Now Trending: Comic Book HeroesPosted by Julia Neel
Blame it on The Dark Knight Rises. Blame it on The Amazing Spiderman. Even blame it on the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective exhibition at the Chicago Institute. Whatever you blame, the fact remains that comic books and Pop Art graphics are having a moment in fashion right now.
The real KA-POW! moment for this trend comes from Phillip Lim, whose pre-fall 2012 collection featured playful references to Lichtenstein’s seminal comic strip paintings. In zingy primary tomes, they’re stand-out stuff; the Ka-Pow cardigan, in particular, is the kind of piece that is not only instantly recognisable, but one that delivers instant kudos.
London-based Markus Lupfer is known for his kitsch knits, which often feature slogans or loud graphics with sequins and crystals, but for autumn/winter 2012, his usually youthful DNA took on a darker, more grown-up appeal. Yes, there were still slogans – ‘Kiss’, ‘Carpe Diem’ and ‘Omnia Vincit Amor’ – but they came on grey jumpers, layered over buttoned-up black shorts and worn with no-nonsense leather or to-the-knee skirts.
A Lichtenstein-alike ‘Boom’ came emblazoned on one black round-neck sweater, and was worn with a pair of skinny leather trousers. Which brings us to the trend’s alternative poster girl: Cat Woman.
In The Dark Knight Rises, Anna Hathaway prowls through the film in spray-on black latex as the sexy foil to Batman’s good-doing. Now, I’m not saying wear latex but, this season, black leather was high on designers’ agendas, and channelled all of Cat Woman’s bad girl glamour. Lupfer’s black leather skater skirts were a playful option, but black glossy leather pencil skirts and cigarette trousers are the perfect way to wear this trend to stop it becoming too twee or ‘obsessive Comic-Con fan’ (you don’t want to look like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, right?).
Look for pieces that feature the American flag for Wonder Woman allure (Topshop has a couple of
pairs of denim shorts that tick this box).
Meanwhile, at Balenciaga, Nicolas Ghesquiere went all sci-fi with his comic book references, with space age-y slogans like ‘Join a Weird Trip’ and ‘Out of The Blue’ emblazoned across sweatshirts with exaggerated proportions.
The key to this style is not looking like a geek. At Phillip Lim, this translated to clean-cut, Lois Lane neatness, with those loud Lichenstein references being quietened by sensible shapes like a leather pencil skirt (with zips, because today’s Lois ain’t dull), or crisp white ankle-skimming trousers. He added leopard print shoes for a clashing dose of fun.
Heels and luxe fabrics keep things sophisticated; something to bear in mind when wearing with jeans, if you don’t want to look like an uber-fan.
Lastly, colour-saturated red lips will turn you into a Pop Art heroine faster than you can say “Kiss me, Bruce.” I love Tom Ford or Dolce & Gabbana for the brightest.
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