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DECONSTRUCTION

In the late 1960s, “deconstructionism” was the brainchild of French philosopher Jacques Derrida who named the process of breaking down established forms. The term is normally applied to text but also describes breaking down conventions and normal boundaries. His idea was to contradict, challenge and destabilise the universal truth. His work is also largely referred as explicit influence in architecture (in the form of deconstructivism), music and arts, with many artists and art critics, continually referring explicitly his influence on their work.

His work is also largely referred as explicit influence in architecture (in the form of deconstructivism), music and arts, with many artists and art critics, continually referring explicitly his influence on their work.

So, what is deconstruction fashion? It’s a fashion item that looks unfinished and the designer is still in the midst of experimenting with the product. Normally, the fashion item has exposed seams, raw edges, displacement of certain component and some sort of treatment to make it look distressed. Deconstruction fashion is meant to challenge the traditional perception of beauty.

At the same time, it aims to destabilise fashion with impeccable garment finishing.

In “Deconstruction Fashion: The Making of Unfinished, Decomposing and Re-Assembled Clothes,” Alison Gill uses the idea of decontruction borrowed from Jacques Derrida philosophy. Gill suggests the fashion style of deconstruction, called “Le Destroy,” by the French, is an intentional effort at unfinished forms that are coming apart, recycled or transparent. Rei Kawakubo, Karl Lagerfeld, Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten are the designers in this category. The basis of all decontructioned clothing is aestheticized non-functionality that amounts to anti-fashion.

In philosophy, deconstruction reveals the instability of meaning of words and phrases. The deconstuction of style was first observed in communication design in the Cranbrook Acadmey. A 1988 exhibition at MOMA about deconstructivist architecture brought the term into larger consciousness. Gill suggests that Martin Margiela is an example of deconstruction architecture of the body. His clothing is composed of parts of other clothes, linings, zippers or fixtures from many places with transparent assembly. “Margiela literally brings the secrets to the surface.” Deconstruction is also a living critique of the fashion system.

Decontructivist designers reveal fashion’s charms – ornament, glamour, spectacle, illusion, fantasy, and exclusion. Importantly however, the designer is not just not destoying. It is instead a simultaneous “forming and deforming, constructing and destroying, making and undoing clothes.” The design and anti-design are equally essential.

 

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PHILOSOPHY

FASHION 

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DECONSTRUCTION

 

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MAISON

MARTIN

MARGIELA

 

Maison Martin Margiela FASHION DESIGNER Martin Margiela is a designer whose work occupies a unique position in the contemporary fashion world. The consistency of his vision has made him one of the most influential and iconoclastic designers of the last decade. Born in Limbourg, Belgium in 1959, he studied at the Royal Academy Antwerp, and was one of the first wave of talent to emerge from the city in the early 1980s (known as the 'Antwerp Six'). In 1984 he began a 3-year assistantship with Jean Paul Gaultier. He then founded his own enterprise, 'Maison Martin Margiela' in Paris in 1988 showing his first womenswear collection (Spring-Summer 1989) that year. Margiela staged his first collections in unusual locations such as an abandoned metro or a circus tent. The fashion press labelled his fashion mood 'deconstruction' - an attempt to disclose the process and craft of making clothes. Martin Margiela eschewed the cult of personality that surrounds many designers and instead FOSTEREDa 'cult of impersonality', a further deconstruction of the conventions of the fashion industry. His appointment as head designer of Hermes womenswear in 1997, a time when big name appointments were in profusion, was considered very refreshing. In 2000 the first Margiela shop opened in Tokyo, followed in 2002 by Brussels and Paris. Each carry the full range of Margiela products including footwear (label '22'), publications and objects. Margiela has participated in many exhibitions, including an ambitious installation as part of 'Radical Fashion' at London's Victoria & Albert Museum in 2001. In December 2009, a press release was issued to say that Martin Margiela had left the brand that he had created.

 

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VIKTOR AND ROLF

 

Striving artists and assiduous designers have sought, especially since the 1980s, to discover a common ground between the supposed antipodes of art and fashion. The cause bas become clamorous, convening around the body and important issues of identity in body articutation. Yet, for these artists and designers and--now, in their wake--art critics and historians, the assumption is always that art and fashion are two opposed visual forces that can only be occasionally reconciled when a woman artist addresses apparel as a metaphor of her body or an autobiographical artist rnakes suits out of the same felt he uses to fashion others sculptures because the material implies warmth and protection.

 

Another brilliant, if more modest, production by Viktor & Rolf is their numbered, timited edition (2,500) PLASTIC SHOPPING BAG. Not only does a concept make fashion and art coincide in this gesture, but there is also in this uncomplicated work a purity and simplicity characteristic of Viktor & Rolf. Similarly, the recent installation ‘Launch’ (1996) at Torch Gallery, Amsterdam identifies Viktor & Rolf's identification with the full spectrum of fashion. The artists describe of the installation, "For one instant, we create a dreamy situation where everything is forced to our will." To see this white-cube installation, we know that art and fashion share the ideal of the "dreamy," controlled, and perfected world. Art no less than fashion, certainly in such examples as the deliberate installations of Russian Constructivism or the modern design of 20th century abstraction and its receiving- rooms in galleries and museums, demands the pure space of dreaming. Viktor & Rolf set up a sequence of fashion's system, including a runway or catwalk, sketching and draping session, and photo shoot with seamless paper behind. In this clarified space, Viktor & Rolf presented the process of fashion, all parts familiar, but the whole seldom seen in an art gallery. But the artists achieve not the process, but the visible integrity of fashion, its comprehensive vision as a creative endeavor. The elements that we see unfold over time, from the design of the dress to its presentation on the runway, are here condensed into one moment and fashion becomes a distilled and powerful image. Typical of Viktor & Rolf, the condensation of all the elements of fashion into one place makes them both more critical and more glamorous. In no way are fashion's aura and magnetism diminished. On the contrary, this installation demonstrates fashion's power, its transcendence, its presence to be "art" in the awesome sense and "art" in the common-sense of late twentieth-century culture. The mechanism of fashion has been part of Viktor & Rolf's work since their first collection shown at the competition ‘Salon Européen des Jeunes Stylistes’ (1993). To present art as a collection, as opposed to the high-bred supposition of individual works of art, is immediately to accept a contemporary convention for our seeing. Culturally, we want to see thematically and often in terms larger than one. Viktor & Rolf used pre-existing fragments as the collage medium to create new clothing. Referring, of course, to the prevailing interest in deconstruction in fashion and the visual arts in 1993, Viktor & Rolf insisted in their intermediate world between art and fashion on the collage aspect of their work. The effect is to see, as in early Picasso collages, a new order emerging from the familiar pieces of old style. Fashion, which has in modern times avoided the distressed or the recycled, reverted to its own tradition in being ready to accommodate pastiche and its accompanying senses of memory and ambiguity.

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COMME

DES

GARÇONS

 

Kawakubo was born in Tokyo in 1942. Having studied fine arts and literature at Keio University, post graduation she worked at a textile company before taking the then unusual career of freelance stylist in 1967. Comme des Garçons was created by Kawakubo in Tokyo in 1969 and established as a company a few years later. Despite the fact that Kawakubo had never had any formal fashion training, Comme des Garçons clothing became hugely successful all round Japan in the 1970s. Throughout the 1980s the label’s dismantled approach to fashion became known worldwide. When there were four fashion capitals in the world; London, Paris, Milan and New York, Japanese Comme des Garçons' mantra of monochromatic colours, surreal silhouettes and a mission to turn conventional pattern cutting on its head, broke all the rules. Kawakubo’s designs have provided inspiration for a list of well respected creatives including Belgians Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester and Austrian minimalist HELMUT LANG. The Comme des Garçons’ breed of anti-fashion resulted in garments that were frequently deconstructed and often solemn in feel. Early designs used materials swathed around the body with frayed or unfinished edges; shapes often focused on holes or asymmetric silhouettes missing a key element such as a sleeve. During the 1980s the colour palette consisted mostly of black, dark grey and white. Kawakubo’s use of sedate and distressed fabrics during a period of opulent colours and commercial buoyancy caused a major stir in the fashion industry. In spite of, or many would say because of, this distinctly different approach to fashion Kawakubo’s label, along with those of her contemporaries Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, became hugely popular. Though originally famous for her work using dark palettes, Kawakubo later began using a brighter paint box stating, “black is no longer strong and has become harder to us”. Modern Comme des Garçons designs often include a mix of bright and sombre colours, peculiarly placed details such as pockets and exaggerated features such as elongated sleeves. Rather than echoing and emphasizing the curves of the body, Kawakubo wraps it in swathes of fabric, the voluminous forms are accessorised with flat menswear inspired shoes. She said; “I think that pieces that are difficult to wear are very interesting, because if people make the effort and wear them, then they can feel a new form of ENERGY and a certain strength. I want to give people that chance.” Kawakubo, a truly intellectual designer, has always been involved in all areas of her business, not only in DESIGNING CLOTHING and accessories. She has a large input into Comme des Garçons’ GRAPHIC DESIGNS, advertising and shop interiors believing that all are important in creating a cohesive vision. The Comme des Garçons shop in Aoyama Tokyo has been lauded for its sloping blue dotted glass windows. Kawakubo published her own bi-annual magazine in the early 1990s. Called ‘Six’ (standing for sixth sense) it consisted mainly of photographs and images that Kawakubo found inspiring and very little text. Kawakubo has also been able to recognise and nurture new and young talent, allowing them to design under the umbrella of Comme des Garçons while also using their own names, a virtually unheard of occurrence in fashion circles where designers must forgo their own name to work at large companies. Both Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara have founded their own much acclaimed labels under Comme des Garçons, both were previously involved in designing the casual women’s range Comme des Garçons Tricot. A protégé of Kawakubo’s Junya Watanabe graduated from Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo in 1984 before beginning his patternmaking apprenticeship at Comme des Garçons.Watanabe, like his mentor Kawakubo, is acclaimed for designing innovative clothing. His particular interest lies in technological and synthetic fabrics, as found in his SS01 collection. Watanabe is considered to be a ‘techno couture’ designer creating curiously structural clothes using modern materials. His designs adhere to the Comme des Garçons aesthetic of clear lines, pure and sometimes stark shapes and avant-garde tailoring.

 

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