A white silk skirt and a feather on her chest: less is more.

In Oscars week, the winning look was Hunter Schafer, at the Vanity Fair party, after the 95th annual Academy Awards ceremony. The 24-year-old American model, trans woman, dominated the attention. It is understandable why

The three words that best describe Hunter Schafer’s look at the Vanity Fair Oscars party? Less is more.

Dressed in a white silk skirt cut on the bias, a single ivory feather and – crucially – nothing else, Schafer was destined to raise a few eyebrows. Google searches for the actress and model skyrocketed on Oscars Sunday when her look hit social media. On Twitter, images of Schafer immediately received tens of thousands of likes, while his own post on Instagram has already been “rated” more than 2.5 million times.

But more than creating a moment of putting your hands on your head, the ensemble worn by Schafer was clearly valued. Fresh off the Fall-Winter 2023 runway, the look was premiered earlier this month at Paris fashion house Ann Demeulemeester. It was conceived by Ludovic de Saint Sernin, the brand’s creative director since December.

Celebrity fashion works best when there’s a story behind a look. For example, the plausible reference to Edie Sedgwick in Kendall Jenner’s Bottega Veneta tights, or Paul Mescal winking at traditional masculinity in a simple white tank top.

For his first Ann Demeulemeester collection, Saint Sernin was inspired by “making fashion as an authentic act of self-involvement”. It was a love letter – almost literally – to the founder of the Belgian brand, with images of “authorship and autobiography” sewn into the garment.

Hunter Schafer’s look at the Oscars after party is more poetic than it initially appeared. Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

These ideas of self-expression, self-love and self-definition took on new meaning when used by Schafer. As a trans woman whose rise to fame has been inextricably linked to her gender identity — her big break was playing the role of trans teen Jules on HBO’s “Euphoria” — Schafer’s body is subject to constant online scrutiny. . Comment sections on her Instagram posts often devolve into open forums, where users feel entitled (and seemingly compelled) to ask intimate questions about the trans experience or challenge Schafer’s womanhood.

Fittingly, there’s a long lineage of gender-defying sentiments woven into Schafer’s outfit. Founded in 1985 by Ann Demeulemeester and her husband Patrick Robyn, the brand boasts a long legacy of gender non-conforming fashion.

“I was interested in the tension between male and female, but also the tension between male and female within a person,” Demeulemeester told Vogue ahead of a retrospective exhibition of her work in Florence, Italy, last year. “That’s what makes each person really interesting to me, because everyone is unique.”

In their latest joint collection, Saint Sernin – who is known in the industry for their eponymous, gender-fluid label – brought Ann Demeulemeester’s androgynous view of the world, with romantic masculine silhouettes and sensual fabrics for everyone (think fitted tops in mesh, leather, and open shirts made from a sheer organza material).

With a quill clutched to his chest, Schafer let us know he’s still writing his narrative – and defining himself on his own terms. There is an entire story contained within these two garments. As De Saint Sernin said in the show notes: “Thirty-six visuals, each one a heartfelt phrase”.

The powerful set could become one of the last credits of Law Roach’s celebrity style. Roach announced the following Tuesday on social media that he would be retiring from the industry, after 14 years of creating conversation-leading looks for artists including Zendaya, Bella Hadid, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ariana Grande and Megan Thee Stallion.

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