In the art world, time is just a concept: past and future blend together, creating trends that last forever. There is a German word that describes an impalpable but often recurring sensation in the artistic panorama: “Sehnsucht”, the nostalgia for something that has never been experienced. Fashion has always chased this feeling, trying from time to time to cover it with new concepts, to give voice to the dreams of every era. It is called retro-futurism and combines nostalgic vibrations with spatial and technological elements, creating a sort of paradox with an imaginative and surreal aesthetic. Between spatial silhouettes, iridescent nuances, spectacular reinterpretations and obsession with archival garments, this new trend seems to suggest that the secret to shaping the future is kept in the past. From Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges who brought fashion to the moon, to the outfits in the name of “Future Nostalgia” by Dua Lipa, the collections of Marine Serre, Dior and the concept of Metaverse: this is how the idea of ​​” tomorrow ”in the fashion universe, an imaginary that today fashion is able to bring to the stage only by remaining faithful to what was there yesterday.

Past and future coexist within fashion collections to say the least… Space! Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges, in the 60s, were the first stylists to project us into the imagery of retro-futurism: between paradoxical geometries, space age aesthetics and models that resemble characters from another galaxy, fashion began for the first time to play with the idea of ​​futurism.

Visionary designer, creative without borders, master of fashion: Thierry Mugler has created collections dedicated to women / superheroines with a retro style and statuesque silhouettes. Futuristic and anachronistic, his collections from the 70s and 80s played with metallic, shiny and robotic materials, enriching the imaginary of fashion with an aura of avant-garde and technology.


The style and musical influences of Dua Lipa best express this ideal, suggesting a pop trend that designs the future as we imagined it in the past: tight tracksuits, bright colors and silver details, just like the proposals of his second collaboration with Puma, which has landed online in July. And like his album, which not surprisingly is called “Future Nostalgia”.


Galliano for Dior, in autumn-winter 2007, he played with astronauts on the catwalk; ten years later, Karl Lagerfeld presented his very personal version of Elthon John’s rocket man, in Chanel’s autumn winter 2018; in pre-fall 2021, Kim Jones for Dior blends psychedelia and space-age, on models with a genderless aura styled like Martians; the moon suits by Marine Serre, on the other hand, cover a new concept of eco-futurism.

Dystopian, hi-tech, digital: from Bella Hadid’s NFTs, who “pixelize” her body by projecting herself into the Metaverse, to Grimes’s cyber-punk and fairy outfits, the idea of ​​space age, in the last decade, has slowly abandoned us to replace an increasingly virtual reality. And while retro-futurism remains crystallized on the catwalk, the world quickly opens up to a concept of a digitized future.

Curated by Silvia Zardini

Tags: Dua Lipa, Fashion, Retro-futurism

Retro-futurism: the fashion of the past lived in the future!