Like Gen Z’s punkish answer to Coco Chanel’s tired old “look-in-the-mirror-and-take-one-thing-off-before-leaving-the house”The chaos-core theory, or diktat is all about excess. Let other people do the looking. Add more. It’s always better to over-dress. Over, over, over-dressed, actually.
Here’s scum bro’ superstar and chaos-core poster boy Pete “Skete”Davidson, fresh out of a Kardashian duvet and dressed in a chaotic-core look of a vintage Thrasher T shirt, checkerboard chef trousers and a Champion sweatshirt. This was to help him do the DIY bleach job. Later, the actor, SNL star, and full-time bad boyfriend might also throw on a get-up that finds toddler-style flower-appliqued pants, an old lady’s cardy in a shimmery aubergine, bouclé fabric, a T-shirt with a cute cat design on it, and a neck chain that is half charm bracelet, half canine choke chain.
There is not enough chaos, disorder, or kitsch for you. ‘core? Why not add a neck tattoo, or a hieroglyphical face inking? Maybe a neon pink hair dye job, like manic trickster dreamboat Pete’s? Or, a white jacket over a Thom Browne-style shift dress?
What alternative reality was this hot mess’s dress code crawl from? It is not a reference to rockers, rappers or movie stars. Neither influencers nor Tik-Tokkers. The chaos-core movement is arguably more due to gaming characters, avatar design and digital entity creation or the non-fungible aesthetic than the catwalk or ubiquitous social networking platforms. Garments are adapted and stolen from random tribes. Fashion editors and stylists are left behind when it comes to the Sims wardrobe department menu selections.
For queens Tace and Bimini, off-drag duty from their starring role appearances on Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK, the idea is to be even bigger than larger life itself, so they adopt a slag-chic that brings to mind both DieAntwoord’s Anri du Toit (aka ¥o-Landi Vi$$er) and 1970s Joan Collins during her leopardskin fake fur prime.
Is there actually a fine line between say, Evan Mock, Minka Kelly, Dominic Fike, Demetrius ‘Lil Meech’ Flenory Jr, Hunter Schafer, and the rest of the Euphoria cast, attending the recent Balenciaga runway show in their heroically mismatched, but still gang-banging, chaos-core clobber and, say, one of PM Boris Johnson’s shambolic dog-walking get-ups (Next board shorts, Dunlop Green Flash, ribbed M&S navy blue socks hand knitted beanie, maybe accessorised with a plastic bag-for-life tote from Waitrose)?
The key difference lies in the ensembles’ ability to upset, subvert, disrupt and disorientate any fashion trends, societal conventions, and good manners via lurid colour, confrontational mismatches, and wildly cartoonish combinations. Rather than just looking, you know…like a total train wreck.
None of these parameters define the mysterious cult of chaoscore. Chaos-core was created serendipitously by an attention-deficient, disorderly online shopping generation that shuffles from one brand, music category, style, or apparel category at will. It is a fast fashion look that allows for menu scrolling and double screening. Colours that clash, natural luxe and fire-risk synthetic fabrics are frottaged against one another for entertainment.