Fashion Shows


Interview with curator Beatrice Gailee

by Simona Segre Reinach

SSR In which ways did Milan Design Week and la Rinascente inspire your project Hacked?

BG This is my first time working in a shopping mall, and I found a lot of enthusiasm from the people here in Milan. The shopping mall is an exciting place to involve people in the events, which is exactly what ‘hacking’ is about. For me, having to organize so many events, three times a day for the duration of the Milan Design Week is, of course, both challenging and inspiring.

I particularly liked the idea of working during the Salone del Mobile (Design Week) because people come in person to the Salone. They want to be present. People make reservations, buy train and air tickets, they like to really participate in the event. I like the idea of people wanting to be there and to do things. We devote one of the days of the Design Week to laRinascente customers and to the people who will call, everybody is invited to participate. Performances such as ‘make your own thirsty plant detector’ and ‘build your own musical instrument’ are examples of design participation and creative experiments.


SSR What’s the relation beteween art, design and fashion nowadays?

BG They are all cultural fields although they involve different roles. But they have a lot of things in common too, interesting forms of collaborations between art, design and fashion are emerging – nowadays it is really about exploring boundaries among different fields. Artists, architects, fashion designers and designers are influenced by each other more and more.

SSR Is hacked somehow questioning also the concept of copyright? Is there any difference between design and fashion concerning copyright (as in fashion you can protect a logo/brand but you cannot protect a style)?

BG This is an interesting question. I think that copyright is becoming less and less important. The whole idea of Author with a capital A is undergoing severe change, challenged by the very act of the creative process. Products are becoming a completely open source. In a way this is liberatory, but, of course, it entails a lot of changes in the way we think about design. The relation between author, producer and buyer (consumer) is no longer a neatly separate one, but there is continuous interchange between these three elements of the process. Traditional authorship of course still exists, I would say it runs in parallel with these new forms of creativity in which the roles are constantly redefined, to set a new form of commerce and patronage. Take for example kickstarter.com – it is an interesting platform devoted to all new ways of funding and following creativity. You can design a dress and then find somebody there who can create it according to your and his or her ideas about making and distributing. You customize the ways in which you can put that dress on the market. For a new generation of designers, the idea of a ‘product’ to be manufactured, distributed and sold in the traditional way is no longer interesting. Using hacking, strategy, fiction, technology, science, performance, play and collaboration as tools of their trade, collections of emerging agents of design have demonstrated a different way to exhibit and experience contemporary design.

Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, Fashion Shows



Titania Inglis: Fade From Green

By Sarah Scaturro

A favorite look from Titania Inglis’ F/W 2012 collection.  Photographer: Dan Lecca

Fashion Projects has been a fan of Titania Inglis ever since she launched her eponymous label a few years ago, so it was such great news to hear that she had won the 2012 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for Sustainable Design.  While I initially thought of Inglis as an “eco” designer, it quickly became apparent that the term “eco” was simply too reductive for her design philosophy. For her, sustainability is not a gimmick, or just about sourcing yet another ecotextile. Rather, she is moving towards a concept of sustainability that emphasizes longevity, quality, and thoughtfulness.  We are very pleased to present this interview with Inglis, coming on the heels of her recent F/W 2012 fashion presentation at Eyebeam.

Fashion Projects: Congratulations on your recent Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for Sustainable Design.  How has winning the award affected your business?

Titania Inglis: Thank you! Receiving the Ecco Domani award is such a dream come true — I didn’t believe it at first when I received the email telling me I’d won. It’s opened a lot of doors for me already within the fashion industry, and I was able to put together an incredible team for my show this season, including stylist Christian Stroble, makeup artist Lisa Aharon and hairstylist Ramona Eschbach, photographer Aliya Naumoff, set designer Ryan Crozier of Forgotten City — and collaborating on a series of leather body accessories with Bliss Lau, a designer whose innovative work I’ve admired for years.

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Posted in Designers, Fashion Shows, General, Interviews, Sustainable Fashion, Textiles, Uncategorized



Andrea Diodati “Friend of the Flowers”


Andrea Diodati, Friends of the Flowers, An Absurdist Tableau

We had been meaning to continue on our artist/designer series, and we couldn’t think of a better way than to feature Andrea Diodati’s work. An inspiring young artist/designer whose work has been featured in Artforum, Andrea has worked with some of our favorites, including Susan Cianciolo and Pascale Gatzen.

In her own words:

electric love light seeks to unite feeling and object in a bespoke design practice that challenges contemporary notions of production. Handmade by artist, Andrea Diodati, each piece explores the history of materiality through local sourcing at thrift stores and flea markets. The quiet joys of an anonymously crocheted doily are relived on the body in fashions that tell our common material history.

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Posted in Designers, Fashion Shows, Performance



Second Fashion in Film Festival Symposium

One more symposium on Fashion in Film is is taking place at the CUNY Graduate Center this Monday May 2nd from 5 to 7:30 pm. Among the impressive roster of speakers are Caroline Evans, who will speak on her current research on the early history of modelling and the fashion show.

“Since the emergence of cinema in the late-19th century, the role of costume, fabrics, and fashion has been crucial in conveying an aesthetic dimension and establishing a new sensorial and emotional relationship with viewers. Through the interaction of fashion, costume, and film it is possible to gauge a deeper understanding of the cinematic, its complex history, and the mechanisms underlying modernity, the construction of gender, urban transformations, consumption, technological and aesthetic experimentation.

Jody Sperling will speak on “Loïe Fuller and Early Cinema;” Caroline Evans Michelle Tolini Finamore on “‘Exploitation’ in Silent Cinema: Poiret and Lucile on Film;” and Drake Stutesman on “Spectacular Hats! A New Kind of Identity in a New Kind of Love (1963).” With moderator Amy Herzog and respondent Jerry Carlson.”

The symposium which is organized by Eugenia Paulicelli in conjunction with the Fashion in Film Festival is co-sponsored by the Concentration in Fashion Studies, MA in Fashion: Theory, History, Practice in the MA Liberal Studies Program, Film Studies, Women’s Studies and the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies.

Posted in Fashion Shows, Film, Lectures, Performance, Research/University Programmes



Susan Cianciolo, “When Buildings Meet the Sky”


Photo: Rosalie Knox, courtesy of Susan Cianciolo

by Angeli Sion

Towards the closing of this season’s relatively quiet New York Fashion Week, the National Arts Club in Gramercy was alive with warmth and laughter in a beautiful farrago of vibrant words and movements. This past Wednesday night artist and fashion designer Susan Cianciolo presented her Fall 2011 Collection, When Buildings Meet the Sky, in enchanting moments woven together by a play of prose titled She Stories of the Sky. Written and imagined by an emerging artist and designer Andrea Diodati, the play conjured up interpretive Noh theater with dance and chant complete with a live flutist and tambourine player.

The clothing was appropriately a riff of Japanese dress. In collaboration with Hinaya textile in Kyoto and kimono fashion stylist Hiromi Asai in New York, Cianciolo sent out colorful kimonos and wide obi-like sashes done in elaborate oriental prints. Many looks were accompanied by mask-like make-up, bright color thick around the eyes, and hair piled up in buns high on heads. Tinges of metallic gold could be found in the clothing and on faces. As the character Nobel Lady Time, Cianciolo herself donned a deep peach-orange kimono and golden make-up with her hair piled up high too.

Moreover, Cianciolo’s continuous support for friends and former students was telling not only in the latest February issue of Art Forum but also in the presentation’s program. Young designer Willie Norris contributed his bow ties while another emerging designer Su Beyazit helped out with the styling. To note, a few of the models were also current or former students.

Cianciolo’s collection as a whole was a performance of a collage of soft and vivid colors in rhythm with the fluid movements of the performers and the words.

The clothing was raw. The girls were barefoot. Beauty is found in strange spaces.


Photo: Rosalie Knox courtesy of Susan Cianciolo

Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, Fashion Shows, Textiles



Towards Sustainable Design in New York Fashion Week: Titania Inglis


Titania Inglis, AW 2011

A “new” designer Titania Inglis is developing a well-thought and consistent language, which explores the possibilities of modular designs in tandem with the use of recycled and organic material. Trained at the well-known Design Academy Eindhoven, she is presenting her fourth collection, which includes some incredibly well-constructed modular jackets.

Inglis developed the fall 2011 collection in the spirit of pairing down: “draping garments with fewer seams, including a skirt made all in one piece; slitting open seams, as with the slash back top; and literally cutting away the back of last fall’s wrap jacket to create the arc jacket, with its removable back panel.” This experimental, yet functional, construction techiniques were paired with an intelligent fabric sourcing: “a mix of dead stock wool and cotton from New York’s garment district, and organic cotton from Japan’s famed denim mills.”

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Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, Fashion & Technology, Fashion Shows



Japanese Fashion – Past, Present, Future?

by Sarah Scaturro


Issey Miyake’s new 132 5 collection as displayed in the Barbican Art Gallery’s exhibition “Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion.” Photo by Barbican Art Gallery.

We all know that fashion is an expression of the zeitgeist – a style or trend can explode out of seemingly nowhere, with disparate tribes and geographies adopting it simultaneously. Fashion exhibitions are no different. The past few years have seen many exhibitions mounted on similar topics (colors, sustainability, glamour, etc). Currently there are two very different exhibitions on display about Japanese fashion. The first is “Japan Fashion Now” at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT) in New York City, and the second is “Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion” at the Barbican Art Gallery in London.

There are some obvious similarities between these exhibitions – both are curated by top curators in the field (Valerie Steele at MFIT and the Kyoto Costume Institute’s Akiko Fukai at the Barbican). Both focus on Japanese fashion designers and celebrate their contributions to the Western fashion system. Both show looks dating back to 30 years ago and pay attention to contemporary Japanese sub-cultures. But that’s it. Their interpretations, exhibition design and overall approaches are radically different.
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Posted in Designers, Exhibitions, Fashion Shows, Museums, Uncategorized



Wrestling for Attention


Wrestlers’ Performance in conjunction with Fashion Night Out at Project 8. Photo CK.

It has been interesting to notice how far fashion and the fashion week/show phenomenon has seeped into popular culture and public awareness. Fashion Night Out and the public show at the Lincoln Center seem to have aided the frenzied attention. Sometimes, the interest in the phenomenon is such that the spectacle is greater than the work on show, as commented by fashion critics such as Cathy Horyn in the New York Times. Hopefully, in the end all the frenzy will aid the awareness of fashion as an important socio-cultural phenomenon which mediates contemporary cultural anxieties and aspirations, in part specifically because of how central fashion is to the progressive spectacularizationof contemporary society.

As fashion theorist Caroline Evans writes: “In periods in which ideas about the self seem to be unstable, or rapidly shifting, fashion itself can shift to centre stage and play a leading role in constructing images and meaning , as well as articulating anxieties and ideals.” Evans, Fashion at the Edge, London: Yale University Press, 1993

My very favourite event/performance this fashion week was one at Project 8 in the Lower East Side. An ambiguous spectacle of male virility and physical bonding, it showed young wrestlers holding artfully choreographed wrestling poses. It seemed an ironic take on the choreographed and synchronized female dancers, such as the Tiller Girls, which Siegfried Kracauer placed at the center of the spectacle of modernity, or perhaps more simply an ironic reference to the fashion show as a carefully choreographed spectacle of bodies in space.

Francesca

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Posted in Fashion Shows, Performance



Fashion and the Humanities: Exploring New Angles

by Rizvana Bradley

I am currently completing my sixth year of Ph.D. work in the Literature Program at Duke University, and am working to develop a variety of critical approaches to theorizing fashion and the body. I have taught courses at Duke that are intended to enable students to recognize how various literary, filmic and artistic texts continue to richly shape fashion culture, and highlight the complex theoretical and social issues contemporary fashion thematizes.

Having greatly admired the academic work coming out of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, I was excited to introduce students at Duke to the field now referred to as critical fashion studies. Initially I was at a loss as to how to design such a course, as some four years ago there was nothing like the CSM model being taught in US universities. Typically courses would mention fashion incidentally, or as an object of inquiry. With respect to the latter approach, fashion is constructed either purely as an anthropological object, proposing an analysis of historical dress, or as a sociological phenomenon, providing a detailed account of subcultural styles, for example. I knew that content-wise, the course I wanted to develop would incorporate the best of these strategies, but be less a fashion history course. I was most interested in concentrating on aesthetics, and spotlighting the visionary photography and runway productions happening in fashion since the late 1980s.

From the start it was evident that students had little exposure to an international fashion culture, the richness and eclecticism of various fashion figures, image-makers, entrepreneurs and designers. The courses challenged them to think about designers’ creative efforts in refreshing new ways. The first course, “Contemporary Fashion: Image, Object, Idea,” I taught once. I then taught a course entitled, “Fashion, Literature and the Avant-Garde,” twice. The final course, “Art, Media and the Body,” placed fashion in dialogue with the contemporary arts more broadly. All of these courses include fashion in the context of discussions about contemporary artistic practices that are currently provoking key concerns in the humanities, specifically questions of discourse, identity, representation and subjectivity, as well as certain questions about aesthetics, materiality and difference. Students learn that some of the most innovative fashion designers explore these themes in complex, beautiful and challenging ways. For this reason, the readings for the courses draw from different disciplines, among them, philosophy, critical theory, science studies, and feminist theory.

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Posted in Designers, Fashion & Technology, Fashion Shows, Research/University Programmes



Elisava: Fashion, Film and Performance


Papabygote, Elisava, 2010

Another end of the year show which I visited in July was organized in conjunction with the graduation of the masters students in fashion design at Elisava, a school of design in Barcelona. It was great to witness the experimental and imaginative projects completed by the graduating class. In a testament to the multi-media nature of fashion today, the students were recquired to complete a collection, stage a performance to present their collection and produce a short video showcasing their work and the concepts behind it. Also in the spirit of collaborations, the majority of the students worked in pairs or more for the completion of the work—a system that brilliantly debunks the outdated notion of the “genius” artist (and by extension designer) for the more realistic idea of collaborative work.

The program is directed by Beatriu Malaret and Toni Miró; the year-end presentation was attended by Diana Pernet, the Parisian fashion critic and video journalist. Through Pernet, I learned that a number of different tutors from various disciplines work at Elisava (for instance, Alex Murray-Leslie of Chicks on Speed). This is probably one of the reasons for the experimental and innovative nature of the work.

One of my favourite pieces was the film and collection by Papabygote. Their short is witty and subtle and reminded me of the work of David Bestué and Marc Vives, the brilliant video artist duo, also from Barcelona.

Francesca

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Posted in Designers, Fashion Shows, Performance, Research/University Programmes


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About Fashion Projects

Fashion Projects began in New York in 2004, with the aim to create a platform to highlight the importance of fashion — especially “experimental” fashion — within current critical discourses. Through interviews with a range of artists, designers, writers and curators, as well as through other planned projects and exhibits, we hope to foster a dialogue between theory and practice across disciplines.

We are primarily a print journal, however we also publish web-based updates and interviews (a “digest” version of which you can receive by signing up to our mailing list or via our RSS feed) and are currently working on exhibits based on past and future issues. To order any of our issues visit our ordering page.

We are a nonprofit organization, which has previously received grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

We are currently a sponsored project by the New York Foundation of the Arts, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Contributions on behalf of Fashion Projects can be made payable to the “New York Foundation of the Arts,” and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  


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