The mind-body relationship

Fashion is more than just clothes. I think most appreciators of the craft, and anyone who has given some thought to the matter beyond getting dressed in the morning, would agree. Certainly within the art/design world, and in the context of why I study apparel design, this definition of what fashion is not underlies everything.

But what is it, exactly? What does it have the capacity to inform, suggest, reveal? How does it specifically transcend bodily adornment and connect to the intellectual, even spiritual?

"If humankind eats what it is, it often thinks what it wears."
-S. A. M. Adshead

A huge variety of sources have been informing my thoughts lately... Fashion theory books, the latest shows, articles in my English/Medicine hybrid class on the way the mind-body dichotomy lessens the medical field's understanding of suffering, my own design work in the new semester...

The Fall 2010 presentations have produced some spectacular aesthetics spanning three cities thus far. Rather than try to encapsulate them all in this post, I'm going to go with this conceptual train of thoughts and highlight a few collections that have excited both visually and intellectually.

A purely aesthetic freight may follow in a day or two :)

- FALL 2010 -

Starting with the most recent....Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons! A designer I respect immensely, not only for her daring sculpural and asymmetrical moves, but for her highly developed thought-processes. She may leak only a word (or two, as Style.com is keen on pointing out), but the depth is always obvious here.

Described as "internal decoration," I can definitely see where she's going here. The odd shaping and collage of forms is not something you would ordinarily find on the body. Yet they aren't completely radical or futuristic in any way. The innovative yet organic feeling can be derived from something that is innately familiar- what's inside of us. Why should our skin get all the adornment, right?

Look at this incredible manipulation! Most designers would fall apart trying to put these together (no pun intended) in some cohesive way. But it's Kawakubo's intense vision and conceptualizing that carries the techniques.

An old exhibition catalogue I read lately highlighting the designer actually spoke about the "synthesis of comprehension and aesthetic" in Kawakubo's work. If only this marriage was more frequently discussed in the fashion industry!

The global-warming commentary provided by Charles Anastase isn't obvious from the get-go with these above looks, which is where I think he most succeeds. I admire his willingness to tackle the political on a higher level- through concept, this one being the mixing-up of seasons.

Some of his other designs were too literal, which didn't serve his clever idea or the eye. The fresh unexpected cuts expressed the unnatural blossoming much better than the blotchy prints or stifling ruffly poofs. And I like ruffles.

Ah, Rodarte. Their keenness of vision and unusual ability to realize their avant-garde designs always get me, if the romantic sensibility doesn't first. They dreamt up a series of sleepwalkers (pun intended this time) based on a trip to a border-city in Mexico. And that is what separates them from the pack. So many other designers would have simply stayed with the surface aesthetics and not even tried to push the concept further. I'm looking at you...and what's this? You again?

Anyway, the faint florals and quaint wrapping came together quite simply. I marvel at the unpretentious way such delicate and unique separates often look like they can just be pulled on. Did I mention I absolutely love the wrapping? And not just because I used a similar technique in my latest illustrated collection. Of course not.

Love. Something about swathing the body with such protective delicacy really suggests some kind of mind-body barrier, to me. Be it further separation, or an investigation of potential breaking-down of such barriers, is the in eye of the beholder.

Sorry about the infrequent posts lately! The spring semester just started last week, not that it's any kind of excuse for lack of inspiration. But I promise- more to come, soon!

In the meantime, please offer up any thoughts you have on the collections, and the nature of fashion at large! I hope I wasn't too abstract with my ideas in this post. Would love to hear what you guys think.



Julianne said...

comme never seizes to amaze me. so beautiful!

Oh to be a Muse said...

i think the dresses for the oscars aren't always as risky as they are for other award shows. but let me know what you think when you see all the dresses! thanks for commenting.


Anonymous said...

great pictures, i love some of the colours that are coming to the fore this spring...
i think fashion often gets dismissed as being shallow: but i read a lot of what-i-wore-today blogs and love the creativity and self-expression that goes into some people's choice of attire. i guess it's the difference between "fashion" (and wearing what someone dictates as "fashionable") and style (and choosing what you want to wear)

Tee said...

That's very true, Rachel. Once individual thought starts playing into the idea of dressing, it takes it to a new level. I guess what I was mainly saying was from a designer's perspective, where thinking and making choices are just as- if not more important! It's good to hear another perspective.

Diya said...

LOVED that white/pearl dress from rodarte. sooo up my alley.

ps. if you have a minute please check out my blog: