Anything Goes! The Life-Affirming Power of Contemporary Street Style

“It feels like a return to the early days of when people wore what they liked because they liked it,” Phil Oh, Vogue’s longtime street style photographer, says of the scene outside the spring collections. “It’s about showing one’s true personality instead of wearing something because it’s trendy or cool.”

That might not sound radical, but dressing independent of social status, gender norms, body type, and occasion is still a revolutionary idea in the world at large. Just think of all the fashion diktats you know: no white after Labor Day, no skirts for men, no horizontal stripes lest they accentuate the wrong curve. In the ways of the old school, femininity necessitated a delicate pump and masculinity required a suit. The new generation of fashion obsessives born in the digital era are not just challenging these ideas—they are obliterating them altogether to reflect a new fashion world that is inclusive and representative of all people.

The musician and model Angel Prost had a starring role at Collina Strada’s show: After walking the runway with their sibling Lulu, they quickly transitioned into a live techno-­rock performance from their band, Frost Children. (As the spring 2022 collections continued around the world, Prost had a groundbreaking season walking the runway for Chloé, Marni, Celine, Miu Miu, and more.)

When we met for coffee on New York’s Lower East Side—between stores like Bode, Café Forgot, and adjacent to the highly curated vintage emporium James Veloria, each of which represents the city’s new style—Prost appeared like a vision in almost a dozen clashing and ethereal layers: vintage floral jeans worn under a pleated wool skirt “inspired by my look at Miu Miu,” a tie-neck blouse and crochet vest underneath a Collina Strada pink hoodie, and a long strand of pearls. Prost’s dove-gray Celine bag, a present they received after appearing as a caftan-wearing high priestess in the brand’s spring 2022 menswear video, is covered in charms of kawaii Japanese characters. “I think I’ve probably gone a bit loud with what I wear,” they say, noting that certain designers have started to request pieces from Prost’s wardrobe as seasonal references, “but a lot of it comes from being inside fantasizing, watching movies, and getting inspiration for what the world could be. Then I try to make those fantasies into realities through getting dressed.”

Fantasy, dreams, and a childlike wonder are what’s shaping fashion’s new generation of style stars—but it’s not all whimsy for whimsy’s sake. Prost, who is trans, uses their style not only for fun but for self-actualization. “A lot of the music I make and the way I dress is a fantasy that I never saw lived out,” they say. “How I dress now is about leaning into those types of fantasies unapologetically.”