Saturday, March 19, 2011

fashion and the avant-garde

What will we wear in the future? Probably not so many logos.

The elite fashion world is showing signs of leaving them behind. The newest fashions from Hermes have only a tiny H stitched into the center of the button. Dolce and Gabbana are chucking their D&G label because it's been ripped off one too many times. As soon as the elite lose interest, we know a fashion trend is on the way out. Is haute couture dead? I doubt it. Paris won't let itself grow old. Some people were shocked when the staid houses of Dior and Givenchy hired avant-garde English designers John Galliano and Alexander McQueen to head their houses. But this is how it always has been. The elite aligns with the avant garde to create the new, and both embrace outrage.

A new word has cropped up in discussions among many of avant-garde clothing designers—intelligent. The Japanese desigi Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, the Belgian designer Marti Margiela, Helmut Lang, and Ann Demeulemeester have all been making clothes that make you think about the way they are structured, their relation to the body, and our aesthetic presumptions. Margiela is the most avant-garde. His clothing is a half-made assembly of visible seams and recycled fabric. One gets to play an intellectual game with the clothes and look fabulous.


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