Season Coverage

Carol Christian Poell’s presentations are lauded as some of the most daunting feats ever attempted by a fashion designer. However, there is one that stands in infamy. This spectacle coup took place in Spring/Summer 2004 when Poell invited the public to the Milan Naviglio Grande for his eponymous show titled “Mainstream-Downstream.” The presentation served as a metaphor for Poell’s interpretation of the current fashion landscape—one where mainstream fashion uniformly and unconsciously flows in a single direction. Models were sent floating down the Naviglio Grande dressed in full ensembles of rigid leather with injections of blood-red throughout. There was a sense of macabre as models resembled corpses floating aimlessly without any end in sight. In 2004, Poell claimed that “street fashion is [at its] most fresh and interesting. Stuff that’s already on the street is coming out in collections.” Before the days of Tumblr and blogging, Poell saw a brief glimpse of his contemporaries. During a time where hype and influence began to take over the industry, “Mainstream-Downstream” served to obliterate this lethargy in one grand swoop.

Written by Gunner Park


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