Tag Archives: Chloe
Karl Lagerfeld’s return collection following Martine Sitbon
It was confirmed last month that Clare Waight Keller will be replacing Hannah McKibbon in what will be yet another questionable transition for Chloe. McKibbon pushed the brand towards an immensely sophisticated wit and feminist sensibility that seemed to reconcile their reputation for girly/feminine clothes with a genuinely progressive direction, with the exit of Ralph Toledano that direction changes again. For the past decade the brand’s core values and customer’s expecations have largely been defined by the contributions of former directors Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo. But Chloe is much older with many different iterations over the years. Perhaps if one looks only a little farther back they might be able to find a new way forward.
The current Cooper Hewitt exhibit, Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, could not have a come at a better time; the artist’s simultaneous dress has found itself strown far and across the Fall/Winter 2011 collections, showcasing her vivid use of color blocking, cubist rendering of the body, and focused application of craft. The Delaunay parallel speaks to a renewed interest in ornamentation, prodding designers toward a new language for decoration and embellishment. Delaunay had swam against the French fashion current developing her artistic dress, determined to practice a dress reform of her own. Purposely avoiding the convention and fashion cycle that dictated popular dress, Delaunay assembled her own vocabulary and visual codes within clothes. While designers have just rediscovered the benefits of reduction and restraint, the artistic dress and dress reform of the early 20th century and their expressions of progress in defiance of tradition seem all too appropriate as fashion now begins to reconstitute a sense of richness and craft.
While Delaunay is perhaps the most visible and recognized artist-turned-dress reformer, a look into the genre with a broader view reveals a much larger discussion and body of work…
The illustrations for two designs by Charles Kleibacker highlight his strict application of geometry to female anatomy, suggesting that such a direct design concept is, in and of itself, all that is really necessary.
An iconic Valentina image: perhaps no other couturier built such an elitist reputation by subscribing to the sparest sensibility – allowing the idea of exclusion in its purest form to dictate the aesthetic and the etiquette.
While many collections took their cue from YSL’s romance and the exihibit of the designer’s work that was held at the Petite Palais – a perfectly reactionary move against overhyped “minimalism” – there were several designers who seemed to be genuinely interested in pursuing a calmer course. Maybe the term “minimalism” is a misnomer, it isn’t really about the “least possible”, is it? In the 90′s, designers stripped their clothes down to their most abstract forms, removing centuries of convention of what clothes are supposed to be and becoming a gateway for the rest of the industry (like most modernist aesthetics) into lazy design. But the collections from New York and Paris are very designed, with the rich fabrics and the luxurious details, there is nothing minimal about them. Maybe there is no noble philosophy behind them, they are not an ascetic grasp for purity, and maybe they are actually bit common at surface, but they are certainly easy to wear.
Historically it’s been an American tenet that clothes are to be designed with ease and practicality. No, Americans didn’t invent ready-to-wear or sportswear, but their predilection for them has pointed towards an unfettered design vocabulary and clothes that have no use for any excess concept. Beyond ruffles or eccentric prints, embroideries or gems, there are means for aesthetics inherent in clothes themselves, in their seams, the fabric, and in their application to everyday life. Minimal? Not exactly. Pragmatic? Absolutely. Maybe it is enough, more than enough, to dress a woman well.
Definition of PRAGMATISM
: a practical approach to problems and affairs
: an American movement in philosophy founded by C. S. Peirce and William James and marked by the doctrines that the meaning of conceptions is to be sought in their practical bearings, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief
– Merriam Webster dictionary