Fashion is dead, long live fashion

 

1aThe more I think about today’s fashion, the more I realize it’s defined by a kind of fear of empty spaces, or horror vacui in fancier terms. From the number of shows/year, the number of pieces in a runway collection, the number of people attending the shows, or lurking outside the shows, the infinite number of tweets, retweets, to the absurd number of clothing items displayed in stores, the fashion industry is desperately trying to feed us content, to fill every inch of our news feed with its creations. Not a single pixel left unused. It almost seems as if it is trying to keep us distracted from what is actually happening…the end of fashion as we know it.

Li Edelkoort, one of the most prominent trend forecaster published recently an Anti_Fashion manifesto in which she argues why she believes the fashion industry “is going to implode”. Throughout the ten chapters that constitute the manifesto, she tackles different issues of the fashion industry, like the educational system, manufacturing, designers, consumers, marketing, and others.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to read the manifesto in its original form, but in the article published on dezeen.com, there was a phrase that caught my attention: “Clothes will become the answer to our industries’ prayers”, due to the marketing’s demand for sellable products, not innovation, or experimentation in the field of fashion design. Slaves to financial institutions, hostage of shareholder interest, designers are recycling trends from the past, fearful of not disappointing the brand owners, and being replaced.

This perspective sheds light on the curious case of Hedi Slimane and his current success in rebranding the YSL brand. In a recent article published on Business of Fashion we are informed about the commercial success of his Saint Laurent experiment. According to recent analysis on sales at different major department stores and multi-brand boutiques, the brand has more than doubled its sales revenue in the three years since he took the creative reins. Despite the negative feedback of fashion critics, Hedi Slimane’s collections proved he has the ability to create clothes that sell. The secret behind this success? “It’s luxury but super basic items such as tailored jackets, bikers, bombers, denims”. Slimane seems to have been a designer ahead of his times, realizing what his consumers want: digestible fashion, perfectly executed, impeccably made ordinary clothes.2aBut where does this change in fashion leave designers that are still trying to innovate, not generate products? Li Edelkoort predicts that couture will make a comeback. “After all it is in the atelier of couture that we will find the laboratory of this labor of love. Suddenly the profession of couturier will become coveted and the exclusive way of crafting couture will be inspiring all others.” It’s almost like an overweight fashion system is slowly realizing that fast fashion is not the answer to its problems, and it’s willing to try a detox program. I really hope it succeeds, and I really hope Li Edelkoort’s predictions will come true: “This is the end of fashion as we know it. Fashion with a big F is no longer there. And maybe it’s not a problem; maybe it’s actually a good moment to rethink. Actually the comeback of couture, which I’m predicting, could bring us a host of new ideas of how to handle the idea of clothes. And maybe from these ashes another system will be born.”FotoFlexer_Photo

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A Reflection on Raf

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When Matthew McConaughey’s character in Interstellar enters an extra-dimension where time appears as a spatial dimension showing glimpses of his daughter’s childhood bedroom at various times, he manages to find a solution to save mankind. Raf Simons, for his haute couture show at Dior reconstructs that surreal scene by placing mirror fragments at different angles so that the white scaffolds could reflect in those mirrors creating the impression of an infinite space where ideas interconnect. Will he find the solution to save mankind? Probably not, because that’s not his job. His job is to find, each season, the best solution to keep fashion alive. And that’s not an easy job, and he knows it. All eyes are on him, and he is feeling the pressure of each and every one of his fans, critiques, customers, buyers.

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He chose as a reference for this show the iconic pop star David Bowie, and beyond the visual references, I feel that the connection is much deeper. Ziggy Stardust, probably Bowie’s most well-known persona is the personification of an alien who is trying to communicate with mankind through his music, being destroyed in the end by his own inner demons and by the fans that worshiped him. Raf is seen by some as an alien in the haute couture world, a world constricted by rules and standards. And although he proved himself worthy of this world, the fear of him being devoured by it still lingers. Will he manage to deliver his message of creative freedom in the future? Or will he be devoured by his fans, by the Dior heritage, and by his independent nature?

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Couture…Demi – Couture

Moda este prin definitie schimbatoare. Este un concept nedefinit in timp si spatiu tocmai pentru ca ‘timpul” si “spatiul” sunt cele doua elemente care contribuie considerabil la aceasta perpetua modificare a sa. Moda, pe langa potentialul sau de a se innoi, are capacitatea de a-si adauga noi elemente in campul semantic. “Demi – Couture”, pe langa faptul de a fi o noua creatie a Modei, este o urmare a democratizarii designului vestimentar, un proces la care luam parte deja de cativa ani buni. Demi – Couture semnifica incercarea designerilor de a-si satisface clientii ale caror standarde sunt din ce in ce mai exigente. Accesibilitatea pe care haute-couture-ul a dobandit-o in ultima perioada prin intermediul internetului si al revistelor de specialitate a generat o noua nevoie in randul consumatorilor si s-a materializat intr-o noua abordare a luxului – demi-couture. “Fructul interzis” nu a fost niciodata mai aproape.

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Yohji Yamamoto

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Comme des Garcons

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Alexander McQueen

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Thierry Mugler

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Balenciaga

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Prada

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Celine

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Catalin Valean – castigatorul concursului “Fii creator de Haute-Couleur”

“Pe tot parcursul vietii, omul dezvolta o anumita maleabilitate cand vine vorba de evolutia sa personala. Fragilitatea fiecaruia depinde de o sumedenie de factori, fiind obisnuiti sa ne lasam influentati de orice personaj care ne iese in cale, sa ne schimbam gusturile in mod constant, sa comitem greseli si sa invatam din ele, sa ne lasam purtati de val cateodata mai mult decat ar trebui. Ducem lipsa de nou, iar din aceasta cauza tindem sa ne pierdem in copilarii. Invatam culorile pe nume, le asociem cu perioade marcante din viata noastra, cu persoane care ne-au influentat sau care o sa ne influenteze, dar pe care le schimbam si inlocuim constant, ca mai tarziu sa ne reintoarcem la ele. Senzatia de instabilitate devine un fenomen fascinant, iar viata doar un joc care isi schimba culoarea in functie de trairile noastre in momentul respectiv.”

Cam asa suna propunerea lui Catalin Valean pentru concursul national de schite de design vestimentar ” Fii creator de Haute – Couleur”  demarat de platforma online atelierperwoll. Din cei 79 de participanti la acest concurs, in urma deliberarii juriului format din Adelina Ivan (designer vestimentar), Marian Palie (fashion stylist), Carmen Andrei (reprezentant magazin Cocor) si Larisa Guzga (reprezentant Henkel Romania, divizia detergenti), Catalin Valean a fost ales castigatorul primei editii a concursului ” Fii creator de Haute – Couleur”. Pe langa nota primita din partea juriului, castigatorul a fost ales si in functie de voturile oferite de vizitatorii platformei online a concursului timp de doua saptamani. Criteriile de jurizare au inclus: respectarea temei, conceptul colectiei create, tesaturile alese si potentialul vandabil al creatiilor.

Miza finala a concursului: castigarea sumei de 1500 euro, bani care ii vor permite castigatorului sa creeze, special pentru aceasta competitie, o colectie de 5-7 tinute pornind de la schitele inscrise in concurs. Odata materializata, colectia va beneficia de expunere gratuita spre vanzare in Galeria Designerilor Romani din magazinul Cocor, timp de 4 luni, in perioada septembrie-decembrie 2012.

Cătălin Vălean este student la Universitatea de Arte şi Design din Cluj-Napoca, secţia design-vestimentar, premiul dobandit de acesta demonstrand inca o data potentialul creativ existent in orasul nostru. Colectia de schite intitulata “Tranzitii” propune ținute pentru ambele sexe cuprinzand o gama diversificata de piese ce constituie ansamblurile vestimentare imaginate de tanarul designer. Propunerea sa pentru acest concurs surprinde si la nivelul schitei care contribuie  la reliefarea conceptului ce sta la baza colectiei. Seria sa de schite promite la nivel vizual si asteptam cu nerabdare sa vedem rezultatul final si concret al demersului sau creativ.

 

O noua corporalitate: Iris van Herpen

Colectia designerului olandez Iris van Herpen a reusit sa se impuna in cadrul saptamanii Haute Couture din Paris, devenind in scurt timp subiectul preferat al cercurilor connoisseur-ilor si carcotasilor din lumea modei.

A lucrat in atelierele Mcqueen si Viktor & Rolf, si-a prezentat colectiile in Amsterdam, Londra, Berlin, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, si cu toate acestea nu poti anticipa socul visual si estetic pe care ti-l ofera creatiile acesteia.

Ce reuseste Iris van Herpen sa faca este sa creeze o noua corporalitate prin manipularea tehnicilor traditionale folosite in atelierele de haute couture si imbinarea lor cu materiale si procedee avangardiste de prelucrare ale acestora care, pentru ochiul unui necunoscator, par a fi teleportate din viitor. Creatiile sale dau nastere unei simbioze stranii intre corpul fizic, al purtatorului, si corpul artificial, creat cu ajutorul materialelor.

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