The trend of subversive basics from the last several seasons will continue into the following year. It’s a wide-ranging phenomenon, but you’ll recognize it the moment you see it. Cutouts, translucent materials, nontraditional shoulder straps, and inventive layering are all elements to consider. It’s a contemporary spin on the timeless staples that we all know and love, such as tank tops, loungewear, undergarments, and bodysuits.
Fashion content creator Agus Panzoni, aka @thealgorythm, spotted a trend of simple goods being reformed via cuts, holes, layering, and repositioning, and created the phrase “subversive basics” to describe this movement. Subversive fundamentals are described by Panzoni as “basics that rebel up to the point of their losing utility” in her now-viral TikTok post. Refashioning a plain tee into a holey shirt and experimenting with asymmetrical design are acts of defiance against the garment’s intended function. It’s like having a whole new skin on your body, except better.
The public’s yearning to escape the cozy essentials and shapewear bubble it has been confined in for the last two years is represented by the cut-out designs, some of which end up looking like sophisticated apertures and others of which are so risqué that may not be unsuitable for work.
DIDU, a Shanghai and Paris-based label founded in 2019, translates modern societal storylines into sensual ready-to-wear with a deep emotional core. Di Du, the label’s creator and designer and a graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in fashion, infuses her creations with a powerful but whimsical version of femininity informed by her Chinese heritage. Blazers and pants with romantic pleats, daring slits, and dramatic flares are reimagined as futuristic clubwear, highlighting the subtle Y2K allure of complex layering, perforations, and hardware inserts on tops and skirts.
Lyn Khanh, a Vietnamese fashion designer, is the creative force behind the avant-garde, self-titled fashion label Xyotic. Launched in 2020, the modern womenswear brand highlights the unexpected and limitless possibilities that fashion can provide. Blue and black are staple colors in the label’s color palette, and they pair well with the collection’s seductive cut-out shapes and contouring fabrics.
“When I start to build my brand I always want to be different than others. In every collection, I try to break the rules. In the past when I went to school, the other girls laughed at me because I don’t look like a standard Vietnamese girl,” Lyn shares. “I want to bring the message to the world to keep it weirder and don’t care what other people think.”
ERYS STUDIO was founded with the goal of encouraging and inspiring women to value themselves for who they are and not what they have created. With an emphasis on cutout features and a focus on elegance, the label’s designs are ideal for the lavish lifestyle pattern. ERYS is unquestionably a perfect depiction of today’s women: sharp with a tinge of sexuality, simple without being boring, and brimming with confidence.
Brazilian-born designer Karoline Vitto has created a line of women’s clothing that welcomes all shapes and sizes. The 30-year-old’s journey to define her brand and learn its role in the business coincided with her personal journey to learn more about herself and her connection with fashion. Her garments provide room for the feminine form to expand in the right places, giving her clothes a relaxed, flattering fit. As emphasized through shaped wires and contouring pieces, finding clothing that really suits our body is more important than attempting to make our body fit into clothes.
Charlotte Knowles’ eponymous line fuses deconstructivism, minimalism, and utilitarianism in her unapologetically feminine ready-to-wear. The label made it to the finals of the LVMH Prize in 2022 because of its reputation for innovative designs that highlight the body’s form in unexpected ways. When paired with semi-transparent negligees, unconventional garments like corsets and tank tops challenge accepted norms of attire. Skirts and dresses with extreme elasticity have delicate and harsh motifs all throughout.
Elsewhere, the brand’s sharply angular, texturally fascinating leather handbags are an indication that the label is looking to push the boundaries of its design ethos in new directions. Charlotte Knowles deftly straddles the line between the conventional and the experimental by playing with the ways in which the body may be hidden and seen.
Designer Thierry Mugler debuted his eponymous line, ushering in a new definition of femininity that celebrated theatricality and tenacity via his anatomical creations during the 70s. While he left the fashion label in 1997, creative director Casey Cadwallader continued the label’s avant-garde aesthetic. The American designer’s extensive familiarity with Mugler’s structural approach is evident in the strong spiral cuts on his denim and the impeccable tailoring of his dresses. Cadwallader’s eclectic tastes converge to update Mugler‘s strong feminine sensibility by fusing the brand’s signature tropes with contemporary touches.