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White Out

Fashion News
A look from the Saint Laurent Spring collection.

By Mackenzie Wagoner

In terms of light, white is every color at once—and this season on the runway, white was every woman, too. The clean-slate shade proved to be seasonless, ageless and, thanks to a certain presidential candidate with an aptitude for the hue (think pantsuits), stripped from its associations with naïveté.


There were ethereal, lingerie-inspired gowns from Alexander McQueen ideal for a country wedding and smart, eco-friendly safari suits for the urban jungle from Stella McCartney.


Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga collection featured one particularly useful two-for-one button down with both long and short sleeves, and within Phoebe Philo’s penultimate show for Céline was an unforgettable double-layered trench coat featuring a pleasingly crisp, pale outer layer tacked up like paper at the ends. Multi-hyphenate workhorses for the multi-hyphenate working woman.


This is no white flag. In the past year, the color has been invoked by women working toward a united cause, such as the #WearWhiteToVote movement and, later, wearing the alabaster shade to show solidarity with Muslim women during the controversial travel bans. It’s an old trick born anew; when turn-of-the- century suffragettes chose the color white to represent the purity of their mission, they wore it so that when they marched together, their collective power could be seen.


It’s uncertain whether designers had this in mind—after all, what could be more definitively Chloé than a breezy, bohemian white dress? But should one Parisian bombshell shimmy into Saint Laurent’s micro ostrich feather confection, another Hollywood powerhouse don Tom Ford’s impeccably tailored slinking jumpsuit and a polished Italian donna slip on Dolce & Gabbana’s clean-cut lace separates, their concerted strength will symbolize something much greater than style. Really, what could be chicer?


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