Proenza Schouler: when craftsmanship meets technology

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A few words about Proenza Schouler, house founded by Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez in 2002. The two designers love experimenting with patterns and prints and have been pushing researches about fabric as far as they could each season. An interview of Alejandro Cardenas, their textile designer, by AnOther Magazine, shows how they managed to link technology and craft, when they usually lay worlds appart: http://ick.li/TmpQsW

That’s how Proenza Schouler came for their SS 2013 collection to use tumblr Pictures as collage. Pictures shared by wide and undifferenciated users, pictures that reflect our society and the influence social networks have on our daily lives. But a question come to mind when watching the show: is this link between technology and craft the only thing explaining the spirit of their collection, very human, very close to us? The use of colors, geometric but also deeply thought after patterns, certainly breeds life into the entire collection, but a part of it remains mysterious, as if our reason couldn’t entirely explain it.

A good look at the pair website made me want to look deeper into their collections: the projects unveiled underline how their research, about the fabrics, the craftsmanship and technology in general, is based on human experiences, and how fashion can be a strong way to translate them. Their is, above creativity and devotion, a sort of humanism with Proenza Schouler. Hoping the recognition they have today will only increase, I leave you with the link to these projects, definitely worth watching, especially for Act Da Fool.

http://www.proenzaschouler.com/project/#

Source: style.com viaAlbane on Pinterest

Source: style.com viaAlbane on Pinterest

Source: style.com viaAlbane on Pinterest

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Crush: Pièce D’Anarchive

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A quick work about a young house that focuses on know-how, craftmanship, and Pièce D'Anarchive-Arizona Museuniqueness. Two sisters, Déborah and Priscilla Royer, created the brand Pièce d’Arnachive using a name that refers to both respect and overthrow of the establish order, but also to the excellence and quality of these “pieces” occupying our wardrobes.

A lot of people already believe in their talent and in the future of their house. Within 3 seasons, they won the ANDAM price of First Collections and got Paolo Reversi to shoot first Natalia Vodianova, then Arizona Muse, for their campaign! Here is the video of SS 2013. The sisters decided to call the seasons “Chapters” as a new story they tell us each time, and new characters they offer us to play….

Haider Ackermann, the art of movement

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I haven’t written anything for a while since I was working during Fashion Week, but it let me time to think about a serie of posts I’d like to write about the people who are for me the best contemporary designers. I’d like to try and find what is their major strength, especially in their visual identity, the stories they tell and the way their clothes fit in a visual environnement.

Haider Ackermann is the first I have chosen, because I’ve always been fascinated by his looks. The only one who fascinated me was Alexander McQueen, and Sarah Burton is now doing an excellent job taking care of his stylistic legacy. Except for theses two, fascination in fashion is very rare to me.

H.Ackermann grew up in various countries, which explains his openminded approach of fashion. But I think that a particular element makes his collections unique: the movement. Nothing, in his clothes, stops the movement, or rather, everything is chosen to make a body’s movement smooth. Each look becomes an evidence, and an immediate fusion takes place between a body and the clothes. The choice of fabrics seems to be especially important, because of the reflect of light upon them and their flexibility. Even color is used to make the looks flow on the runway. For this reasons, I think H.Ackermann is one of the few who can spare a complex scenography. Light and music will be the major staging elements of his show, entirely dedicated to the collections. The pictures I’ve chosen here underline these points, as do the fashion show of Fall/Winter 2011.

Source: style.com via Albane on Pinterest

Source: style.com via Albane on Pinterest

I also wanted to share this article from the Dazed Digital about H.Ackermann, written two years ago. The magazine captured efficiently the identity of Ackermann’s collection and the essence of his aesthetic.

http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/9882/1/haider-ackermann-womenswear-a-w11

The greatest fashion show ever

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If there is only one fashion show to watch, here it is: Alexander McQueen Spring-Summer 2004, dedicated to Sydney Pollack’s movie They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Guy Bourdin Pour Charles JourdanThe show’s video is among the pieces chosen for the parisian exhibition ” Mannequin: le corps dans la mode”. I’m never convinced by the scenography at the Docks, probably because of the place’s design itself, but this time EACH piece (pictures, videos, clothes, brochures) are very well chosen and not too numerous. The text displayed here and there gives clues for the audience to understand what this exhibit is really about: our own responsibility in the consideration of models as objects. Yes, magazines and social trends push us toward this look on them, but as the exhibit shows, some photographs, artists, and stylists warned us. Guy Bourdin among them, even though he may have shocked from time to time.

Here is the video you MUST see, breathtaking, true, almost a confession about the industry, its power, its beauty but also its dangers.

Minimalism & self expression: a reflect of the 20′ in 2013

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Here are a few words to explain why minimalism may hinder our ability to express ourselves through fashion. An extract from Edmond Goblot’s book, La Barrière et le Niveau, Etude sociologique sur la bourgeoisie française moderne, (1925) pushed me to compare the way the bourgeoisie behaved itself toward fashion and the way we do or may do in the future.
A few words about the excerpt: E.Goblot explains how fashion was, at the time, both a Famille Américaine-20'barrier and a level. A barrier, because women had to reach a certain complexity in style, and men had to tend to an absence of complexity, in the perfect control of their silhouette. For the two of them, it required time and attention to details, but men pretended to dress quickly, simply, in a very “correct” way. Being correct and elegant were two different things – being elegant was being “outside” the standart, showing off. Aesthetic and taste were out of question among the bourgeoisie, as was self expression. Goblot explains it clearly this way: “Quand la mode est purement affaire d’esthétique et de goût, elle est exactement au costume ce que le style est à l’art. Tandis que l’artiste accept librement et volontiers les principes d’un style tant qu’ils lui offrent des moyens de réalisations et d’expression, la mode bourgeoisie impose despotiquement son uniformité…” Fashion was also a level because it erased differences among people who had overcome the barrier. Note that it was a moving barrier because whenever too many people entered this groupe, the barrier moved to reshape what seemed to be a reassuring “community”. And this still applies, from my point of view, nowadays.

Reading this excerpt (from Penser la mode, IFM/regard), I thought of the way a minimal,Céline-SS 2013 graphic and somehow “pure” aesthetic had taken the power in fashion. It started little by little, with people like Thomas Maier at Bottega Venetta and the succes of high-end logo-less bags. It really exploded when Pheobe Philo arrived at Celine and put the brand in the limelight. Every since, other houses followed this path (I’m thinking here about Chloé, Stella McCartney, and recently Dior with R.Simons first collection soon in boutiques, and even houses like Cacharel with its more recent collections). I’m not saying that each of them doesn’t have a proper identity, but they all tend at least toward minimalism. They offer a look, usually beautiful, that seems/or is, it depends, very simple. On the other hand, houses such as Alexander McQueen, Kenzo, Comme des Garçons, Alaïa, Carven, Lanvin & more offer what Goblot called “means of realization and expression”.

A.McQueen-SS 2013

It is not a question of judgement, neither toward what people wear nor toward artistic choices in Fashion Houses. But regarding the topic of this blog, I’m wondering if fashion will be polarized between the “minimalists” and the “expressionists”, or if, pretty soon, a barrier will have to move and some houses go back to their roots or reinvent themselves – because too many people will have reached this level. It seems that Céline has an advantage, a mystery and P.Philo collections which puts the brand ahead of other minimalists. Changes among artistic director make 2013 full of promises and excitement…

Streetstyle #2: Fashion & Musée Bourdelle (Part 2)

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There is a reason why I chose the Musée Bourdelle for a streetstyle shooting, beyond the fact that I love this place: I was wondering why Bouchra Jarrar, who I’m really fond of, decided to organize her Haute-Couture Fashion shows since SS 2012 at this location.

I. Antoine Bourdelle & his passion for Greek Myths, Beethoven and I.Duncan

There is a real sense of drama in Antoine Bourdelle’s life (1861-1929), and his choices Antoine Bourdelle-Isadora Duncan-1909of models for his -usually monumental- sculptures: many of his works represent Beethoven -whose powerful and intense pieces reach a sacred dimension- and most of the others are inspired by Greek myths, especially by Heracles. Only a few know that he also used to draw, lots of his drawings representing the American danser Isadora Duncan, a real muse to him. Both Duncan and Beethoven experienced drama in their life and their presence in Bourdelle’s work may be explained by his passion for arts that can exceed human understanding (such as music or dance), and for motions that can’t be reproduced with sculpture but that he is nonetheless trying to instill in his work. What he wrote about Duncan is quite enlightening:

« Le marbre est rebelle à la danse, aussi voyez, Isadora penchant et renversant sa fine tête ferme, les yeux pour danser en dedans, en sa propre émotion. Ses mains frôlent le ciel du marbre, elles semblent mourir et leur vie s’envoler dans leurs encore, ses pieds osseux repoussent loin le sol mais le bloc retiendra cet homme qui porte en lui le génie ailé des oiseaux” Antoine Bourdelle, 15 mars 1912

II. Bouchra Jarrar, her knowledge of fabric and her passion for silhouettes

It seems that Bouchra Jarrar aesthetic stands between the strength of Bourdelle’s Bouchra Jarrar-SS 2012sculpture and the lightness of Duncan’s choreographies. Her sense of structures and proportions but also her consciousness of modern femininity and elegance are a testimony for 21st century women who want to express themselves, be sophisticated, authentic and show their masculin side at the same time.

Why a fashion show at the Musée Bourdelle? Beyond the symbolic coherence mentioned above, strong visual advantages are born from such an environnement: first of all, Bouchra Jarrar’s looks have a strong structure, but respect the body, its shape, its movement. The models consequently detach themselves from the huge and fixed figures behind them (pay attention to the beginning of the SS 2012 show). The colors, rarely strong, gain intensity against the beige tone of the sculptures’ stone. The body’s moves seem to be a lot more real, compared to regular shows, simply because a fixed audience takes part in it. There is also probably an influence on the audience: sculpture is a difficult art, that requires Bouchra Jarrar-SS2012attention, and an ability to SEE. Here the audience is pushed to SEE and not merely WATCH the fashion show.

Once again, as we saw for Chanel, the scenography is not only a way to express the story of a collection but also a tool used to shape an audience’s look.