Fashion and Retail Society

#techstyle at the MFA

By: Non Kuramoto

Fashion is constantly at the frontline of technological innovation. Fearless designers have always found ways to explore the potential of new technologies. #techstyle at the Museum of Fine Arts is an exhibit that showcases various examples of the crossroads between STEM and fashion.

At the entrance of the exhibit was Viktoria Modesta’s stylish prosthetic leg and a video of her dancing. Her powerful dance moves seemed to embody the power and potential of technology as we are invited into the world.

The exhibit was divided into three sections: “Performance,” designers known for their incorporation of technology, and “Production”.

The first section, “Performance”, showcased pieces that interacted with their environments. There was an Iris Van Herpen dress that looked like a splash of water molded out of plastic, a dress made of needles that moved to the music and a leather jacket that changed colors depending on environmental factors. The most exciting piece was a dress by Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz embedded with 10,000 micro LEDs. There was an iPad next to it, with which the viewer can decide which pattern appears on the dress. It made me wonder about the infinite possibilities of pattern making that would become available once the technology becomes more sophisticated.

The next room featured designers that were well known for their exploration of high-tech materials. From Rei Kawakubo’s 2D dresses to Alexander McQueen’s "Plato’s Atlantis" and Hussein Chalayan’s "Remote Control Dress," the garments were displayed in tandem to videos of their presentations, which were also technology inspired. It was remarkable to see that many of these forward thinking designers have been incorporating technology into their designs before the public interest in high-tech fashion was there.

The third and biggest room was “Production,” which showcased various pieces using different kinds of materials and processes, particularly those made in collaboration between fashion designers and researchers. Because fashion design and scientific research are both subjects generally secluded from each other, I enjoyed seeing the beautiful works; the 3D-printed cape and skirt made by Iris Van Herpen and Neri Oxman of the MIT Media Lab resembled boulders covered in barnacles that looked like the love-children between scientists and artists.

Although the arts are often stuck lower on the priority compared to STEM fields, pieces like this are telling of how truly amazing things can happen when the two work together as equals.

**For a behind-the-scenes look at #techstyle at MFA, please check out our Q&A with curator of fashion art , Michelle Finamore, in the latest issue of The Avenue, The Innovation Issue

Source: Museum of Fine Arts

 

New York Fashion Week F/W 2016/17 Collection Review

By: Yashi Gudka

New York Fashion Week is one of the four big fashion shows to look forward to every year, and this year was no different. Fall/Winter 2016-17 collections were—as a whole—very wearable. Across many of the collections were the standard dark and earthy tones associated with the seasons; still, some collections deviated from the typical colour scheme—as was the case with the collections of Christian Siriano and Delpozo. From patchwork to embroidery and tasseling, another noticeable trend was the innovative take on denim. Prints, fur and the classic combination of black and white all plentifully appeared on the New York runways.

While there were so many shows at NYFW F/W 2016-17, my favourite collections were Proenza Schouler, Delpozo, Sally LaPointe, Reem Acra and Rodarte.

Proenza Schouler

Known for sophisticated and refined garments, Proenza Schouler defines the cool city girl—consistent in this season's collection. The collection consisted of a mostly neutral palette—reminiscent of eggshells—with the rare pop of chemical red and yellow. All outfits were perfectly tailored, with a plethora of relaxed trousers and a mix of midi and maxi skirts. A predominant criss-cross design gave a slightly edgy, athletic flair to each of the pieces. Accessories were minimalist and neutral-coloured, and the models wore black tipped boots.

Delpozo

In my opinion, Delpozo seems to be Eastern-influenced with its floral prints and flared kimono-like sleeves. The colour scheme was an eclectic mix of royal blue, deep red, yellow and bronze. Despite the contrasting combination of colours, the collection was quite cohesive . The flared sleeves created a strong look, which was then softened by floral minimalistic designs. The most beautiful part of the collection was the appearance of the long flower appliquéd gloves that really “feminized” the collection.

Sally DuPointe

Sally DuPointe stood out as one of the most wearable collections at NYFW. The collection was characteristic to the usual narrative of Fall-Winter collections with coats, chunky sweaters, fur, pleats, midi skirts and dresses. It completely oozed sleek and sexy. Instead of displaying the mix of wintry colours throughout the show, the collection transitioned from one colour to another. Sally DuPointe is a perfect example of classic fall/winter aesthetic done right.

Reem Accra

The first thing that I think that comes to mind about this collection is that it is pure sexiness. Flowy dress after flowy dress, everything was designed and produced with utmost attention to detail. The collection largely resembled lingerie and gave a fierce burlesque-like impression. Reem Accra’s unusual venture into dark and sultry pieces capped off with her signature pretty pastel dresses.

Source: Vogue.co.uk

PFW 2016/17: Paris Fashion Week or Punks of Fashion Week?

By:Non Kuramoto

Twice a year when Paris Fashion Week rolls around, I am hit by a strange feeling of surprise—Although I feel as though I should not be, I am regularly taken aback by the number of designers that infuse our world with new blood each season. It was incredibly difficult to choose my favorites. How can I forgo touching on Chanel or Vivienne Westwood—both designed by people who shaped the fashion world today, and continue to be hipper than any of us. Still, shows from fashion houses such as Loewe with J. W. Anderson have paved a path for fellow young designers. Paris Fashion Week offered me just too many options. 

To make things a little easier, I chose to focus on punk influence in the current fashion world. I'm not just thinking punk rock style—as Vivienne Westwood would be at the top of that list—but the designers who have used this season to put up their dukes up to fashion and made us question even, what is fashion? 

Comme Des Garçons

Rei Kawakubo is no newcomer to destroying the fashion status-quo. “Imagining punks in the 18th century, which was a time of so many revolutions,” Kawakubo hits us with extreme decadence featuring wildly blooming flowers that seems to say, fashion has hit its current high, and must wilt in order to re-bloom. Her pieces are obviously not wearable—I mean, if you think they are, then more power to you—and are statements more than anything. Needless to say, they’re all sculpturally impressive pieces. The 18th century influences are apparent in the rococo style floral print, corsetry and armor-like details. The huge frills and exaggerated shoulders seem almost satirical of what “high-artistic-fashion” has become. The models, marching down the runway to “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” are simultaneously the clowns and warriors of fashion as a form of art. Kawakubo does not give us any answers, but a  pretty optimistic seeming nudge towards fashion's time to reconfigure itself.  

Vetements

Vetements, a collective led by Demna Gvasalia, has been shooting up the fashion ladder as the new cool kid on the block. The brand’s ability to create high fashion out of street style has provoked so many designers, from old to new, to follow suit. This season, he set out to the push the envelope further. For starters, the show was cast on Instagram—which is not unheard of, but rare to see it done all the way through. Obscenities printed on tops seemed ironic given the setting—a church. Their garments were an edgy riff on school uniforms, with plaid, button ups, trousers and jackets coming in a variety of materials and silhouettes—a likely ode to the young people affected in the Paris attacks this past fall. Unlike Comme Des Garçons, Vetements keeps their clothes wearable for the most part. As Kawakubo stirs up the conversation through an artful PSA, Vetements—ambassadors of the social media age—is shifting the attitude from within.   

Saint Laurent

It is no secret that I am obsessed with Hedi Slimane. He and Alessandro Michele, are two designers that make my heart sing time and time again. (The rumor about his departure from Saint Laurent seemed to ruin the balance of my life. But for now, he has graced us with new works with no confirmation of the rumor, so I can continue breathing.) My personal preference aside, Slimane never ceases to surprise and set high standards, both technically and creatively, for all designers. The presentation was in a mansion with models walking down the staircase as the look numbers were called out, taking influence from the 80’s. Yes, many designers have been looking to the 80’s recently, but this is Hedi Slimane we’re talking about. He does't let us off the hook so easily, and his version of the 80’s was an impeccably built collection that paid homage to Yves Saint Laurent, yet was fully infused with the punk rock chicness that Slimane does so well. His ability to take a theme that is beginning to seem almost overdone, and then infuse it with something new is refreshing, especially when trends seem to get overspread and overused too quickly. It’s what the dream version of the 80’s we all wished we lived in looks like. The last look’s huge red coat seemed to be Slimane saying “I dare you to get on this level.” 

Some people may claim fashion is dead, but I think these designers can vouch that the only thing that’s on its way to the grave is "fashion as we knew it."

Sources: Vogue Runway