ranking this season’s weirdest and most wonderful accessories
From Gucci kneepads to Ambush’s clothes peg earring, discover this season’s most unlikely it pieces.
Over the past few seasons, the rise of the viral or meme-worthy accessory has been, it’s safe to say, unstoppable. From Y/Project’s denim panties and thigh-high Uggs, to Balenciaga’s platform crocs, to Viktor & Rolf’s couture collection that included a purple tulle gown reading “sorry I’m late I didn’t want to come”, it seems every designer wants a slice of the social media buzz (and occasionally, outrage) that comes with designing a wilfully ugly or outrageous “it” accessory.
At the autumn/winter 19 shows earlier this year, things were no different. Here, we rank the season’s most out-there accessories from statement maker to internet breaker. Don’t forget your balaclavas.
8. Release your inner tourist with Balenciaga’s “I ❤ Paris” cross-body bag
We all know that Demna Gvasalia is the king of meme-able clothing: from his infamous DHL T-shirt at Vetements, to the Balenciaga look of endless layers of coats (that internet users compared to a look sported by none other than Joey from Friends), the Georgian designer knows a thing or two about making a single runway look go viral.
For his latest Balenciaga collection, Demna pared things back slightly, placing the emphasis on refined tailoring that reflected the house’s rich heritage. But he did find time to squeeze in an accessory or two that nodded to his previous meditations on consumer culture, most notably in bags printed with designs you would be more likely to find on tourist tat, like this cross-body number covered in the words “I ❤ Paris” written in a range of tacky typefaces. It might have been subtle, but Demna still made sure the collection had a touch of something a bit more, well, Demna.
7. Keep your hair runway-ready with a Moschino hairdryer bag
If there’s anyone nipping at Demna’s heels in the meme-able fashion stakes, it has to be Jeremy Scott: the designer has spent the past two decades stealthily introducing the sleazier corners of pop culture into high fashion, first with his namesake label and from 2013 onwards at the equally irreverent Italian house of Moschino.
For autumn/winter 19, Jeremy looked to American game shows for inspiration: specifically The Price Is Right, where punters guess the price of a luxury car or a washer-dryer with the hope of taking it home. With its sly critique of mass consumerism -- think dresses covered in dollar bills and even a giant cape resembling a TV dinner -- it was packed to the rafters with Instagram-ready accessories. Our pick? The hairdryer bags slung over models shoulders, ideally teamed with a bouffant blow-out à la Kaia Gerber’s opening look.
6. Hang yourself out to dry with an Ambush clothes peg earring
Yoon Anh of Ambush is no stranger to a novelty accessory: whether it’s her pieces modelled on cigarette lighters, soda can tabs or oversized pills, Yoon’s playful riffs on everyday objects have made her one of fashion’s most in-demand jewellery designers, most famously collaborating with Kim Jones on his collections for Dior Men.
This season, she’s venturing even further into the realm of the everyday, with an earring design to resemble a humble clothes peg hanging from your ear. Designed so that the stud is hidden between the clips of the peg, you can now go out looking exactly like the laundry hanging from your clothes line. Perfect for a breezy summer afternoon.
5. Marine Serre’s printed balaclava will have you ready to rave
For autumn/winter 19, Marine Serre took her showgoers on a cyberpunk-inspired odyssey in the bowels of an underground Parisian bunker, where smoke machines, throbbing techno and a laser show lent the proceedings a darkly futuristic flair.
But while there were plenty of Marine’s signature outré accessories on show (bowling ball bags, anyone?) it was the series of balaclavas printed with the designer’s crescent moon logo that really grabbed our attention, including a final head-to-toe bodysuit that was embellished with all-over keyrings. For anyone looking to rob a bank while remaining as chic as humanly possible, it seems that Marine has you covered.
4. Stay demure in a Ludovic de Saint Sernin towel skirt
For his second menswear runway show this season, Ludovic de Saint Sernin turned up the heat: showing outside on the upper levels of the Centre Pompidou, with the rooftops of Paris as a backdrop shimmering in the summer heatwave, the models wore wet-look tops embellished with crystals to resemble water droplets and patches of sweat.
What about when you need to dry off? Ludovic thought of that too, sending out a look of what appeared to be simply a beige towel (although was in fact made of merino wool) and in doing so debuted the first ever towel-skirt hybrid, as far as we know of. This summer, will you be brave enough to sport the skowel?
3. Count your pennies with a Jacquemus mini-mini bag
Simon Porte Jacquemus’ ever-shrinking Chiquito bags reached peak dinkiness this season, coming out so small that for anyone looking at the show images after the fact, they were nearly impossible to detect. Quite what you’re meant to store in one of these, we’re not entirely sure. A little spare change? A single key? A condom? Get your mind out of the gutter.
That being said, it’s this confusion which lends the piece a certain mysterious allure: quite who the bag’s target audience is remains difficult to confirm, but we’re keeping our ears to the ground. And even if it might not be the most practical of accessories, isn’t there something supremely chic about carrying something so wilfully impractical?
2. Safety first with Gucci’s branded hockey kneepads
Alessandro Michele at Gucci is no stranger to a hype-worthy accessory: lest we forget the severed heads and dragon babies that models carried for his autumn/winter 18 show, making a memorable return when Jared Leto showed up to the Met Gala in May with his own version of the infamous accessory. How’s your head? He hasn’t had any complaints.
There were plenty of grungy, fetish-inspired accessories sent down the runway at his autumn/winter 19 show back in February, including a seriously spiky series of chokers, but what stood out was something a little more sporty: a pair of kneepads emblazoned with the house’s double-G logo. While hockey might not be considered the most fashionable of sports, it appears that in Alessandro’s all-encompassing vision for the future of Gucci, he’s always making sure there’s something for everyone: even hockey-playing fashionistas.
1. Go all out with a set of Rick Owens facial prosthetics
For those really looking to go the full hog and get down with some seriously out-there accessories, there’s only ever really one place to turn: Rick Owens. And this season, he didn’t disappoint, offering a particularly bold look for those wanting to take their accessory game up a notch.
Collaborating with the Welsh drag artist Salvia on a series of prosthetic masks and facial enhancements, Rick’s goth-meets-glam rock army of models came out with a distinctly extraterrestrial twist. It might not be the cheapest (or the most practical) of accessories, but if you’re looking to turn a look that nobody else can even come close to, then it’s Rick you want to call. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt about accessories over the past few seasons, it’s go big (or in the case of Jacquemus, microscopically small) or go home.