It's 1221

Fashion Flavors: Earthy in Brazil and Tech-Savvy in London
19 January, 2009, 3:56 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized

If 1221 were to stage a fashion show, I know the models would be dressed in whimsical looks of light chiffon adorned with ribbons in their hair and icy makeup. It would be very nymph-like and as if the girls were tree fairies channeling Alexander McQueen’s inspiration for spring 2009. The perfect set would not be a prison of cement or a fancy-schmancy palais in Paris; it would be the great outdoors.


Redley fashion show in Rio

Redley fashion show in Rio

What a sigh of relief when I read this morning that the Brazilian mega-brand Redley presented under the forest canopy with the sunlight trickling down; sounds spiritual, no? Adding to the effect were smoke machines producing an ethereal aspect that probably made the editors and fashion folk feel rejuvenated—especially after they trekked up the hills and into the woodlands.

Then there is the topic of fashion week in locales that the average person doesn’t even know about. Sure there are nay-sayers who believe designers coming out of Rio, for example, are rehashing ideas from Europe and America, but when you get Brazilians Carlos Miele and Alexandre Herchcovitch and Chilean Maria Cornejo, there’s a little bit more than the same-old-same-old going on. For the record, I do not and will not ever ascribe to the school of thought that believes that there are no new ideas; I believe in the artist and never-ending possibilities and avenues of expression.

Miele’s spring 2009 show from New York was dazzling, to say the least AND it was a sumptuous presentation of his Brazilian roots—with a tribute performance by Seu Jorge (way good, btw). The aesthetic vibe of the show was clearly derived from the tropical rain forest and the clothing featured stones from Brazil. New York just so happens to be the biggest international stage for any designer and it’s the place to be when a company is ready to move up in terms of production, connections, and gain access to all the conduits to make things happen. We live in a highly interconnected world and with the Obama excitement in the air, I keep thinking back to yesterday’s “We Are One” celebration. It’s diminishing and arrogant to pen non-White designers as second-class wannabes. Yes, everyone takes a little from here and there (open a costume history book, then go to the mall), and it works because a designer like Miele is an international citizen. How is he going to stand-out in the crowded marketplace? He’s going to show his individuality and, guessing that he’s like me and that his heritage cannot be isolated from who he is, he adds a “Brazilian flavor” to his work.

 Hussein Chalayan has a different flavor altogether—he thinks with a “technological mind” and that is his flavor.


Models Charlotte di Calypso and Diana Moldovan Light Up Runway

Models Charlotte di Calypso and Diana Moldovan Light Up Runway

At his fall 2008 show, models Charlotte di Calypso and Diana Moldovan were lit-up with L.E.D. lights, other collections feature mechanical skirts and pieces that move. Chalayan produces commercial clothing, but it’s clear that his passion is for these eccentric non-fashion items; I call them non-fashion because they are more easily categorized as straight-up pieces of artwork.

And that is what the exhibit opening at London’s Design Museum on the 22nd is all about.

“‘You’re not going to see any coats — nothing commercial. These are my clothes in their purist form, the monumental pieces,’” Chalayan told WWD. The exhibit features 35 of his most daring designs over the course of the last 15 years.

If that is not enough to hop a plane to the UK, listen to this: the mannequins all work and do different tasks like watering trees, painting, cleaning, and having a coffee break, as reported to WWD.

“‘I want the audience to see that a lot of things in life are interrelated,’” he added. “‘I love all the connections in the world. We’re brought up to think we’re isolated—an idea that’s a bit dull, and just not true.’”

He doesn’t sound that nutty to me, and the exhibit couldn’t be happening at a more propitious time. 

Deluca continues his residency at Spaceland tonight
On Deck Tonight:
Rocco Deluca continues his residency at Spaceland






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