wearer to work in having it...or by breaking the budget to acquire often-costly bespoke items. And when fashion supports creative expression while blending innovation with retro, such as in the latter portion of the last century, vintage gains popularity. That we have such hybridization aided by freeform styling and heavy retro influence in fashion further invites incorporating past fashion finds into the wardrobe. These things become special, not just in that they are one-of-a-kind, but that they have a story, a history. They carry a piece of the past and in doing so, bring greater meaning to a world where technology and speed compete.
During a recent review of the 2017 Resort collections, M. Patmos was explaining to WWD her source for inspiration on the "modern-day heirloom". She wanted to create items that had the specialness that comes with something personal for the past, albeit with modern tweaks so they can fit with today's sensibilities, referencing the kind of quirky and unique things one would find in one's grandmother's closet. Such specialness is felt in items that have the craft edge, much in the way the mid 90s embraced this during there art-and-crafts phase as people grew tired of the sameness surrounding the return to minimalism and the subsequent initial incarnation of what we now call normcore. Back then we wanted something unique and of the hand versus something mass-produced from an efficient factory.
From time to time, we tend to do that, to swing between embrace of the new versus appreciation of the old, such as when Maison Margiela embraced and reworked heirloom materials in the inception of 2012 Fall/Winter, 2013 Fall/Winter or 2014 Spring/Summer couture shows. Now, we have this return of appreciation of handcraft alongside the upswing of technical execution and clean modernity all at once in this season, and while it's not as prevalent, designers such as Antonio Marras, Cinq a Sept, Delpozo, Gucci, Missoni, Moschino, M. Patmos, See by Chloe and Ulla Johnson have embraced the spirit of this aspect of the 70s/ 90s, bringing the specialness and quality of craft to the fore while approaching it with current modernity that we expect as membership of the new millennium.
This approach should not be exactly seen as revisiting familiar territory; each incarnation of creative expression carries the awareness that comes with the level of sophistication that we are at merged with sensibilities our technical prowess affords. They show new appreciation that, as time passes, will become appreciated as hallmarks of personal expression evolved as we have become, honouring the past and making a distinction of our new present. And this will add to the complex equation that will shape our century's creative path...one stitch at a time.
The 2017 Resort collections are in full force. For those who are paying attention, the most obvious observation is the choices that seem to be of two camps. One is the minimal modern architectural clean approach expressed in simple pieces with minimal embellishment. The other is the naturalistic and detailed counterpart, where drape, texture, colour join with various twists pulls accented by hardware and embroidery and the like.
This seems apt for the world we live in. We have extremes that occupy opposites with a range we refer to in clarifying and quantifying what we have before us. We want our world to be easy when we know it’s anything but. Having scales to fit the aspects of our lives in makes it easier to quantify. It’s a survival mechanism by default that we choose.
We do so to understand our heritage (what is your genealogy history?), our class and place within society (what do you do?), our roles within relationships (who wears the pants in your family?). It’s not the best habit; it’s what we do to make sense of your surroundings so we know where we fit and how to respond to interact with it.
Fashion reflects this in the extremes. Some of the collections (Acne, ADEAM, Akris, A.L.C., Area, ATM Anthony Thomas Melillio, Boss, Calvin Klein, Dion Lee, Helmut Lang, Isa Arfen, Joseph, Maiyet, Marc Jacobs, Mugler, Narciso Rodriguez, Roksanda, Organic by John Patrick, Pamella Roland, Piazza Sempione and Tibi) are along minimal lines while others are maximal (3.1 Philip Lim, Adam Lippes, Anna Sui, Antonio Marras, Delpozo, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy, Gucci, House of Holland, Milly, Missoni, Moschino, MSGM, Peter Pilotto, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Rebecca Minkoff, Red Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, See by Chloe and Tadashi Shoji). Most, especially those not listed here have both components to varying degrees or components combined in complement to each other, just as we do when it comes to various traits such as sexuality, gender expression, and stereotypical gender-specific behaviourists that we are now trying to undo in the quest to live a world where equality is more than just a marketing gimmick.
As we attempt to make sense of the world around us, we become more aware of the complexity that we have and are. This combination of extremes that currently occupy the 2017 Resort collections merely reflect what we observe. In time, as we rewrite the rules, our fashion will follow suit. How we reflect that will depend on what we redefine as parameters. For now, the traditional “hard vs. soft” will have to suffice until we evolve to a new definition…one that will aptly reflect our 21st century that we are coming into.
As the 2017 Resort collections stream in, variety demonstrates the range of tastes fashion aims to cater to. Some of the choices are cleaner while others are rich in detail.
Our world is rife with overload. We have more choices and inspirations for variety than what was available in any previous generation. The full access to what the world has to offer combined with our shift in attention spans leads us towards supersaturation. The noise of everything can be met on either end of the spectrum now. For some, it is tuning it out for focusing on singularity of choice. For others, it is there welcome of everything at once.
Plenty is the antidote of material insecurity; give more than what is needed when faced with threatening times and we are insulated from the woes of the world. The woes don’t disappear, of course. But hyper abundance within our grasp fills us.
Hence, collections from Acne Studios, Christian Dior, Christopher Kane, Erdem, Etro, Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, M Missoni, No. 21, Oscar de la Renta, Red Valentino, Roberto Cavalli Tory Burch and Ulla Johnson reflect this by through excess of detail and hyper print execution, much the same way that Lacroix had done in the 80s and in what we had in the late 60s during tumultuous periods where knowledge beyond expectations filled our minds.
There were other collections that did not go quite in this direction, and some of these reflect other aspects of our mindsets that this blog will faithfully reflect on over time, as we all do when faced with mass information ourselves.
More of the 2017 Resort collections are coming through, offering windows into the range of choices we have come to expect in fashion collections. Within these, individual creative efforts also begin to convey the shared vocabulary that defines this season.
To be sure, there is variety regarding the choice of simplicity versus complexity. Many collections so far lean towards the print embrace that disrupted the cleaner controlled executions of past seasons, owing in part to the well-timed retro revisit by Gucci that found a new audience fascinated by the kind of taste-challenging print overload the 70s jumped on before, albeit not as aggressive, such as what was seen by Etro, Fendi or Louis Vuitton. On the other hand most collections also contained a balance of solids and clean pieces, and some collections were, on the whole, very clean and minimal, such as those by Escada, Jenni Kayne and Jil Sander. What they all shared was the unmistakeable hallmark of our current century: the intricate execution of precision.
As more and more collections are revealed, the exactitude of the cut demonstrates more than our appreciation of technical prowess. It reveals our new minimal expectation that can only come from the standards we consider the new norm. Technology is becoming more integrated into all aspects of our lives to the extent that there are few things that are not touched by our technical hand. If it not in the tools and we use in our daily lives to work and play, it is in the foundations that shape the things that are not already wired and connected. And as we tap into the exponential power these technically enhanced tools provide, we become accustomed to new levels of perfection. Details that would have been the domain of exclusivity are now democratically accessible. And so, the sophistication is amped up.
If there is simplicity, it is deceptively so; the technical aspect may seem absent but it finds its way in the perfection of a print or evolution of a classic textile woven with intricate nuance of technical sophistication a technician would be able to detail with glee.
This is our world now. An expert eye can decode what we now expect as the standard. This precision is as focused as the formats that support our media. In this precision we find the clarity of vision...the specificity of expression...that is our new standard. Spoiled for choice and fortunate in what is democratically accessible, our computer-assisted lives are finding us becoming accustomed to a new norm. And in a world where chaos and uncertainty are weekly news feed fodder, this certainty expressed in the material becomes a desired antidote of balance, our comfort…our destination resort.
As the 2017 Resort collections slowly start to show, the initial observations are solidifying, and the title of this week's blog sums things up clearly.
Three collections have come forth: Bottega Veneta, Oscar de la Renta and Sonia by Sonia Rykiel. These are established houses with an understanding of the bottom line and on the power of classic dressing regarding relevance and longevity. The deceptive simplicity and straightforwardness of the collections reflect the underlying mindsets that we carry.
One of the primary hallmarks of the 90s was the utilitarian aspect that saw houses survive the crash that set the decade up for years of austerity and a reigning in of explosive creativity from the decade before it. For all the excitement in breaking away to explore new forms and techniques, the 80s forced too many to keep up with a pace of change that could not be sustained by its growing audience. Leaning on more innocent and joyful times (joyful at least from the vintage entertainment that the 90s generation and its designers grew up on) coupled with the absence of vintage styles that could compete with the marketplace allowed the resurgence of the 70s' no-nonsense geometric cuts and embrace of the classics in odd colours and prints to proliferate. These mixed with the embrace of sportswear as daywear that the youth carried forth thanks to hip-hop cultures' rise. All of this plus the safety of the first incarnation of what we now call normcore set the stage for the foundation of the 90s and its differentiation from the prior decade...and the start of the retro fashion overload we now see as mainstream.
The bottom liner of these design directions linked the wearer to feelings of familiarity, comfort and safety, mirrored in the early 2000s after the horrors of 9/11. Now, we face similar fears of terrorism, tech bubbles, real estate woes and ugly politics with global environmental concerns as the norm. Not everything is doom and gloom...although the upcoming Olympics with the venue issues and the recent Russian doping scandal, this may not be the gleeful summer we hoped for. But it is an energetic one; through all collections we have the hard, clean cuts and structure in textiles to protect us, the familiarity of vintage cuts form times we now have romanced thanks to our distance form them, and the colours are off and bright. The unusual nature of the colours show us willing to go off the beaten path and the brightness shows energy. Sonia by Soni Rykiel holds to the athleisure ease while Oscar de la Renta maintains the ladylike poise via 40s and 50s cuts thrown in the 90s mix, giving clean sophistication and calm association. The defined contrast trim at Bottega Veneta underscores our boundaries. All houses keep it clean, restraining our form while allowing our "colour".
In reflection, all lines for this season so far show a fun mood while keeping things sensible. The use of cliched retro forms to convey expectations falls within our desire to be safe as we continue on. The technical aspects that we cannot escape, our 21st century innovations, is subtle in the textile and construction. These are kept under radar but not absent. Time will let us know what else will come out to shape the 2017 Resort picture, and for now we know it won't be anything too reckless. At least, that is the picture so far.
The 2017 Resort collections are at a trickle, but that will change soon as more designers release their collections. For now, we work with the second to come out at this time, from Diesel Black Gold. The contrast, to say the least, demonstrates the range of points of view that fashion puts forth...much the same way we do.
The focus reflects on the economic realities of collections coming out into the marketplace. While the season is labelled to reflect a lifestyle, the timing of its appearance in the retail market is such that its composition matters, especially where utilitarian relevance counts. The embrace of black reflects the publics' desire for change that remains strong through the past seasons. The defensiveness continues with structured materials. In this case, the masculine leather embraces hardware and workwear accents such as grommeted straps to support the garments. It's tough as we want to be to face the world we need to navigate.
But notice that these are layers on top of contrast, like a tough facade masking something more delicate and pure. The pale blues and whites are protected underneath, not hidden completely, revealing our masks with integrity while acknowledging this is not who we are underneath.
The deconstruction that reflects the future-forward embrace of the 90s (80s if you count Jean-Paul Gaultier's foundation of creation) continues as we play with new forms and combinations to find inspiration for future directions that will become our 21st century aesthetic. Here, it is clean, orderly and precise. It reflects the professionalism our technology provides that is now the new norm. And the lack of period-specific references outside of the 90s also shows the release of the retro-choked past that other collections still refer to in connecting with the audience. This collection seems to move us forward with more recent familiarity in its quest to be future-minded.
This, in contrast to what Chanel revealed last week, opens the door to hints of what the spectrum of fashion will be. It also leaves much room for what fills in between such different collections that speak with the common language of technical mastery over materials and automated precision in assembly. It is as if the future of fashion has become something bigger than us; a megadata-driven calculation produced by supertools with sophistication , meeting our desires for real-time appeal. Fashion just got more interesting, and the coming weeks will have more to think about.
The 2017 Resort collections are now upon us. In the coming weeks, designers will showcase collections that give hints of the Spring Summer season while testing the waters to see which styles resonate with the public, much in the way that Pre-fall does for Fall Winter season.
For now, it is Chanel that leads the charge this week, being the only major label to release a collection so far. Here, they have become fashion's emissary to Cuba, a place cut off form the USA for over forty years. Their arrival was well-timed with the first cruise ship to arrive, both on the same day. The wave of modern capitalism presses forth with jubilant spirit onto a new frontier, and the collection matches this joyous freedom with careful measure.
As collections aim to appeal to broader markets and tastes, variety in elements and silhouettes have become more the norm, reflecting our integrated and connected world. The idea of trends still exists, but it has grown more sophisticated as we do thanks to the awareness now afforded more democratically by the technology we have at our disposal. A label such as Chanel is a good example in this case as it produces large scale collections covering its global reach and, in turn, offers this variety that reflects the diversity that must work with the congruence of relevance that fashion requires.
The fashion world is always excited when a fresh influence comes about, as embracing this satisfies the fickleness of its audience that looks for value in consistency balanced by satiating attention spans. The official change in political stance regarding Cuba/USA relations is significant and couples well with ongoing Latin focus that will grow as we approach the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (among a few other relevant aspects to be discussed in a future article). Fashion cannot ignore an event that will be on the minds of the general public and so it becomes more prominent as an influence...a fact not lost on Chanel.
This collection illustrates many aspects well-designed for the market. Regarding the practical aspects, we find ease and casualness that our current mindset is embracing that is even more prominently desired when selecting vacation clothing. Note the inclusion of the humble T-shirt, the most democratic symbol of class inclusiveness as well as the embrace of the Panama hot feeding further youthful affinity for vintage millinery. The classic aspects that swing between 70s, 80s and 90s also feed our basic expectations of what we would embrace as current investment-wear, while our association with more formality and romance in evening dress merges apt period references of the 30s and 50s with modern nods such as deconstructivisms such as loose threads to tie in with broader trends that have stayed with us as we shift toward a developing early 21st century aesthetic that teeters between apocalyptic pessimism and future-forward manufacturing technique. The variety of prints in geometric arrangement support movement and energy while further acknowledging history connected to influence. Colours are vibrant and energetically natural. We look forward to the future without formality but not releasing the embrace of inherent blends of gender appropriation as the new norm.
It remains to be seen how much of this vocabulary will be similar to other collections. Some perspectives will be more zone-specific, while others may introduce other points of view to further uncover where we are looking and thinking. Those will come soon and this blog will be here for you to read and talk about it.
Before becoming inundated with the deluge of imagery and creativity that the 2017 Resort collections bring in the coming days, we have a wee bit of time to examine some of the wonders within our world and how they can translate into future inspirations that we all might wear.
It's human nature to think forward as much as we do the past. In fact, this oscillation between both mindsets was observed as an issue bringing us stress and spurred a mindfulness movement not too long ago. but no matter how present we may aim to be, the future is on our minds. It's present in how we shape our policies and our politics, from immigration to environmentalism and beyond. And through all of this, our technology, which is amazing us as never before (or, rather, ever before), coupled with our cosmetic attention on time and the importance we place on nomenclature, has spurred us to think of what may be. The Manus vs. Machina exhibit that will be opening this week at New York's Metropolitan Museum shows how important our tech has come into our culture via our most intimate of cultural attachments: our clothing and how integral this technical revolution has become in our lives. but it is not just what we are producing, but the innovations that keep coming that show how delicate our predictions can be.
For the longest time we have anticipated the blend of technical with our clothing. While Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen were early entries in exploring involving tech in their designs, other designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, Opening Ceremony, Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren jumped on the wearables bandwagon to push it closer to mainstream. Meanwhile, others such as Hedokko, Cute Circuit and Sensoree continue to explore various limits of tech in fashion. Each adds to the stepping stone to what fashion could be as it merges with tech in the march towards the larger concept known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Here, our world will be connected in ways we are just beginning to see.
For fashion, part of the problem is the all-important deal breaker: the utilitarian aspect. All these technical ideas hinge on connectivity to power to run them, and for loftier design aspects such as morphing, shape shifting and lighting all hinge on connecting to power sources. Anyone can tell you that batteries are not exactly fashion-friendly; the heaviness and bulkiness has hindered further incorporation as some of the more complex functions that are imagined rely on power sources still too cumbersome for making them consumer-friendly. But that may no longer be a problem in the near future.
The reason for such optimism hinges on innovations in power and energy; in this case it is on new tech-workarounds to circumvent conventional means. For a while there has been experimental approaches with ambient battery-free sensors. These draw power from whatever is near that can offer it, such as television waves and cell towers. But they react slowly and can't be remotely controlled. However, a recent innovation from research at the University of Washington's Sensor Lab has created the Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (aka WISP) and this is big. It can be remotely activated. That is, you can use an app to control it. And it doesn't need batteries, just waves from an RFID reader (that's the tech used in retail to catch shoplifters); these waves get turned into power so no batteries needed here. They also are stronger that the ambient types currently being worked on.
The problem right now? They are too weak to do anything big like power your tablet or phone. But what it can do now is something fashion can jump on: it can power little things, and in fashion that is very big. Fashion is rife with details, and tech's manipulation of these knows no limits. Imagine colour-changing paillettes or fibres, or tweed that changes texture, like mini waves of wheat in the wind. Our tech has long been getting smaller and thinner, and there are already ways to imbed this into fibres so the workings are unnoticeable. With WISP, these features can exist without compromising weight of the garment, thus making these still wearable.
Will fashion embrace this? In time, yes, that is inevitable. But for right now that is hard to say. Fashion borders between the experimental and the cautious, as seen by the entry into 3D printing...although Iris Van Herpen has shown fashion what is possible and has fuelled the imaginations of others to look at this tech differently. Perhaps the Met exhibit will awaken the senses of designers as we head closer to the evolution of 21st century design and, coupled with innovation in tech, will usher the active and exciting possibilities that our imaginations seek...if economics doesn't prove an even bigger hurdle.
This blog draws connections between the world at large and the fashion industry. In particular, it often speaks of the way the components of the industry observe and are influenced by events and icons spanning the past, present and future and translating them into expressions represented by materials and composition into garments that seem innocuous when landing in the retail chain. Some are connected to the harder aspects such as politics and economics. Others deal with the arts as one creative expression fuels inspiration for others.
The symbiotic connection between music and fashion was touched upon multiple times here as well, most recently during the industry's reaction to the passing of David Bowie not too long ago. Some creatives strike a chord with designers much the way they stir the hearts of the greater public, especially when they reciprocate in kind in connecting with the very industry it inspires. These two industries go hand-in-hand; fashion looks to musics in contributing a soundtrack to accompany the mood it explores as it creates and subsequently communicates its vision to the public. Music relies on fashion to breathe visual life in communicating its personality as it projects its voice or message; fashion adds the seasoning to building the connection or adding power to delivering its message. So, when a music icon passes, fashion reflects its power not only within its own industry but what that icon has on the public and its culture as well.
It's no joy to bring up the passing of yet another great entertainer, in this case the amazing talent known as Prince, when speaking of the connections between fashion and the world. Yet Prince represents an important fashion connection that emerged during a time when fashion welcomed breaking boundaries, and he represented the creative expression at its fullest quite well. His brand of style was exploratory and, at times just as Bowie had, was sexually powerful in testing limits. His energy was electric and his love of theatrics inspired the fashion industry, albeit more recently as we find ourselves revisiting the flamboyance and creative expressions that the avant garde designs of the 80s continue to make their return.
Prince has long made contributions, some we didn't realize were from his hand as revelations of his collaborations and songwriting stream forth. And, as the news sinks in, the public will respond in kind, reflecting on his music and his style. Fashion will thus have another component to add to its repertoire of influences as collections come out (his practical ownership of the colour purple being one) to honor another member of the fashion family that has left our world into the beyond.
But will these passings be as powerful when the collections honoring them come to market? Once upon a time when influences were not as numerous and the market wasn't as far reaching, we could say so. That these creatives so far this year that have passed (and have been written about in past articles here) line up with current fashion inspirations is coincidental (80s and architecture, if you're wondering), and the love of them and their work are no less meaningful...nor are they trivial. And yet, as our attention spans and overload of stimuli compete with those sentiments as we race forth taking on more and more each day, the power of those that matter may no longer hold as much sway.
Ours is now a world that does not react the way it once did. The New York Times not too long ago anticipated the power of the recent Star Wars film as a fashion influence post-release but we now see that as fleeting and the time during its anticipation was more influenced than whatever came after it ran through the theatres of the world. Save for personally jarring events such as 9/11, the anticipation, the hype of an event, is what we have trained ourselves to connect to. The passing of icons that hold intimate emotional connections that we can take with us, such as music from our favourite musicians or actors from films we can cuddle up to, runs contrary to that. That is to say, if the person is far-reaching i.e. connecting to multiple generations, then they will have more of a collective effect but with so much happening to digest, their passing will, whether we like to admit it or not, get lost amidst the ongoing events of the world that we pour over. And so, fashion may have aspects thrown in, to be sure, but in the greater scope of the world there is too much going on to not notice. Designers will, without words, acknowledge that as they blend homage with other components that reflect just how overwhelming our world has become. It is the price of being connected. It is, regretfully, the sign of the times.