LOVE TO LOVE YOU
By Maia Adams, Adorn Insight
Love is in the air. Yes, really. In spite of – but more likely because of – the uncertain times we find ourselves in, communities espousing a raft of disparate worldviews are coming together to celebrate compassion, solidarity and respect. The result is a timely groundswell of that sentiment best described as love.
Illustration by Frédéric Mané
The ancient Greeks had four distinct words for love running the gamut from romantic love for a desired other to affectionate regard for friends, family and oneself. It is this broader understanding of love that best fits the mood of the moment. Nuanced debate around the non-binary nature of human sexuality and gender has challenged our understanding of the laws of attraction. Comradeship amongst marginalised groups has led to a vigorous growth in grassroots campaigning epitomised by events such as February’s warm and witty Women’s Marches.
Celebrated in August each year The United Nations-designated International Friendship Day exists to bridge the gaps between race, color and religion. Apps such as Elbi use the power of social media to promote philanthropy by encouraging users to support charities through points-earning creative activities such as posting a photo or designing a badge. Co-living spaces like WeLive in New York challenge traditional apartment living through physical spaces that foster “meaningful relationships built upon community, flexibility, and a fundamental belief that we are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with.”
Despite a sometimes-justified reputation for inward gazing, the fashion industry has stepped up to the plate too. In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s refugee ban, W Magazine launched the ‘I am an immigrant’ campaign featuring fashion’s big names proclaiming their foreigner credentials. The Business of Fashion’s #tiedtgether campaign, launched in advance of the AW17 shows, encourages the wearing of knotted white bandanas to make a “clear statement in support of solidarity, human unity, and inclusiveness.”
From a communications point of view, brands and organisations are capitalizing on this expanded definition of love with concepts that range from saucy to sentimental and which put a new spin on typical love symbols such as locks and keys, knots, kissing lips, bows arrows and – of course - hearts. For Valentine’s Day, Swarovski teamed up with brand ambassador Karlie Kloss to launch a dating quiz during which players identified which of Swarovski’s Crystal Wishes charms best resembled their inner love symbol. Harnessing the power of emoji to convey emotions in a personal, modern, non-verbal way Versace roused fans to decorate #VersaceSharesLove labelled images with Versace-specific emoji. Michael Kors debuted an emoji keyboard featuring kissing lips, conversation hearts, and kooky cartoons of the brand’s accessories.
© Street Art Photography by Nic Pichler, Swarovski Zirconia Kiss me Cut: customized solution and innovation by Swarovski
If the SS17 catwalks collections had one standout symbol it was the classic Love Heart which was peppered across jewellery and garments: Dolce & Gabbana (flaming Sacred Hearts); Anna Sui (vintage frame hearts embellished with beadwork and scrolling leaves); Gucci (an edgy two-tone hand bracelet) and Dior (a dainty splash of red on an otherwise all-white outfit).
At couture level, too, love inspired. Chaumet’s latest high jewellery collection ‘Insolence’ updates the classic knot for a modern audience with a striking yellow gold and white diamond pairing. Chanel’s ‘Marthe’ collection features feminine bows dripping with pearls, and trimmed with oxidized black gold. On the runway, Elsa Schiaparelli sent out couture ensembles embroidered with scarlet split hearts. It’s worth noting too, that if the jewellery coming off the currently underway AW17 shows is anything to go by, hearts will still be beating strongly come Autumn.
At the London Fashion Week opening breakfast, Net-A-Porter founder and British Fashion Council chair, Natalie Massenet gave a speech that extolled the virtues of “togetherness, unity and multiculturalism”. These were, she said, the ideas that underpin London’s AW17 extravaganza. More than that, she added, this is an ethos we can and should all aspire to, both here and abroad, right now and going forward. In other words, she told us all to head on out and spread the love.
© Getty Images, Chiara Boni La Petite Robe - Runway - February 2017 - New York