Frederic Sanchez

déc. 112017

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LE VOYAGEUR 00.48

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ERDEM x H&M Exclusive Fashion Event in Los Angeles – October 2017 – Composition originale

Miu Miu women’s spring summer 2018 – Composition originale

Roberto Cavalli women’s spring summer 2018 fashion show – Composition originale

Salvatore Ferragamo women’s spring summer 2018 fashion show – Composition originale

MSGM women’s spring summer 2018 fashion show – Composition originale

Prada women’s spring summer 2018 fashion show – Composition originale

Victoria Beckham spring summer 2018 fashion show – Composition originale

nov. 272017

Miu Miu resort 2018 fashion show – Composition originale

nov. 272017

27/11/2017
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FILM SONORE 24 31.11

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Miu Miu spring summer 2018

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Comme des Garçons women’s spring summer 2018

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Nina Ricci women’s spring summer 2018

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Sonia Rykiel spring summer 2018

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Prada women’s spring summer 2018

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Marni women’s spring summer 2018

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MSGM women’s spring summer 2018

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Roberto Cavalli women’s spring summer 2018

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Missoni women’s spring summer 2018

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Erdem spring summer 2018

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Mary Katrantzou spring summer 2018

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Anna Sui spring summer 2018

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Victoria Beckham spring summer 2018

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Miu Miu Resort spring summer 2018

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Dior Homme spring summer 2018

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Comme des Garçons Homme spring summer 2018

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Prada men’s spring summer 2018

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MSGM men’s spring summer 2018

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Marni men’s spring summer 2018

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Prada Resort spring summer 2018

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nov. 242017

i-D – 24 Novembre 2017


jil sander, grande prêtresse du minimalisme, s’expose pour la première fois

Sophie Abriat

Une nouvelle exposition célèbre les 40 ans de mode de celle que l’on surnommait dans les années 90 « The Queen of clean ». Le directeur artistique Marc Ascoli et l’illustrateur sonore Frédéric Sanchez qui ont travaillé à ses côtés racontent l’exposition.

Vidéos des défilés, vêtements, photographies de mode, campagnes de pub, parfums et cosmétiques, bande-son signé Frédéric Sanchez, salle dédiée à l’architecture des boutiques : l’exposition est une immersion totale dans l’univers de Jil Sander. A cela s’ajoute même un jardin (de l’artiste Norbert Schoerner) réalisé à partir de paysages filmés par des drones depuis une propriété du nord de l’Allemagne, à Plöner See, où la créatrice a l’habitude de se ressourcer. Une section est également réservée aux liens entre la styliste et l’art contemporain (notamment à travers le mouvement « Arte Povera » représenté entre autres par les artistes Mario Merz and Alighiero e Boetti). Très tôt, la créatrice a collectionné des œuvres de Robert Ryman, Cy Twombly, Ad Reinhardtouou encore Mario Merz (avec qui elle a d’ailleurs collaboré dans le cadre de la Biennale de Florence « Looking at Fashion » en 1996). C’est le Musée des arts appliqués de Francfort, un bâtiment construit en 1984 et dessiné par l’architecte New-Yorkais Richard Meier qui abrite cette rétrospective. Il fallait bien une exposition d’une telle ampleur pour cette adepte du minimalisme qui a transformé notre façon de nous habiller.

Le curating – élaboré par la créatrice elle-même et Matthias Wagner K, directeur du Musée – recrée l’expérience Jil Sander. Cette dernière ne souhaitait pas une simple juxtaposition de silhouettes, déconnectées de leur contexte, sinon une expérience totale. Les deux partenaires ont travaillé pendant 18 mois à l’élaboration de cette exposition. Pour l’occasion, la styliste s’est replongée pour la première fois dans ses archives. Elle a demandé à Frédéric Sanchez – auteur des bandes-son de ses défilés depuis le début des années 1990 – de créer l’environnement sonore de l’exposition. « J’ai travaillé sur l’idée du déplacement du son à travers 10 programmations informatiques. Quand on se déplace, les sons évoluent – comme un nuage du son ou un parfum du son. Une forme d’architecture dans l’architecture, indique l’illustrateur sonore. Ensemble, nous avons pensé le son comme une enveloppe protectrice, une coque, qui accompagnerait les visiteurs. Comme quelque chose de tactile aussi. Cette exposition est une expérience sensorielle, une vraie expérience de mode : tous les sens sont mis à contribution. Je suis très touché que Jil m’ait donné cette opportunité car c’est rare de pouvoir aller ainsi jusqu’au bout des choses ».

Des photos signées par les plus grands photographes de mode avec qui la créatrice a collaboré – Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Nick Knight, Craig McDean, David Sims, Mario Sorrenti ou encore Jean-François Lepage – sont projetées sur les murs d’une salle immense. A la direction artistique de ces campagnes de pub : Marc Ascoli qui a travaillé pour Jil Sander pendant 12 ans à partir du début des années 1990. « C’était très émouvant de découvrir l’exposition et de revoir pour l’occasion l’équipe de Jil de l’époque. C’est une personnalité charismatique, qui met beaucoup d’intensité dans son travail. Il y a peu de femmes dans le secteur de la mode qui ont eu l’ambition de créer un tel univers. Cette exposition est une consécration de son travail », indique le directeur artistique. Dans l’exposition, les imagées créées par Marc Ascoli sont célébrées (on note la présence de quelques clichés jusqu’ici jamais dévoilés) : des images influentes et intemporelles. On pense entre autres à ces deux campagnes de pub (devenues aujourd’hui des posts classiques sur Instagram et Pinterest, indicateur de leur popularité !) : celle photographiée par Craig McDean avec Amber Valletta (automne-hiver 95-96) et celle shootée par David Sims avec Angela Lindvall (automne-hiver 97-98). « Ces images fonctionnent parce qu’elles sont réelles et incarnées. Ce sont justement cette émotion et cette incarnation qui sont recherchées aujourd’hui », souligne Marc Ascoli.

C’est en 1973 en Allemagne que la styliste lance sa première collection. Elle la présente dans la boutique qu’elle a ouverte cinq ans plus tôt à Hambourg. Coupes nettes, tissus de qualité (Jil Sander a suivi des études d’ingénieur textile), monochromes : la patte de celle que l’on surnommera dans les années 1990 « The Queen of clean » pour la précision et la pureté de son design est déjà là. En 1979, elle développe sa ligne de parfums ; « Woman Pure » et « Man Pure » deviendront des classiques. La créatrice invente un nouveau langage vestimentaire, définit une certaine façon de s’habiller. Jil Sander c’est « une signature » indique Marc Ascoli, « une grammaire » renchérit Frédéric Sanchez. Elle crée pour habiller les femmes indépendantes, actives et les invite à se libérer de l’ornement, du décoratif. « Si vous portez Jil Sander, vous n’êtes pas à la mode, vous êtes moderne », disait-elle à l’époque. Ses principes de conception – l’harmonie des proportions, la tridimensionnalité, l’euphémisme – constituent les bases de son design. L’habillement est chez elle le reflet de la conscience de soi. Pour Marc Ascoli « Jil Sander a vocation à raconter une attitude et pas seulement des vêtements. Avec elle, la personnalité des femmes est plus importante que les vêtements. »

En 1989, forte de son succès, son entreprise est cotée à la bourse de Francfort, elle défile alors deux fois par an à Milan. Le pull en V en cachemire et la parfaite chemise blanche deviennent ses best-sellers. En 1993, en collaboration avec l’architecte américain Michael Gabellini, la styliste imagine son premier magasin phare de 1000 mètres carrés à Paris, au 50 Avenue Montaigne. En 1999, elle vend sa marque à Prada, pour finalement quitter le navire six mois plus tard, suite à des désaccords avec Patrizio Bertelli, PDG et mari de Miuccia Prada. Coup de théâtre, elle revient en 2003 mais quitte une seconde fois l’entreprise en 2004. Raf Simons devient alors directeur artistique de la marque, perpétuant la mode minimaliste de la créatrice allemande. Il restera aux commandes du prêt-à-porter féminin et masculin jusqu’en 2012. En 2006, Prada vend la société à un groupe d’investissement britannique ; elle sera rachetée en 2008 par un groupe japonais. C’est aujourd’hui Lucie (ex codirectrice artistique de la mode femme chez Dior) et Luke Meier qui sont en charge de la direction artistique de la marque. « C’est un certain regard qui est donné à voir avec cette exposition. Un regard intimiste qui ne s’adressait en définitive qu’à un certain public à l’heure où la mode est aujourd’hui une industrie globalisée. C’est aussi une bonne leçon pour aujourd’hui : quand on veut plaire à tout le monde, on prend le risque de ne plaire à personne », souligne Marc Ascoli. « C’est une vraie proposition sur comment on peut montrer de la mode. Dans cette exposition, je n’ai rien senti de daté », conclut Frédéric Sanchez. L’exposition est d’ailleurs baptisée « Jil Sander : Present Tense ».

« Jil Sander: Present Tense » au Musée des arts appliqués de Francfort, jusqu’au 6 mai 2018.

nov. 142017

WWD – Novembre 2017

Vogue UK – 8 novembre 2017

Jil Sander On Her First Solo Exhibition
As Jil Sander’s first solo exhibition opens at the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, Vogue caught five minutes with the designer to ask why now was the right time to delve into the archives.

by ALICE NEWBOLD

“Matthias Wagner K repeatedly proposed the project,” Jil Sander told Vogue of the museum director’s mission to house her first retrospective in his Frankfurt establishment. “He values my work, and I felt that it could be fruitful curating it cooperatively, so I finally found time to go through my archives”.

The show, which is set to run until May 16 2018, occupies over 32,000 square feet of display space in Frankfurt’s Museum of Applied Arts. Sander “immediately felt at home in the Richard Meier building from the 1980s,” she explained. “It was exciting to use the vast space and create a symbiosis between my and Meier’s work.”

Of narrowing down the pieces to populate the space, she said: “It was a long process. I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to simply exhibit past collections, so I radically reduced the actual fashion pieces.”

“The display concentrates on three-dimensional cuts and sculptural silhouettes,” she continued. “Since I prefer to see my designs on living beings rather than mannequins, I included runway videos. Forty shows were recut in an interesting way to highlight details and create the Jil Sander atmosphere and perspective.”

Visitors can also expect flagship store architecture, interior design and beauty products which all have the same “modern design language” and “handwriting” that has stayed the same throughout her career. Shout outs also go to the artists she has collaborated with on brand imagery – Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Nick Knight, Craig McDean and David Sims – in an extra room, and Frédéric Sanchez, who she has worked with on runway sound for 27 years, has done the sound installations.

“I hope that visitors understand that the vision applies to everything in life,” she mused. The standout piece to look out for? “I don’t have a personal favourite. Everything was right in its time. But I like to see that many designs don’t look dated today.”

Wallpaper – 8 novembre 2017

Taking form: Jil Sander reflects on her new exhibition at the Museum Angewandte Kunst

As ‘Jil Sander: Present Tense’ opens at the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, Nick Vinson speaks to the legendary German designer about the impetus behind her first solo museum exhibition. The 3,000 sq m show, curated by Matthias Wagner K, takes an immersive and multisensory approach, consisting of large scale tableaux and installations that celebrate Sander’s purist, understated and elegant approach to aesthetics. The exhibition spans genres including product design, garden art, architecture and cosmetics, and concretes the designer’s status in the canon of modern design.

Nick Vinson: Why did you choose to put on this exhibition?
Jil Sander: My archive was not very organised, and an exhibition deadline was a great way to make me speed up the archive revision.

How long have you been working on it?
About 18 months.

What would you say are your design principles?
Innovative quality materials, interesting proportions, perfection in details, energising shapes and a truly three-dimensional execution.

What is Jil Sander’s concept of purism?
The desire to capture the essence of the modern moment as it unfolds season after season. Purism to me means leaving behind unnecessary historical baggage, decorations, conventions, while concentrating on truly contemporary shapes and materials. I always wanted my designs to convey a readiness and openness towards the future.

People may be surprised to learn there has always been room in your life for the baroque. How is your personal taste different from the way you express opulence in your work?
As a fashion designer I tried to do justice to individual proportions by diversifying my collections and breaking them down to multiple possible combinations. The same thing happens when I have to choose the interior design for a building. The house I live in in Hamburg was built in the historicist period at the end of the 19th century by Martin Haller. I tried to give it a modern design, but that didn’t work. So I got Renzo Mongiardino to help me. Under his tutelage I learned that all style periods have a purist version of enlightened craftsmanship and choice materials. We chose a Renaissance interior which did justice to the house and created harmony.

When I think of you I think of the perfect white shirt. What is about your shirts that make them so covetable and why are they such an object of obsession?
I have about a hundred white shirts in my wardrobe. On the one hand, the periodical revision of the outlines of the white shirt is a study in shape, workmanship and quality. On the other hand, these revisions are echoes of a changing zeitgeist. You have to refresh a classic like the white shirt all the time.

Whether it’s a white shirt or a double-faced cashmere coat, fabric development has always been an essential element of your work. Why is research and development into yarn and fabric so important?
The shape and overall look of a piece of clothing is, to a great extent, a function of the fabric. I was interested in materials which lend themselves to a sculptural use. It helps if a fabric has character, a surprising lightness or even a distinct weight. If you want to create new shapes, to start with the material is a great way to get inspired.

Everything I own from you has a special label that reads ‘Tailor Made’. Why is construction so integral to a Jil Sander garment?
If you want to avoid clothes that just cling to the body, you need sartorial construction. This includes the development of patterns, innovative inlay and fine-tuning through repeated fitting. The result will be an autonomous shape that moves in dynamic harmony with the body.

You once said you had a marriage of aesthetics with your architect Michael Gabellini. This exhibition celebrates your creative collaboration with him, as well as with photographers like Peter Lindbergh, Irving Penn, David Sims and Craig McDean, sound artist Frédéric Sanchez and designers like Fabien Baron, Ezra Petronio and Peter Schmidt, who worked with you on your logo and perfume bottles. How do you choose them and what is the collaborative process like?
I like to collaborate with people whose creative work I find interesting. The collaboration itself is a process. You need to find a common language.

The last time I saw you we spoke about your garden in the north of Germany; your exhibition covers aesthetics, material and form of fashion and product design, architecture and garden art. Tell me about working with Penelope Hobhouse on that.
I was inspired by the famous Sissinghurst rose gardens. Our garden project encompassed the design of the surrounding landscape. It is an attempt to bridge the concept of the protected Renaissance theme garden and the English idea of a democratic landscape.

Frankfurter Allgemeine – 6 novembre 2017

Jil Sander in Frankfurt : Die Schau und die Scheue

Der Mode ganz nah: Die ersten Besucher in der Ausstellung am Freitagabend. Bild: Helmut Fricke
Modedesigner locken überall auf der Welt Scharen von Besuchern in die Museen. Schafft es das
Frankfurter Museum Angewandte Kunst mit Jil Sander?

Ihr Auftritt am Donnerstagvormittag in Frankfurt erinnert an damals nach ihren Schauen in Mailand.
Nachdem das letzte Model zum Finale vom Laufsteg Richtung Backstage abgetreten war, stand Jil
Sander für gewöhnlich von einem Moment auf den anderen dort. Sie zeigte sich dann kurz den
Fotografen, und weg war sie schon wieder. Sollten sich andere tief verbeugen oder gar ein paar Meter
über den Laufsteg schreiten. Ihr Ding war das nie.

Nun ist die Frau Jil Sander schon länger nicht mehr an dem Haus Jil Sander tätig. Vor vier Jahren um
diese Zeit verließ sie es zum dritten Mal in ihrer Karriere. Am Donnerstagvormittag aber erinnert ihr
Auftritt trotzdem an damals. Auf der zweiten Etage des Frankfurter Museums Angewandte Kunst (MAK)
haben sich etliche Fotografen und Journalisten versammelt, dann kommt die Modedesignerin um die
Ecke. Dunkelblauer Strickpullover, dunkle Hose, so wie damals, wie immer. Dazu trägt sie eine
Sonnenbrille auf der Nase. Sie schaut kurz in die Kameras, streckt die Arme hoch. Und weg ist sie
wieder. Es ist der typische, scheue Jil-Sander-Auftritt. Nur, hier geht es um mehr als damals nach ihren
Schauen. Es ist die überhaupt größte Schau dieser Designerin, und sie ist ihrer eigenen Person
gewidmet. Seit gestern zeigt sie das Frankfurter Museum Angewandte Kunst, und Jil Sander hat daran
in den vergangenen Monaten kräftig mitgearbeitet.

Eine Einzelausstellung über eine prominente Figur aus der Mode. Mit dem Konzept locken Museen
überall auf der Welt gerade Scharen in ihre Häuser. Wer zum Beispiel dieser Tage die Dior-Ausstellung
im Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris sehen will, muss sich nicht nur an Wochenenden hinten
anstellen, also Hunderte Meter weit vom Eingang entfernt. Vor den Türen des neuen Yves-Saint-
Laurent-Museums der Stadt sieht es nicht besser aus, Besucher brauchen hier sogar noch mehr
Geduld. Und das Victoria & Albert Museum in London zeigt in diesem Herbst das Werk des spanischen
Couturiers Cristóbal Balenciaga. An die Besuchermenge, die vor zwei Jahren durch die Räume zur
Ausstellung über Alexander McQueen zog, wird das Haus trotzdem nur schwer herankommen. 480
000 verkaufte Tickets waren es innerhalb von fünf Monaten, die am besten besuchte Ausstellung in der
Geschichte des Museums.
:
Kurz vor Schluss gab es sogar Zeitslots für mitten in der Nacht, zwischen 22 und 5.30 Uhr morgens. Es
handelte sich dabei ja auch um jene legendäre Schau, die 2011 im New Yorker Metropolitan Museum
(Met) zu sehen war (674 000 Tickets) und damit überhaupt erst das Konzept der Ausstellung über
einen Modedesigner auf ein neues Blockbuster-Niveau gebracht hat, mit Warteschlangen um die
Straßenecken. Klar gibt es seit Jahrzehnten Modeausstellungen, in jenem New Yorker Met etwa, seit
die ehemalige Chefredakteurin der amerikanischen „Vogue“, Diana Vreeland, dort 1973 als Beraterin
anfing. Aber Mode im Museum, das war zugleich lange Zeit ein schwieriger Fall. Mode will getragen
und nicht hinter Glaskästen konserviert werden. Mode im Museum, das könnte allerdings ebens0
gerade deshalb funktionieren. Da sie ihren Platz im Leben der Menschen selbstverständlicher hat als,
sagen wir, die Alten Meister.

„Man wusste, man zieht es an und ist gewappnet“

Die vage Vorstellung, die man schon von einem Modemacher habe, bevor man in die Ausstellung
gehe, sei ein Grund für den Erfolg in Museen, sagt auch Matthias Wagner K, Direktor des Frankfurter
Museums Angewandte Kunst und verantwortlich für die Schau über Jil Sander. Seit fünf Jahren ist er
hier tätig, Jil Sander habe von Beginn an ganz oben auf seiner Liste für eine Ausstellung gestanden.
Vor anderthalb Jahren habe man sich dann zum ersten Mal getroffen. Matthias Wagner K bot Jil
Sander nicht etwa eine Etage, sondern das gesamte Haus an, für die Gestaltung einer Ausstellung, die
jene vage Vorstellung für Besucher konkretisieren sollte. Besonders Frauen, die mit der Designerin
aufwuchsen, dürften sich angesprochen fühlen. Jene, die Jil Sander in den achtziger und neunziger
Jahren einkleidete, als diese auf dem besten Weg waren, sich in der noch stärker von Männern
dominierten Welt zu behaupten.

Matthias Wagner K erinnert sich an Frauen, die ihm in den vergangenen anderthalb Jahren während
der Arbeit an der Ausstellung begegnet sind und von jenem Gefühl berichteten. „Die gesagt haben, in
Kleidern von Jil Sander konnte ich so in den Gerichtssaal gehen und mich geschützt und präpariert
fühlen für das, was vor mir liegt.“ Wer sich die hochpreisigen Stücke zu der Zeit leisten konnte, musste
noch nicht einmal sonderlich stilsicher sein. „Man wusste, man zieht es an und ist gewappnet.“ Es ging
der Modemacherin Jil Sander ja um sie, um diese Kundin, und dadurch unterschied Sander sich
tatsächlich von ihren überwiegend männlichen Kollegen, die Mode oft als etwas Theatralisches
verstanden.

Dass Jil Sander das ganz anders sah, zeigt auch das MAK: Ein ganzer Raum ist einer Serie schlichter,
überwiegend schwarzer Kleidungsstücke gewidmet, Mänteln, so voluminös wie ein Kokon, oder mit
festen Gurten, Blazern, Cocktailkleidern. Die Entwürfe sind mal dreißig Jahre alt und jetzt neu
aufgelegt, mal vier Jahre. Alles ist stimmig – und stark, selbst an den leblosen Puppen. Und apropos
Mode, die im Museum schnell fad wirken kann: Der französische Klangkünstler Frédéric Sanchez hat
für jeden Raum ein Konzept entworfen. Der Sound zu den schwarzen Stücken: entschlossene Schritte,
Klaviertöne. Eine Video-Installation ihrer Laufsteg-Präsentationen aus den Jahren 1989 bis 2014 wird
hier nicht auf einer Leinwand gezeigt, es sind drei. Die Clips nehmen den Besucher ein, indem sie
chronologisch ungeordnet von Look zu Look springen und trotzdem sorgfältig editiert sind von dem
Fotografen Norbert Schoerner. Es sind Nahaufnahmen, die über den Zeitraum überraschend stimmig
geblieben sind: Kaschmir, technische Stoffe, scharfe Kanten, viel Dunkelblau, Schwarz zu Weiß,
Baumwollblusen, Hosenanzüge, Mäntel.

Mit Stücken wie diesen schaffte sie sich damals ja auch ihre treue Gefolgschaft, in den Achtzigern.
Heidemarie Jiline Sander, 1943 in Schleswig-Holstein geboren, hatte als Textilingenieurs-Studentin
einige Zeit in Kalifornien verbracht und arbeitete nach ihrer Rückkehr in den sechziger Jahren als
Moderedakteurin in Hamburg. Was ihr fehlte, waren die richtigen Kleider, die sie zum Erzählen ihrer
Geschichten brauchte. Also bat sie die Hersteller um Änderungen. Es war der Beginn ihres eigenen
kreativen Schaffens. Sie eröffnete einen Laden, begann eine eigene Linie zu entwerfen. Damals war
sie 24.

„Die positive Energie fand ich erstaunlich“

Später gründete sie einen Produktionsstandort in Deutschland, 1989 brachte sie das Unternehmen an
die Börse. Es waren dann auch in den Neunzigern nicht die Kleider, sondern vielmehr das wichtiger
werdende Geschäft mit den Accessoires, das ihr Lebenswerk bedrohte. 1999 hatte sie ihr
Unternehmen mehrheitlich an die Prada-Group verkauft, es sollte in Schuhe und Taschen investiert
werden. Die Zusammenarbeit lief nicht gut, ein Jahr später verließ die Kreativdirektorin das von ihr
gegründete Haus. Allerdings kam sie 2003 ein zweites Mal wieder, ging kurz darauf. Und übernahm im
Jahr 2012 abermals für drei Saisons die kreative Leitung. Jil Sander war also nie richtig weg, obwohl
sie schon länger keine Mode mehr macht.

Und obwohl Mode überhaupt in Deutschland nicht gerade als hohes Kulturgut wahrgenommen wird, ist
Sander eine Ausnahme. Es liegt vor allem an der engen Beziehung, die viele Kundinnen bis heute zu
ihr haben, selbst wenn sie seit Jahren keinen Fuß mehr in eine Jil-Sander-Boutique gesetzt haben.
Jene Frauen, die noch immer ihre Stücke aus vergangenen Jahrzehnten wie selbstverständlich tragen,
ohne dass man es den Teilen ansieht. „Die positive Energie fand ich erstaunlich“, sagte die
Modemacherin dem F.A.Z.-Magazin im September im Hinblick auf die Reaktionen zur geplanten
Ausstellung. „Ich begreife noch nicht so recht, warum die Kundinnen so intensiv mit meinen Entwürfen
leben. Diese emotionale Beteiligung ist mir rätselhaft. Ich konnte das nie richtig einschätzen.“
Jil Sander, die eine der führenden Modemarken schuf, ist wieder da. Die große Ausstellung im Museum
Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt zeigt, dass ihr Design schon deswegen nicht altert, weil es zeitlos ist.

„Eine tolle Frau“, „eine Heldin“, „eine Ikone“
Es ist auch die Geschichte einer Designerin, wie sie heute nicht mehr möglich wäre. Die Mode ist
längst viel zu flüchtig geworden, als dass so viele Kunden, besonders Frauen, für die das Angebot
riesig ist, einer einzigen Marke in der Form die Treue halten. Phoebe Philo bei Céline, Alessandro
Michele bei Gucci mögen große Namen sein und Kunden intensiv bedienen, über Jahrzehnte werden
sie trotzdem nicht diese Bedeutung in deren Leben haben können. Ganz zu schweigen von der Marke
Jil Sander, von der auch jetzt, unter den neuen Kreativdirektoren Lucie und Luke Meier, nicht klar ist,
an wen sie sich genau richtet.

Um die Marke geht es in dieser Ausstellung ausschließlich in Verbindung mit der Frau Jil Sander, aber
auch deren Bedeutung ist eben eine, wie sie nur in einer anderen Zeit entstehen konnte. Dass die
Bedeutung dieser Frau bis heute, jedenfalls in Deutschland, besteht, dass ihr Name – wie das
jahrzehntealte Logo – kaum Patina bekommen hat, ist außergewöhnlich. Man hört es auch am
Freitagabend, zur Eröffnung der Schau. Beim Smalltalk, in den Gesprächen, die Besucher vor den
Exponaten führen, geht es um „so eine tolle Frau“, „eine Heldin“, „eine Ikone“.

Das Frankfurter MAK nimmt es als Anlass, gerade nicht zu historisieren. Der Titel dieser Schau: „Jil
Sander. Präsens“. Es gibt keine Chronologie, keine Jahreszahlen an Stellen, die eigentlich welche
vertragen würden. Wie etwa die Making-off-Bilder, auf denen die Designerin mit Linda Evangelista zu
sehen ist. So zeitlos wie ihre Stücke tatsächlich sind, präsentiert das MAK hier auch ihr Gesamtwerk,
ihre Herangehensweise an Mode, an Architektur und Kunst, an die Lancierung ihrer eigenen
Kosmetiklinie. Über ihre Arbeit soll man der Designerin in der Einzelausstellung nahekommen; es sollte
ja auch damals, als sie noch Kleider entworfen hat, nie um sie gehen.

Ihre Scheu war, so gesehen, die große Chance. Lieber setzte sie die Kundin an erste Stelle. Maximale
Kontrolle behielt sie selbstverständlich trotzdem. Schuhe und Taschen sind auch hier so exakt stimmig,
als handele es sich um einen Showroom. Und eine Drohne, die zuvor über ihren selbstentworfenen
Garten auf ihrem Landsitz, Gut Ruhleben am Plöner See in Schleswig-Holstein, geflogen ist, hat vor
allem Perfektion aufgenommen. Der beeindruckende Film in der Ausstellung zeigt es. Auch die Skizzen
für diesen Garten von 1985 sprechen für sich: Die Bäume sind nach Farben geordnet, für Rosen, für
Schwertlilien sind konkrete Plätze vorgesehen. Die Kraft der Natur hat gegen sie keine Chance, das
Gartenkonzept steht bis heute.

Bleibt die Frage, ob Jil Sander ein weiteres Beispiel sein kann für das Phänomen der so beliebten
Einzelausstellungen über Modedesigner. Am Eröffnungsabend deutet jedenfalls einiges darauf hin –
die Schlange, die bis zur Straße reicht, die Wartenden, die schon mal am ersten Glas Wein in der Kälte
nippen, die überlegen, ob sie gehen oder bleiben sollen. Könnte erfolgreich werden.

„Jil Sander. Präsens“ läuft bis zum 6. Mai 2018 im Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt.

Madame Figaro – 2 novembre 2017

Photo Peter Lindberg

Rare et secrète, une des stylistes les plus influentes des années 1990, elle signe à Francfort une exposition qui souligne sa quête de pureté dans tout ce qu’elle entreprend depuis cinquante ans.

Envoyé spécial à Hambourg. – Il s’agit d’une sublime maison vide sur les rives du lac Alster à Hambourg. Juste quelques tableaux contemporains, paysages abstraits, compositions géométriques et dessins au trait restent accrochés dans cette imposante demeure hanséatique, studio de création historique de Jil Sander, avant que sa fondatrice ne vende, en 1999, la majorité des parts de la maison portant son nom. « L’univers » de la créatrice a en effet été expédié le jour précédent notre rencontre au Musée des arts appliqués de Francfort qui lui consacre, du 4 novembre au 6 mai 2018, la première rétrospective de sa carrière.
Au loin, la voix de Mme Sander résonne dans le silence des showrooms quasi inoccupés. Puis, ses pas, sa silhouette agile et, surtout, des yeux qui aujourd’hui pétillent. Retirée de la scène mode après avoir renoncé une troisième fois à présider sa maison à l’automne 2015, elle ne voulait pas accorder d’interview dans le cadre de cet événement, préférant laisser parler les morceaux choisis de ses cinquante années de mode exposés. Les accords juridiques avec la société Jil Sander, propriété du japonais Onward Luxury Group (après avoir été détenue par un fonds britannique et, auparavant, Prada Group), expliquent aussi sans doute cette économie de mots.

Et puis si. La styliste a accepté de recevoir Le Figaro en exclusivité, en ce jour de relâche avant l’installation à Francfort, semblable à ces moments de suspens précédant les défilés quand les croquis ont été envoyés aux fabricants et les premiers prototypes pas encore réalisés. Une tension est perceptible. Une détermination, aussi. Comme tous ses confrères, elle s’est longtemps désintéressée de son propre passé. « On n’a pas le temps ni le choix. Il faut sans cesse avancer, se projeter dans la saison suivante, dit-elle. Le travail avait pris une grande place dans ma vie. Tout est allé très vite. Des modèles, des images, des films d’alors m’ont rappelé une multitude de choses et de personnes. » Il y a un peu plus d’un an, elle se plonge, non sans émotion, dans ses archives. Elle était proche d’accepter de rédiger ses Mémoires, finalement, ce sera une exposition sur 3 000 mètres carrés de modèles, de photos, de musiques et de vidéos reliés par une formidable intégrité. Et par une esthétique minimaliste traversant les années, appliquée à sa mode mais aussi aux cosmétiques, du podium aux boutiques. « Ce que j’ai créé me semble toujours d’actualité », glisse Jil Sander avec humilité, en fin d’entretien, pressée d’aller tout de même vérifier cette modernité in situ le lendemain, s’autorisant des arrangements de dernière minute afin que tout soit tel qu’elle a toujours aimé l’orchestrer.

Entretien exclusif avec la styliste Jil Sander, qui fait l’objet d’une exposition à Francfort.

Le Figaro. – Comment est né ce projet d’exposition  ?
Jil Sander. – Matthias Wagner K, le directeur du Musée des arts appliqués de Francfort, m’avait sollicitée il y a plusieurs années, mais j’ai tardé à accepter sa proposition. Le point de départ étant mes archives, je devais commencer par les classer et les digitaliser. Jusqu’alors, je n’avais eu ni le temps ni la volonté de m’y consacrer. Le passé ne m’intéressant pas durant toutes ces décennies d’activité.

Est-il facile de résumer sa carrière  ?
L’idée n’était pas de faire un résumé, mais de présenter une approche particulière avec une ligne claire. Mon travail est évoqué sous différents angles, à travers notamment une installation multimédia replaçant les collections dans leurs contextes, plutôt que de juxtaposer des dizaines de modèles déconnectés de leur époque comme souvent dans les musées. Bien sûr, il y a tout de même des vêtements exposés afin d’expliquer mes recherches en trois dimensions autour du corps.

Pouvez-vous nous en dire un peu plus sur cette installation ?
Le bâtiment qui l’accueille a été construit sur les plans de Richard Meier, un architecte d’une grande modernité qui a également signé le building du Paul Getty Center à Los Angeles. Avant tout, je suis allée à Francfort pour saisir la dimension du lieu. Puis, nous l’avons recréé, à l’échelle réduite dans mon atelier de Hambourg, afin de maîtriser les volumes, se projeter dans l’espace et imaginer pleinement le déroulé de l’exposition. Outre les vidéos des défilés, il y aura une section avec des modèles, une salle dédiée aux parfums et cosmétiques que j’ai adjoints très tôt à mon univers, ainsi que des images et des campagnes publicitaires illustrant mon esthétique. Une partie sera dédiée à l’architecture des magasins, plus précisément, à celui de l’avenue Montaigne à Paris, inauguré au début des années 1990. Cette adresse était très importante à mes yeux – et elle a été beaucoup regardée par d’autres -, car j’avais cherché à redéfinir le concept de la boutique de mode dans ce bâtiment historique. Des œuvres d’art ayant influencé mes créations intègrent aussi l’installation et, pour finir, un jardin virtuel réalisé à partir de paysages filmés par des drones, depuis une propriété dans le nord de l’Allemagne où j’aime me ressourcer depuis longtemps.

L’illustrateur sonore Frédéric Sanchez a été mis à contribution.
Je voulais transmettre ma vision de ce que j’appelle la pureté. Et le son, la lumière, le toucher participent à cette expérience. Par le passé, Frédéric a créé des bandes-son pour mes défilés, extrêmement élaborées et intimes, reliées à ma culture personnelle, grâce à sa formidable connaissance de la musique allemande, du classique au contemporain. Cette fois, il a imaginé un accompagnement musical totalement inédit et envoûtant comme des nuages flottants.

Quels ont été vos échanges avec le commissaire de cette exposition Matthias Wagner K ?
Nous partageons le goût pour une même modernité esthétique. Ensemble, nous avons parcouru tout ce que j’avais réalisé depuis le début des années 1970. La sélection n’est pas définitivement arrêtée au moment où je vous parle. Elle aura lieu sur place, dans la dernière ligne droite, de la même façon que le déroulé d’un défilé est décidé dans les dernières heures.

Qu’est-ce qui vous a rendu le plus fière au regard de vos archives ?
Je suis heureuse qu’un fil rouge apparaisse au final. Que tout ce que j’ai pu signer dans les années 1990, tant en termes de mode que de communication, ne soit absolument pas daté.

Il y a presque cinquante ans, en 1968, vous commenciez votre carrière en ouvrant une boutique à Hambourg. Est-ce cet anniversaire qui vous a convaincue d’accepter le projet ?
Peut-être, inconsciemment, mais je n’avais absolument pas cette date en tête lorsque j’ai accepté la proposition.

Vous avez débuté la mode par des études textiles : reprenons le fil de votre histoire, bien que vous n’aimiez guère vous retourner sur le passé.
Le fil de l’histoire est une jolie expression ! Aujourd’hui, quand je regarde en arrière, je perçois justement ce fil rouge qui relie tout ce que j’ai pu réaliser. Les matières y occupent une place essentielle. Dans bien d’autres domaines, tout comme pour le Bauhaus qui fête bientôt ses cent ans, ce sont des bases de la modernité. Un socle d’expérimentation et de création. Pour ma part, ces connaissances minutieuses renvoyant à l’origine de l’habillement m’ont aidée à trouver mon propre vocabulaire.

Dans les années 1970 où l’on parlait surtout de stylistes de sexe masculin, était-ce difficile pour une femme de percer ?
Ce n’était pas un obstacle. Ce sont même les tendances d’alors et le style de mes confrères qui imposaient les attitudes aux femmes, qui ont motivé ma propre démarche. Je ne trouvais pas de vêtements pour être acceptée et me faire entendre à l’égal des hommes.

Sobriété, qualité, intemporalité… Vos valeurs sont à l’opposé de la mode actuelle obnubilée par les nouveautés à partager sans délai sur les réseaux sociaux. Quel regard portez-vous sur cet univers, aujourd’hui  ?
Mon intérêt pour la mode ne cessera jamais. Et je ne peux que me réjouir que la communication digitale ait donné l’accès à cet univers, à un public plus large et moins élitiste. En revanche, je ne pense pas que ces nouveaux médias puissent totalement manipuler le goût des personnes. Depuis la fin de la guerre froide, nous enchaînons des progrès à couper le souffle. Nous sommes aujourd’hui dans une période de réajustement. À l’échelle mondiale, de nombreux consommateurs n’ont découvert la mode que très récemment. Ils ont un siècle de connaissances dans le domaine à rattraper ! La globalisation doit, elle aussi, trouver ses repères. Internet est un immense laboratoire qui, lorsque tout se posera quelque peu, pourra devenir une gigantesque vitrine pour des nouveaux designs réellement originaux.

Exposition Jil Sander, du 4 novembre au 6 mai 2018 au Museum Angewandtekunst de Francfort. www.museumangewandtekunst.de.

SHOWstudio – 5 octobre 2017

Lucy Norris reports on the Comme des Garçons show

Hello Kitty hairbrushes, dollies, My Little Ponies and seaside trinkets sat in the hair like hoards of goodies inside a birds nest. The childlike Harajuku aesthetic was Kawakubo engaging with the most Japanese of exports. Postmodern and street style influenced, the seemingly silly and inconsequential were as artful and low brow as graffiti.
Rei Kawakubo doesn’t need a catwalk show comprising of sixty outfits to let you know her proposal for the season ahead. Her S/S 18 collection, entitled ‘Multidimensional Graffiti’, comprised fifteen looks. Business as usual, yes – but with catwalk shows seemingly feeling longer and longer, it’s worth noting what a creative can achieve when pushed to edit. Operating almost like couture, these fifteen looks will also benefit the brand credentials of the label’s diffusion line Play, its fragrance line – and its collaboration with Converse, and the such like. Desire is the name of the game – and Comme des Garçons’s brand family remains desirable because of the power of this show.

A different location for Comme des Garçons this season, with a mad dash across town, we arrived at The Russian Embassy. The show’s first dress was covered with prints from the canvases of 16th century artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. With faces and features made up of fruit and vegetables, this was surrealism 400 years before surrealism. As the following looks exited, each look was printed with the art of another artist. Some naïve and some kitsch, the soundtrack mirrored the aesthetics by way of an audio collage of taste levels: FKA Twigs (the millennial fashion equivalent to playing Björk at one’s show) was the ‘tasteful’ artist we kept returning to, but she was interjected with the decidedly mass market. However, by the time Lisa Stansfield came on, I was personally all for the beauty of the low-brow. Pannier dresses and Tudor shapes accessorised with sky high Renaissance wigs saw hair almost turned upside down. Hello Kitty hairbrushes, dollies, My Little Ponies and seaside trinkets sat in the hair like hoards of goodies inside a birds nest. The childlike Harajuku aesthetic was Kawakubo engaging with the most Japanese of exports. Postmodern and street style influenced, the seemingly silly and inconsequential were as artful and low brow as graffiti. (With Basqiat’s exhibition currently on show at London’s Barbican Centre, it seems that Kawakubo this season wanted to create her own.) But her ‘graffiti’ wasn’t quite as ‘multidimensional’ as one might think. From the front, the dresses looked 3D voluminous. From the back, some of them were simple shifts with 2D panniers stuck to the sides. A trompe l’oeil trick offered different dimensional perspectives from different angles. Harajuku trinkets also hung from the shoulder line of one PVC red dress that popped so bright, our cameras could barely capture it. As the models lined up at the end, in their bulbous near folkloric get up, they resembled a set of Russian dolls. The Russian Embassy may be architecturally brutalist but inside this room on a Saturday in October it was as decorative as they come.

Another – 5 octobre 2017

Comme des Garçons’ Multi-Dimensional Graffiti

Susannah Frankel takes us on a tour of the Place Vendôme showroom host to Rei Kawakubo’s extraordinary S/S18 collection

In a fashion world dominated by international brands, the Comme des Garçons empire stands alone. Neutral, like Switzerland, from the point of view that the company’s founder, Rei Kawakubo, is universally revered: other designers are more than happy to cite her as inspiration which is unprecedented. Her work – and the work of her protégés Junya Watanabe and Kei Ninomiya for that matter – is anything but neutral, however. Instead, it runs the gamut from breathtakingly beautiful to borderline violent, at times in a single collection, and that says quite something about both the technical skills and emotional power behind it. Comme des Garçons, then, stands outside – and more often than not above – the madding crowd.

As a business structure, too, Comme des Garçons is in a place all of its own. That is nowhere more clear than in the bright, white, Paris showroom where, after the initial impact of the runway presentation, all three collections may be seen up close. So too the commercial lines that make this among the most successful businesses today, from Comme des Garçons’ instantly recognisable tailoring with its sweet Peter Pan collars to Junya Watanabe jeans.

It is not insignificant that the space in question is located on Place Vendôme, among the French capital’s most famous squares and home principally to fine jewellery courtesy of everyone from Dior to Cartier and also to the Paris Ritz. It couldn’t be more bourgeois and, with that in mind, Comme des Garçons’ chosen HQ is as disruptive to the traditional French fashion system as any of the clothes.
At the heart of it all and, quite rightly, in pride of place are Kawakubo’s magnificent structures, majestically in line through the centre of the first, long, narrow room. It is well known now that this designer no longer shows clothing in the conventional understanding of the word on the catwalk but chooses rather to present huge, sculptural pieces – there were fifteen of them in total this time – in exploded silhouettes that positively dwarf their wearer and that speak volumes (no pun intended), season, after season, after season.

In fact, for Spring/Summer 2018, while Kawakubo’s collection was just as big and bold as has come to be expected, it focused as much on surface – on colour and print in particular – as it did outline. Drawing on the work of 12 different artists, from Giuseppe Arcimboldo who, in the 18th century, artfully painted faces out of still lives of vegetables and fruit, to the pixel landscapes of Berlin-based eBoy and the dewy-eyed girls with flowers in their hair that Macoto Takahashi is known for: they gazed almost hypnotically from garments. Colour, coming from a woman who still predominantly favours black, and pattern couldn’t have been more vibrant.
In the Rococo halos of mannequins’ pale frizz, crafted by long-time Comme collaborator Julien d’Ys, were buried pop cultural plastic toys in girlish, fondant-bright shades. Huge tangled clusters of these also hung around necks. Memento mori to lost innocence? Kawakubo said the thematic was “multi-dimensional graffiti”. On the surface there was joy for sure but angel wings on the back of one of two white looks and menacing ravens printed across another carried an undertone of melancholy. Another elaborately pieced and patched tulle design spoke of nothing if not a life in clothes. Frederic Sanchez’ show soundtrack, meanwhile, darted from FKA Twigs to Lisa Stansfield and concluded with the funereal Adagio For Strings by Samuel Barber.

There are only very few designers in history able to make their audience smile and cry in the space of no more than around 15 minutes. Rei Kawakubo is one such.

Business Of Fashion – 5 octobre 2017

A Contrary Spirit at Miu Miu

Miu Miu’s parent company is battling institutional stasis, but Miuccia Prada was fired up by the state of the world, delivering a dialogue of opposites with extraordinary skill.

BY TIM BLANKS

PARIS, France — There are few designers who appreciate the fact that fashion doesn’t exist in a vacuum as intuitively as Miuccia Prada. A Prada show is an object lesson in context. Everything — from the set to the drinks she serves — amplifies and clarifies the message of the collection. Obviously, music has always played a big part, maybe now more than ever. “Music is what holds everything together,” she agreed on Tuesday after a Miu Miu show where Frederic Sanchez, her longtime sonic collaborator, created a soundtrack that was so vivid it was almost another character on the catwalk. A list of the artists tells the story, among them, the Pixies, Bikini Kill, the Breeders and a finale tracked by the Ramones’ version of « Baby, I Love You » (chosen by Katie Grand, another longtime Prada collaborator, for her wedding). Sanchez’s picks had a hard, aggressive edge which took a few cues from the music he used for Prada’s signature collection in Milan.

Miuccia said she had two things in mind: “the girl” (which was why she worked so hard on the casting for this show – she saw a thousand models!), and the contrary spirit in which Miu Miu originally launched nearly 25 years ago. “The freedom I felt at the beginning,” she called it. In those days, Prada was a company whose clothes dazzlingly defied conventional notions of taste and propriety. Now it’s a massive global brand battling institutional stasis. But in her last few collections, there has been a pervasive sense of Miuccia Prada kicking against the pricks. It was strong in Miu Miu, in the way that an oversized distressed leather coat wrapped a white lace shift; in the strange granny crochet, with its undercurrent of purity defiled; in the confrontational oddities that rendered beauty redundant, or at least, as Miuccia said, “make it possible in real life, not just for the limousine or the hotel” (need to think about that one!).

Man tailoring was matched to fabulous graphic knits. Almost everything was veiled in a sheer overlay, which sometimes looked pure, and other times prurient. There’s a dialogue of opposites in there that Prada has always managed to conduct with extraordinary skill: prurience and propriety, restraint and release, the cerebral locking horns with the physical. Footwear flat and functional. Heads bound. Bodies primed for action. What is new now is that Miuccia is fired up by the state of the world. Back to that soundtrack: rough, tough, shreddingly dismissive of male crap. Not quite clothes to match just yet. But wait.

Dazed DIgital – 1er octobre 2017

Comme des Garçons tags PFW with multidimensional graffiti

For SS18, Rei Kawakubo enlisted the work of nine artists from the 16th century to today to illustrate the sculptural looks

There are very few designers in the world who can make you forget the fact you haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in several weeks (and that it shows), or that you’ve suddenly come down with the flu (hi everyone). Even if you’re feeling your best, it’s rare to have your attention captivated so fully for 20 minutes that your mouth is hanging open. Rei Kawakubo is one of those designers, and yesterday in Paris her Comme des Garçons show was even more proof of that fact. As if you needed it. Here’s what went down.

THE SHOW WAS HELD AT THE RUSSIAN EMBASSY
…in a long hall with polished wooden floors and ornamental glass panels hanging from the ceiling. (Also, appropriately I think I spotted Gosha Rubchinskiy pre-show, not far from a giant unfurled Russian flag). The white runway was raised in a zig-zag across the room, and models stepped out and walked its length one at a time.

REI’S WORDS OF THE SEASON WERE MULTIDIMENSIONAL GRAFFITI
Which might help to explain why the collection mashed up colourful art/illustrations with the sculptural looks that are tradition at Comme des Garçons. This wasn’t as basic as a tag you might find on the side of a bus shelter though, Kawakubo’s graffiti was of course much more conceptual – her silhouettes exploded outwards and had holes which revealed many layers of different fabrics. It was like the material version of when a wall is coated with different artists’ work – a mosaic of colours and styles.

IT FEATURED THE WORK OF NINE ARTISTS
From 16th century Italian Giuseppe Arcimboldo, whose fruit face portraits appeared on the first and fifth looks, to E-Boy whose pixel landscapes cropped up on look twelve. The florals were courtesy of Dutch artist Abraham Mignon and as for the giant anime-looking girl with glinting eyes? The work of Japanese-born Macoto Takahashi. The headpieces by Julien d’Ys, works of art in themselves, were made up of items that looked like the kitschy trappings of girlhood like toys, cupcake iPhone cases, kawaii Hello Kitty dolls and plastic rings.

THE SHOES WERE NIKES… WITH HEELS
Continuing Nike’s fruitful partnership with CdG, this season saw models wear Nike shoes – or rather, the hollow shell of Nike boxing shoes, which were placed over the top of pair of clog-like heels. They came in colour combinations of blue and white, green and white, and, naturally, black.

THE MUSIC WAS TRENDY, TACKY, SAD AND BRILLIANT
FKA twigs blended into this year’s smash dance hit “Falling” by Alesso, and then, even more unexpectedly, “Closer” by 80s pop singer Lisa Stansfield. It all concluded with “Adagio for Strings” – a version of the famous piece written by Samuel Barber conducted by André Previn, and taken from the soundtrack of David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. Someone wrote a book about how this is “the saddest music ever written” – and you would have had to be made of pretty strong stuff not to have been moved as the song swelled and the models filed back out onto the runway for the finale. There was something about the combination of the childlike, girlish accessories with the heart-wrenching music that was extremely affecting – beyond the graffiti byline, it felt like Kawakubo was addressing very human ideas of childhood innocence, lost youth and the passage of time.

Business Of Fashion – 1er octobre 2017

Comme des Garçons’ Monument to Irrevocable Loss

Just as girlhood is an inevitable prelude to lost innocence, Rei Kawakubo’s collection seemed to recognize another human inevitability, the most inescapable of all.

BY TIM BLANKS

PARIS, France — Before the Comme des Garçons exhibition opened at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in May, Rei Kawakubo seemed convinced that no one would show up. Hundreds of thousands of visitors begged to differ. For her first women’s presentation since the epochal Met event, Kawakubo chose to show in the austere grandeur of the Russian Embassy. She kept the raised catwalk from last time, so everyone got a good look. And she offered a collection which could hardly disappoint any of the vast audience who got acquainted with her work through the exhibition in New York. It was essential Comme in its defiance of fashion orthodoxy. The proportions challenged conventional notions of utility. Sleeves fell to the floor, hips were wider than any door. One bouclé coat-based ensemble was a full five feet wide. Time and space elided in the 16 looks, dressed with hair by Julien D’Ys that married Africa and the Middle Ages, collaged with work by eleven artists, from Renaissance master of illusion Arcimboldo and Zen monk Sesson Shukei, also from the 16th century, to contemporary outsider artist Anne Grgich and cyber star E-Boy. Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack matched them with eleven snippets of music, all of them by young women.

It was tempting to attach some significance to this last point, because the collection did seem to be “about” girlhood, insofar as anything Kawakubo does lends itself to such direct interpretation. There were cartoons, and flowers, and maybe a little girl’s dream of a frilly princess something or other. Or might it even be a wedding dress? D’Ys compared some of his hairstyles to nests. They were filled with the detritus of Japanese kawaii culture, the cuteness that bequeathed us Hello Kitty. She was there, in the nest, along with dozens of girlish trinkets and plastic doodads. One of the eleven artists was Macoto Takahashi, who became famous in the 60s for his proto-manga paintings of dewy young girls with huge starry eyes. You could imagine them hoarding the stuff that decorated Kawakubo’s clothes.

There was something immensely sad in that. Just as girlhood is an inevitable prelude to lost innocence, Kawakubo’s collection seemed to recognize another human inevitability, the most inescapable of all. The clothes were monumental, but the monument was to irrevocable loss. Over all the kawaii, there hovered a big black raven. One of the most striking pieces looked to be composed of a huge, crushed mass of prettiness, petticoats and lingerie, draped over a bodysuit of the same. The model posed coquettishly on the catwalk, a cliché you’d never expect to see at CDG. But the act was so deliberate it felt like a direction. “Be pretty now.” Because it won’t – it can’t – last.

sept. 252017

Business Of Fashion – 25 septembre 2017

Marni’s Spin Cycle

There was discipline in the overpieces that held volumes in check, but Francisco Risso was more engaged by chaos, dissecting design with glee.

If you include menswear and pre-fall, the collection Francisco Risso showed on Sunday morning was his fifth for Marni, and what’s become crystal clear is that you don’t spend all that time at Prada without learning how to spin the kind of yarn that encompasses worlds. Risso’s was all about his dream of a girl on a skateboard surfing through a wardrobe of the ages, becoming laden with clothes from different eras as she went, couture structure mashed with flapper languor. It was the kind of cinematic trope that raised the roof in madcap chase scenes in silent movies (or even « The Naked Gun »), and it applied equally to the playful pile-up that Risso catapulted onto his catwalk.

He called his collection Treasure Hunt, describing it as “a game for adults”, comparing his woman to an archeologist examining her finds through a wide-angle lens to magnify the pieces. The clothes were BIG, classic couture shapes, waists, hips and full skirts, expanded to surreal proportions. “New Dada,” said Risso, referring to the movement that gleefully up-ended art world orthodoxy. And glee was the driving force that motivated his own dissection of design. It was almost as though in his own furious scavenging through trunks of clothing, he hadn’t had time to complete anything. hems and seams were unfinished, toiles and fabrics pieced together pell-mell, pearls and shiny things and faces by artist David Salle applied as decoration. There was discipline in the overpieces, like old-school one-piece bathing suits, that held volumes in check, but Risso was more engaged by chaos. That’s where he said he found real beauty: “Between cacophony and charm”. There was plenty of both in the collection. And if Risso put Marni on spin cycle, you couldn’t imagine anyone but Frederic Sanchez supplying the overpowering aural complement: he sent a crazy mash-up of the Cramps’ rockabilly, Yma Sumac’s pagan shrieks and Joe Meek’s extra-terrestrial twang racing around the room in a mind-boggling 360-degree rampage. It was the season’s finest cacophony.

Business Of Fashion – 25 septembre 2017

A Textbook Update of Missoni

The collection was a reminder of just how successfully Angela Missoni has managed to keep her family business humming well into its eighth decade.

Angela Missoni took over the creative direction of the family brand 20 years ago, so there’s been a bit of a celebration going on in Milan. Vogue Italia made a nice little supplement to mark her anniversary, and Missoni’s Spring/Summer 2018 show became the excuse for an evening-long wingding, from catwalk to dinner to after-party dancefloor. You needed to bear that in mind when you sat down to reflect on the real heart of it all, the clothes that Angela showed.

From the moment Kiki Willems stepped out in a sparkly, sheer slip dress, it was clear that Missoni had gone to another place. Head Space! Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack was a flibbertigibbet rampage through dance tracks we knew and loved in the Second Summer of Love, and the girls walked in floaty, flighty, lacy, languidly clingy and oh-so-sheer bodycon confections that effortlessly evoked saucer-eyed sweethearts at the Café del Mar. “These are the kids I want to have at my party,” said Angela. It was gauzily gorgeous wish fulfilment, it was an education in Missoni’s ability to turn knitwear into gossamer, but it didn’t do an awful lot towards advancing Missoni’s claim on the everyday.

Fortunately, this was also the season when Missoni launched its women’s and men’s collections simultaneously. There were odd moments when the menswear embraced the sheerness of the women’s clothing, but otherwise, it was a textbook update of the brand’s grasp of colour and pattern. The standouts were the patchwork sweaters, but the ingenious, seductive layering of stripes, plaids, chevrons, and warping test patterns was a reminder of just how successfully Angela Missoni has managed to keep her family business humming well into its eighth decade.

Le Monde – 22 septembre 2017

Fashion week : La renaissance milanaise

Etat de grâce chez les créateurs à Milan, qui composent un vestiaire accessible sans renoncer à leur flamboyance baroque.

Par Carine Bizet

Les vertus commerciales de la mode italienne, qui ont enrichi les designers et fait de Milan un grand acteur financier du secteur, ont aussi longtemps englué la fashion week locale dans un classicisme un peu trop confortable. Mais, ces trois dernières années, les choses ont lentement commencé à bouger. Les voix se multiplient pour défendre une créativité plus originale et personnelle, une féminité plus complexe et sensible. Bonne nouvelle, ça se vend.

Aujourd’hui, le fossé est plus évident que jamais entre ces griffes novatrices et celles qui restent attachées à d’anciennes formules, plus orientées vers le produit. D’autant que la sainte patronne de la créativité italienne, Miuccia Prada, est en grande forme. Elle a confié le décor de son défilé à huit artistes féminines : Brigid Elva, Joëlle Jones, Stellar Leuna, Giuliana Maldini, Natsume Ono, Emma Rios, Trina Robbins, Fiona Staples, auxquelles s’ajoutent les archives de Tarpe Mills, créatrice de la première femme super-héros. Elles ont habillé le lieu de ­portraits de femmes fortes et ­glamour, entre le comics à ­l’américaine et le manga. La collection envoie sur le podium une bande de filles cool, féminines et dures à la fois, une vraie démonstration de style.

Les grands manteaux de la bourgeoise chic fusionnent avec les perfectos, avec des faux plis marqués en blanc, des pardessus en tweed rehaussé de motifs tigre ou panthère, des vestes cubiques habillées de clous, des trenchs reprenant les imprimés des murs. Les beautés punk-rock qui les portent aiment autant les shorts rayés avec des chaussettes rétro que les sur-robes de poupée déglinguée passées sur un jean noir. La bande-son qui tangue entre énergie punk et mélancolie schizophrène est signée Frédéric ­Sanchez, et elle est aussi magistrale que la collection. Tout en nuances ou en dérapages contrôlés, ce vestiaire ultra-désirable fait l’unanimité.

British Vogue – 22 septembre 2017

How To Channel The Spirit Of Prada SS18

Prada spring/summer 2018 was « a white canvas filled with ideas », said the renowned designer.
Here, we examine how to channel them.

by OLIVIA SINGER

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There are few designers who can present diverse eclecticism with such seamless allure as Miuccia Prada, nor any who set the tone for the seasons to come just like she does. It is for these reasons that the Prada show is one of the most hotly anticipated of the season: she is fashion’s favourite genius, offering up collections that are simultaneously avant-garde in their conception, covetable on the shop floor, and revered by reviewers, customers, and fellow designers alike. “Basically it was a white canvas filled with ideas,” she said backstage after this mash-up collection of hits. Essentially, we all want to be a bit more Prada – and so, this season, here’s how.

Eclecticism is key
Over the past couple of years, there has been a new trend for eclecticism – not just on the runways, but in the real-life wardrobes of women themselves. Wearing full look is out: instead, constructing your daily outfit from an assortment of different designers, different genres, different eras, is the modern way to dress. “I was really interested in somebody who wants to be active and present nowadays – I don’t want to say how they should dress, but how they should be free to experiment,” said Mrs Prada backstage after the show. Here, studded sandals were teamed with satin bustiers layered over pinstripe shirting; pretty, puff-sleeved dresses worn over workwear trousers; Herringbone jackets given leopard-print lapels; even flared, Fifties skirts made the occasional appearance (in a thoroughly psychobilly fashion). It was diverse, to say the least – and thoroughly shoppable, although “I don’t want to be judged by sales,” she laughed. “My life is so much more important than sales.”

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Get on Spotify
While talking about the soundtrack to a collection can often be a handy way to sidestep discussion of the clothes, the music that accompanies Miuccia Prada’s runways are routinely as considered as the looks she sends out. This time, the likes of Lana del Rey, Nirvana, Nina Simone, Sinead O’Connor, Suzanne Vega, The Cure, PJ Harvey and L7 all made notable sonic appearances in a poetic cross-genre medley. “They are different people, and each one has their own voice,” she said. This was a soundtrack for a generation who curate Spotify playlists rather than put on records, and it was brilliant. “It was a little bit like the bootleg that you might get in a certain genre of movie,” said Frédéric Sanchez, the composer behind the music. “I think there is something in the soundtrack that shows all these different women, each who represent something so strong in a certain moment of time.” And it was their combined eclecticism that made this music feel so thoroughly contemporary, so authentically 2017.

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Be strong (particularly right now)
“I want women to be strong because still there is so much against us. So we need a lot of cleverness, intelligence, and strength… particularly now,” Mrs Prada continued – and these women were: they were punk, wearing mish-mash combinations of studs and animal print, sometimes the pieces themselves looking like two distinct personas spliced together. There was a confidence in such an approach that was distinctly Mrs Prada – remember that John Waters Miu Miu collection? – but it felt fresh and relevant, particularly when teamed with bare faces and gamine haircuts (how many models got a Guido chop specially for the occasion is yet to be noted, but it looks like plenty).

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Reference… yourself
Souped-up versions of pre-existing pointy shoes; the same, sportif sock that Prada debuted for Resort 2018; the nylon fabric that propelled this brand to the forefront of fashion: this was a collection that riffed on some former offerings – after all, if everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t she? Those who have noted the trend for transparency that has swept the spring/summer 2018 shows might remember that it was the Prada Resort show that first introduced the filmy fabrications now appearing on every runway – because, where Mrs Prada goes, the rest are sure to follow. It won’t be until next season that we see the impact of this collection, but it’s sure to make a mark.

Dazed and Confused – 22 septembre 2017

Prada channels teen angst and rebellious girl power

WHAT WENT DOWN
With an angsty remix of Lana Del Rey, Nina Simone and Nirvana as the soundtrack, the show space was transformed by the work of nine female artists. When it comes to comic books, women can seem truly two dimensional. Not so in the Prada universe, as last night’s SS18 womenswear show proved. Here’s what went down.

THE SET CONTINUED THE THEME OF MENSWEAR
Not surprisingly considering the SS18 menswear set this summer, the showspace was transformed with comic book prints. This time, however, they depicted different facets of women – from the blunt-fringed teen in her bedroom with her guitar (and a Black Flag sticker on the dresser) to a 40s-era illustration of a red-head knocking a man down with a single punch. Girl power.

THE SOUNDTRACK WAS ANGSTY AND AMAZING
No, but seriously – we’re talking Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” meets Nirvana’s “I Hate Myself and Want to Die”, which I specifically remember downloading as a tween and playing on repeat so my emotional depth would be displayed to the world via my MSN. Cringe aside, Frédéric Sanchez’s mix for this season was beyond. PJ Harvey, loads of The Cure, Kim Deal, NINA SIMONE! It was a rundown of outsider anthems from different eras, and it was brilliant accompaniment to the collection.

THERE WAS A COLLABORATION WITH NINE FEMALE COMIC ARTISTS
The comic prints weren’t just on the walls – they also appeared in the collection, on everything from bags and shirts to coats and earrings, in what was a collaboration with a grand total of nine female artists. We’re not talking superheroes in impractically small clothes, or anxious Lichtenstein heroines pining over a man. From young talent to old legends, Prada said she was inspired by “how spirited (the artists) were and how they captured women in a very real way”. To read all about ‘em, head here.

THERE WERE LOADS OF CONTRADICTIONS
And, on a related note, lots of trousers. (That might not sound like a big deal, but Mrs P is famed for her love of skirts – she’s done whole collections with no trousers at all). Here they sometimes came with typically feminine, floral dresses or tops overlaid, like walking comments on the duality of women. Other times that contrast was channeled in the mixing of those same tops with shirts printed with black spiders.

YOUR STUDDED BELT IS BACK
Rejoice, ex-emos – that staple is making a return. The subculture nods didn’t stop there – in what felt like an exploration of the symbols of female rebellion, there was leopard print, studs, and a lot of that classic Hot Topic combination of black and red, too. Also, the coats added a distinct Teddy Girls vibe, like modern versions of those captured in the late Ken Russell’s photo series in 50s London.

MIUCCIA PRADA TALKED ABOUT FEMALE STRENGTH
“I want women to be strong because there is still so much against us. I think that we need a lot of cleverness and intelligence and strength,” the designer said post-show – adding that these qualities are needed now more than ever. And to a rather blunt question from someone about how the business was going, she certainly had the last word. “Actually, I don’t like to be judged by sales – my life is much more important than sales.”

Business Of Fashion – 22 septembre 2017

A Hunger for Intensity at Prada

Miuccia Prada usually questions orthodoxy in a passive aggressive way, but this collection was infected with a no-nonsense grunge-y sensibility of resistance.

BY TIM BLANKS

The young people Miuccia Prada spends time with believe there’s a war coming. Maybe that prospect infected her collection. “We are the last generation without a war,” she declared. MILITANT was her mot de jour, “not necessarily just for women but in general”. It translated into clothes that were fierce and graphic, partly due to Prada’s use of the work of female cartoonists from the last few decades, but also down to a no-nonsense grunge-y sensibility of resistance.

“I love those lesbians,” photographer Nan Goldin enthused to Prada after the show. That was how she interpreted the collection’s tough studded-sandal, sleeveless-jacket, shorts’n’tweed-coat union of male and female. Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack worked an entire aural spectrum of the idea, from the melancholic sweetness of Suzanne Vega and Jimmy Scott’s astounding cover of « Nothing Compares 2U » to the spitting-tacks anger of riot grrrls L-7 and their guru Kurt Cobain. It was hard to miss the allusions to Cobain in the vintage-y floral dresses worn over pants.

If the musical accompaniment acknowledged vulnerability as well as female fury, the women in the cartoons that lined the wall and covered Prada’s clothes were fighters. Angela Davis was one of them. And I’d swear I saw Wonder Woman, though Miuccia disputed that. She would rather her women be distinctly un-super. “I wanted to see their human, simple, underestimated side,” she insisted.

But her collection wasn’t about humility (hence Angela Davis). Rather, there was a sense of the strength that comes through endurance. The youth cult subtext that has been a rich seam of inspiration for Prada in the past was once again mined for pieces that were here suggestive of rockabilly dress-up. The leopard print was this season’s deliberate engagement with a fashion element Prada dislikes. (It often works out very well for her when she utilizes something she despises, suede being a case in point.)

The use of the print underscored the particular, peculiar hybrid of past, present and future that is her design signature. The full skirt under the sleeveless jacket, the stripey shorts and the sleeveless top, the eerie palest pink twinset over a matching skirt were the kind of outfits that would slot effortlessly into a timeless David Lynch fantasia, because, like Lynch, questioning orthodoxy is what Miuccia Prada does best. She’s usually done it in a passive-aggressive way, but that trait didn’t seem so much in evidence on Thursday night. Instead, the collection she showed made you hunger for her next engagement. I predict a steady pre-war intensification.

Business Of Fashion – 19 septembre 2017

Music is the Muse at Erdem

Inspired by a dream of Queen Elizabeth II dancing to the Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club in Harlem, the collection was a rich hybridisation of couture and a flapper’s delight.

BY TIM BLANKS

LONDON, United Kingdom — For the first time in his career, Erdem Moralioglu let music be the muse for a collection. And oh! what music! The romantic, melancholic mood of « The Queen’s Suite » made it sound like it could have been written specially for the designer. In actual fact, it was composed by the bandleader Duke Ellington for Elizabeth II after the pair met at a performance in Leeds in 1958. “I’m going to write something for you,” he told the young Queen, so impressed was he by her love of jazz. “I’ll be listening,” came her pert reply. Two recordings were made of the suite, one for him, one for her, both subsequently lost to the world until his disc was located in the Smithsonian.

Such a story of two worlds intimately connecting across a social and cultural divide was catnip for Erdem. While he was designing his collection, he took the story a step further, dreaming of Elizabeth dancing to the Duke at the Cotton Club in Harlem, Dorothy Dandridge or Billie Holiday on the mike. It was a gorgeous conceit. The set for his show was an afterhours mirage of just such a place, the clothes a rich hybridisation of Norman Hartnell’s puffball couture and the sensuous, satiny dresses of the Cotton Club’s chanteuses.

At times, it bordered on the surreal, as with the cardigan decorously buttoned around the throat but skewed furiously sideways over a bra and bared midriff, with a princess-y dance skirt in a washed floral print floating genteelly below. At other times, it made perfect sense, like a swirl of lilac chiffon, its embroidery delicate, almost Japanese. The key was always movement, the young Queen dancing while the big band played, tulle petticoats flaring the hems of her dress as she twirled. There were pieces that mixed vermilion fringing and silver tinsel, a flapper’s delight.

“Neon pastels” was Erdem’s own description of the colour palette. If there was something vaguely hallucinatory about the intensity of emerald green brocades or shimmering pink moirés, he also offered a reality check in the form of Prince of Wales plaids: a smart tailored jacket, a pantsuit, a midcalf coatdress. The relative sanity of such items was a reminder that Erdem’s mass-market collection for H&M launches in November. But even here, hems were frayed, coats and jackets randomly studded with encrustations of embroidery. It’s easy to see why Erdem is so fascinated with the Queen’s wardrobe. Her dressing is codified. So is his. But her codes exalt propriety, his subtly unhinge it. That has always been his gleeful challenge, and he rose to it yet again on Monday. Next time, how about a look at Princess Margaret? The fun never stops with that one.

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Vogue Runway – 19 septembre 2017

The affection for Her Majesty the Queen among her British subjects knows no bounds. Nearly 65 years after ascending the throne in 1953, she’s had quite a year. At the age of 91, she has visited children who were terribly injured in the Manchester suicide bombing and the residents and families of the people of many cultures who died in the Grenfell Tower disaster in London. Now, curiosity about Elizabeth II as a human being—rather than a stiff royal cipher—is at an all-time high. Nothing illustrates that better than the Golden Globes–sweeping success of Netflix’s epic The Crown. Claire Foy plays Elizabeth from the time of her coronation (at the age of 25) on. This summer, Erdem Moralıoğlu found his own extraordinary path into expressing his admiration for the queen while researching her clothes at Windsor Castle (no less). He conducted his research under the guidance of Caroline de Guitaut, the senior curator of decorative arts of the Royal Collection. There, he made a discovery which blew his mind, kindling a theme for a beautiful collection based on the 1950s that touched on a personal connection to Black-American culture in the young queen’s life. “It felt kind of important at a weird time like this,” said the designer. “The exchange between two worlds felt really beautiful.”

Erdem had discovered that Elizabeth enjoyed jazz and dancing when she was young, and that she had met Duke Ellington in 1958 at a royal command performance. “It was at a theater in Leeds,” he said, pointing out a photo of the queen—wearing a tiara, a cream brocade Norman Hartnell evening gown, and white opera gloves—meeting the duke of jazz in a reception line. Ellington was so taken, he composed a piece for her called “Queen’s Suite.” “She had one record of it and he the other, which got lost in the Smithsonian until 2012. It’s sort of a piece of love poetry, really,” Erdem reflected. “She wrote him a note where she said, ‘I’ll be listening.’”
After absorbing that information, he made the leap to Harlem in the 1950s, designing into the fantasy that the young royal might have visited the Cotton Club to watch Dorothy Dandridge, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald perform. It made for quite gorgeous fashion, a context in which to show diverse beauty and an evocative set furnished as a glamorous Harlem Renaissance–era jazz club.
There were brocade coats—fitted in front, with Watteau swinging in back—and variations on prim checked tailored coats. Ribbons inspired by royal decorations became fastenings on bustier dresses or shoulder-bows. Pearl and gold embroideries of leeks and flowers imitated the symbols Hartnell planted in the queen’s coronation gown. The sinuous ’30s- and ’40s-chic dresses of the Cotton Club’s great singers contrasted with balloon-skirted ballgowns (an emerging trend of the season, there). Will the queen be amused? She should be. It was a sincere tribute to a woman who has lived a life dedicated to duty and bringing people together. And it’s nice to know she’s had some fun along the way.

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Dior Homme – Musique originale et sound design – Juillet 2017









Dazed – 29 juin 2017

The menswear shows have wrapped, and after a journey from London to Florence, then Milan and finally Paris, it’s time to reflect on the season that was. While there were those which stunned thanks to their sets (Rick Owens’ towering scaffolding springs to mind), entertained with performance (the circus troupe Vivienne Westwood brought to town) and joined fashion and art together in unexpected collaborations (shout out to Jenny Holzer x Off-White) there was one show that was particularly notable for the immediate effect of sheer joy felt by its audience: Comme des Garçons Homme Plus.

A bit of context: This was Rei Kawakubo’s first show since the monumental Met Gala, where the elusive designer gave a few rare press interviews and even told Lynn Yaeger she wasn’t actually going to show up. (She did, in a slightly fancier version of her standard Lewis Leathers biker, black skirt and trainers uniform). Of course, Comme was already a fashion and business behemoth, but a Met retrospective is another thing entirely; the hundreds of thousands of public visitors standing in line is a pretty different stage for Kawakubo’s work than her intimate fashion shows. As for the show itself, once the initially reluctant designer had been talked into doing it, she went all out – even creating an 116,000 square foot mock-up of the space in Tokyo. If there was ever a time that the already mysterious Kawakubo seemed even more like a deeply serious, incomprehensible genius, this was it.

So, entering the grand Salle Wagram that made up the Comme menswear show space, it’s safe to say the audience was probably expecting something thought provoking, loftily conceptual, or even sombre. After all, the last few Comme menswear shows have explored ideas including boyhood, ‘the armour of peace’, and the emperor’s new clothes – this season has the added backdrop of a world which feels like it’s inching towards crisis, as exemplified by the hot new trend of bomb detector dogs outside shows. Instead, as the lights went down, something else happened entirely: the raised, square catwalk was lit with a myriad of swirling, technicoloured spotlights, the thumpingly loud soundtrack kicked in, and the young gang of models bounced up onto the stage with more energy than had been seen all month.

Dressed in a wild, hyper-saturated patchwork of colour, pattern, texture and print, they danced, paced, vogued, threw poses. They wore jackets that clashed red Flinstones-esque faux fur with colourful florals and rainbow lurex. Some looks were almost entirely constructed of thousands upon thousands of shimmering sequins which reflected the bouncing lights, while the shoes on models’ feet (limited edition Nike 180s) seemed to glow neon as if under an ultraviolet light. At points looking like teenage boys dancing clumsily at their first party, there was something seriously charming about the way the models moved around the space.

Sculptor Mona Luison (who worked on a capsule collection of jewellery in 2011 with Comme called Love Me Tender) was invited back to create a series of jackets. Imagine Louise Bourgeois let loose on a toy box after a strong dose of acid: rubber dinosaurs with rabbit faces and dolls with Barbie limbs extending out of their eye sockets all protruded from the fabric. “We spoke about inside/outside, explosion, strangeness, toys, dolls…” the artist said of the creative process, adding that being at the show (her first) was “amazing”. “I was very pleased to see such good spirits, I loved being in that place at that moment. It was a great privilege for me to work on the collection.”

“Imagine Louise Bourgeois let loose on a toy box after a strong dose of acid: rubber dinosaurs with rabbit faces, dolls with Barbie limbs extending out of their eye sockets”
For the energising soundtrack, long-term Comme collaborator Frédéric Sanchez had one word as his starting point. “I don’t really get briefs, but this time there was one,” he shared over the phone from his Paris studio. “Rei was thinking of disco.” He wasn’t going to focus on the past though – “it was not the idea to play Gloria Gaynor or Donna Summer” – but instead explore the core of the word itself. “What is everything you can put into a word like this to make it extreme? So I mixed all these tracks in a frenetic way with this idea of having this imaginary sort of club, and this moment where everything is mixed up in your head. A sort of extreme disco mix – so is it disco, is it rave?”

It certainly did the job, with the breakneck BPM leaving the audience bobbing up and down in their seats (Tyga, sitting in the front row, looked thrilled). After the show, the name for the collection was declared to be ‘what’s on the inside matters’ – almost all of the crazily colourful jackets were in fact worn inside out, so it was their linings the audience had been seeing. Kind of a funny phrase when you consider we’re talking about fashion, but nevertheless – the effect of the show was notable and immediate: it made people happy. Like the hours spent losing yourself on the dancefloor of an amazing club, it was a moment that got as close to euphoric escapism as fashion can manage. Disco died because it became formulaic, predictable and tired. Despite the blockbuster exhibition and the accompanying red carpet spectacle, Rei’s catwalk party proved that there’s no danger of that happening to Comme.

Dior Homme Summer 2018 Show – Savoir Faire – Composition originale

Dior Homme Summer 2018 Show – Composition originale

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Prada Men Spring 2018 fashion show video – Composition originale

Salvatore Ferragamo Men Spring 2018 fashion show video – Composition originale

Ports 1961 Men Spring 2018 fashion show video – Composition originale

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MSGM Men Spring 2018 fashion show video – Composition originale

Dazed – 24 juin 2017

Kris Van Assche is still having fun after a decade at Dior

This year, Belgian designer Kris Van Assche celebrates a decade at the helm of Dior Homme. Even he can’t quite believe it’s been that long – “It’s gone really quickly!” he exclaims from his atelier at 3 Rue de Marignan, the afternoon before his SS18 show. Originally arriving at the house in 2000 with Hedi Slimane (who he assisted at Yves Saint Laurent), he left to start his own independent label in 2004. When Slimane exited three years later he returned, dividing his week between the two brands until 2015, when he decided to focus on Dior full time. “It became super exciting for me when I had to quit my own label. It really allowed for me to put much more of myself here,” he says. “I’ve kind of reinvented my role now, so it’s a whole new adventure.”

That new adventure hasn’t exactly been low profile, thanks to a list of headline-making campaign stars. As well as younger creative talents including A$AP Rocky, The xx’s Oliver Sim and Manchester By The Sea actor Lucas Hedges, there was Larry Clark, Boy George, and most recently Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan, revealed only last week. While the casting perfectly brings together both the cult and current, what’s perhaps been most brilliant is the unexpected nature of the protagonists: even Van Assche thought it would “for sure be a no” from the 74-year-old Clark, best known for seminal 1995 film Kids, and photobooks like Tulsa and Teenage Lust. “I’ve been very lucky,” admits the designer happily. Clark even made a short film for the house, and despite their wildly different backgrounds, each campaign star has felt unshakably authentic as a figurehead; they’ve been chosen out of a genuine respect for their work as opposed an attempt to tap into a trend or hit up the latest social media influencer.

Recent collections have been similarly high voltage, blending dark but impeccable tailoring with a subcultural and street edge. There was last season’s ‘HarDior’ collection, which saw a hardcore techno raver influence that had hints of Belgium’s gabber music fans. Then there was the punkish, gothic SS17 collection, which featured bondage straps, skull motifs, and Frankenstein-like red stitching. The season before that, 80s New Wave and 90s skaters were a key reference point, and models wore their hair in emo fringes. To top it all off, their fingernails were painted with black polish. “I am interested in a synthesis of generations and filtering subcultures through my own lens to tell a new story,” Van Assche has said.

“It became super exciting for me when I had to quit my own label. It really allowed for me to put much more of myself here” – Kris Van Assche

His SS18 show yesterday, was another exploration of youth culture through the lens of Dior’s longstanding heritage, as models marched out onto a turf runway to a jarring mix which veered between outsider anthems like Radiohead’s “Creep”, REM’s “Losing My Religion” and Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”. Above them hung black streams of tinsel, which looked like the tape you’d find coiled in cassettes.

The collection was divided into two parts – first up was a desire to “re-think and re-work the DNA of the brand”: the black suit and the white shirt. “How can we re-make that and deconstruct it for the future?” was the question Van Assche posed. The answer was to approach the suit in what he called a “radical” new way: the first silhouettes were a menswear take on Christian Dior’s classic Bar silhouette for women while the backs of jackets were cut away to reveal bondage-like straps which bisected the t-shirts beneath. Some pieces saw sleeves chopped off entirely to become scarves wrapped around the neck, and trousers were blown up into raver-wide, JNCO-like proportions, or else replaced by super short shorts. In a direct tribute to the house, the address of the Rue de Marignan atelier appeared prominently, featuring on bags, tops, shirts, pins and more.

But there was also an ode to American adolescence – with varsity jackets and prints, a heavy sportswear theme, and what Van Assche said was a tribute to the all American prom night – when young men might put on their first suit. “For me it’s just youth culture, street culture,” he noted of the Stateside references – which have also been a famous source of inspiration for fellow Belgian, Raf Simons. “When I was 15 we all looked at America for that. Some of those memories come back… but now that street culture is everywhere, it’s worldwide.” One phrase came splashed across multiple pieces: “LATE NIGHT SUMMER”. “I really wanted to evoke when you get to stay out the whole night for the first time,” he says. “The sky’s the limit – having beers, your first boyfriend or girlfriend, that idea of becoming aware that the way you dress is going to help you socialise and exist, really.”

Trainers were matched with every look – like when teenage boys kick off their school shoes as soon as the bell rings and put on their freshest pair of sneakers. There was also a collaboration with artist Francois Bard, whose work depicts 21st century scenes – men in caps, trainers and hoodies – in fine art oil paintings. Similar to Van Assche’s own work, his practice mixes the contemporary and street with elevated, precisely honed techniques. The designer even has some of Bard’s pieces at home. “I think he has a very traditional way of portraying something very modern, so I very much like his work,” he praises. Beneath it all was an exploration of the line between boyishness and manhood, those moments young men start to discover their style, begin to dress with intent: “The idea of these guys at college… how do they enter into this process of seduction or being more sexy? By cutting off their sleeves, making their own necklaces… but with little skulls because of course they’re still tough.”

While some designers might be getting restless after such a long time, Van Assche seems perfectly content. The rest of the industry, it should be noted, appears to be in a near-constant state of flux, with new moves announced regularly and one designer – Justin O’Shea, hired at Brioni – only lasting a single season in his new job. “It feels like I’m growing into a new chapter, it doesn’t really feel like I’ve been doing the same thing for 10 years,” Van Assche says. He cites the decision to shake up the campaign team and start working with David Sims as an example – “I’m reinventing it because I want to change it on a high. I don’t want to get into a comfort zone.” That’s the risk of working in a big house, he admits: “You know the expectations, you know what will sell, what people will like. But in the end I really realised with my own label – I’m not having enough fun with this. So I had to clean everything out and I started having more fun here.” It’s certainly paying off.

Business Of Fashion – 24 juin 2017

Teenage Nights at Dior Homme

By Tim Blanks

The power of smell is such that when the first astronauts went into space, they carried vials of different scents as reassuring reminders of Planet Earth. The one that spoke most to happy memories was apparently fresh grass. It certainly worked that way for Kris Van Assche, whose latest show for Dior Homme, Late Night Summer was primed with his recollections of adolescence and staged on a carpet of grass that smelled almost overpoweringly summery.

The massive curtains of dark tape that hung above it might have been an abstract rendition of a night sky, but I thought of cassette tape too, and teenage boys like Assche slaving over compilations for their Walkmans. Frederic Sanchez struck all the right notes with his soundtrack: Radiohead’s Creep, Depeche’s Enjoy the Silence, REM’s Losing My Religion, Black’s Wonderful Life… more happy memories.

There was a sweatshirt in the show embroidered with a painting of flowers by the artist Francois Bard, whose pictures of boys in hoodies Van Assche also duplicated. Bard used some words in his original work, which the designer loosely translated as, “Time is only catching those who ignore it.” Van Assche has never been in any danger of that. He’s always been acutely aware of the passage of time, even more so this season as he celebrates his 10th year at Dior, which is also the house’s 70th anniversary.

The first half of the show was Van Assche’s reflection on what he considers to be the DNA of Dior menswear, a black suit and white shirt. His dissection was thorough, from an opening look where, for the first time, he offered a male take on the classic “veste de bar”, very tailored with a suppressed waist. Next, the jacket was sleeveless, paired with short shorts, gym shorts really, except they were in black ottoman wool. A little later, there was a tailcoat, Van Assche’s favourite piece in the collection, “because it was the most challenging.” It was cut on the bias, a break with tradition that gave the atelier’s tailors nightmares, according to the designer. Its formality was defused by being shown inside out and paired, again, with those shorts. And, again, it was also shown sleeveless. The orphaned sleeves were used in the collection as scarves or casually knotted round waists.

If that first half of the show was a celebration of his professional life — the address of the atelier was used as a decorative ribbon detail down a sleeve or writ small as a pinstripe — the second half was personal. “Late night summer, when we were kids staying out all night for the first time, drinking beers, falling in love…” Van Assche based these looks on school uniforms, with sweatshirts and bombers printed with a college-like logo, or those Bard images of hoodies.

He mentioned the “attitude of the street” often. Every model wore trainers. Some also wore necklaces that were supposed to look like they’d strung them themselves, from dice and skulls and shells. And there were so many more of the shorts that the teenage gam is incontrovertibly confirmed as the primary male erogenous zone of Spring 2018.

But (and there is always a “but” with KVA) something else Van Assche said illuminated why his signature hybrid of sport and tailoring will always err on the side of the latter, so that even the raging hormones of adolescence were subsumed here by adult abstemiousness. I asked about his own summer late nights, his own bittersweet memories of adolescent firsts. “I was way too good,” he answered ruefully. “That’s why I have to live it now.” So it’s all a fantasy. But, after a certain point, time will catch you, and it’s just too late.

SHOWstudio – 24 juin 2017

Lou Stoppard reports on the Comme des Garçons Homme Plus show

For seasons, we’ve all been complaining shows are mundane, repetitive, similar, safe. Kawakubo’s message, straight after opening her retrospective, is that she’s still setting the pace.
Comme des Garçons Made Me Hardcore. Rei Kawakubo has lots of reasons to celebrate – a stellar exhibition dedicated to her work opened recently at the Met’s Costume Institute in New York. It’s the second ever solo show to be dedicated to a living designer (the first was Yves Saint Laurent in 1983). Quite the achievement. So no wonder she was in the mood for a party.

Her past few collections have felt concerned, compassionate, reflective. Themes of war, displacement and masculinity have dominated her work. This was a more optimistic affair – what says optimism more than sparkle? Or disco lights? Or dancing? DJ extraordinaire Frédéric Sanchez set the mood and amped up the nostalgia by playing Supernature. Models danced with varying degrees of awkwardness. That added to the success of the show. The mood wasn’t mindless fun and happy hedonism. More that euphoric, urgent escapism of moving clumsily in a club – of whiling away hours on the dancing floor, bumping into fellow revellers, searching for meaning, looking for love. Models looked like boys at the end of the night, keen to find some vague purpose to keep them going for a few more hours.

Sounds fun? Yes, but there was depth too. The collection was dubbed What’s On The Inside Matters – strangely ironic, given that nights out are almost entirely about surface and luring others in with outfits, knowing glances and moves. The title was a reference to the clothes – jackets were almost entirely worn inside out. Only a Comme des Garçons jacket could be so beautiful that the internal panels, crafted often in florals or busy patterns, could look so at home on the outside. Three special styles were made in collaboration with Mona Luison, a textile sculptor whose work is childlike and warped, hence all those doll heads and terrifying baby faces. These pieces were the stuff of nightmares – a perfect version of a bad trip. For the finale, all the models reappeared on the square elevated platform that formed Kawakubo’s runway. They bopped mindlessly, bumping into each other, striking poses for the photographers. Close your eyes slightly and it looked like a scene from a Mark Leckey art film. As the last one left, and the music began to fade, the clapping began. It didn’t stop even after the lights went up and the sound finished. At most shows, just as the final model disappears from view, the front row leap to attention, rushing for the door. Here, we all stayed. Clapping. Smiling. Wishing for more. For seasons, we’ve all been complaining shows are mundane, repetitive, similar, safe. Kawakubo’s message, straight after opening her retrospective, is that she’s still setting the pace. After that, others need to work much harder.

Business Of Fashion – 24 juin 2017

Fierce Optimism at Comme Des Garçons Homme Plus

By Tim Blanks

Elevated catwalks are anathema to Rei Kawakubo, but the raised square that filled the centre of the Salle Wagram for Comme Des Garcons’ show on Friday afternoon looked a lot like a dancefloor in a nightclub. And sure enough, when Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack blared and the coloured spots started to spin and a passel of boys shuffled onto the floor, Comme54 sprang into awkward life.

Kawakubo gave Sanchez a one-word brief: DISCO! He mutated it a little: as much disco as a skewed spin on rave. The clothes followed suit: Madchester made even madder, like the models’ Liam Gallagher hairdos, exaggerated and drowned in sparkly gloop. Glitter cascaded over Comme signatures like the baggy shorts and the elongated, voluminous jackets.

Kawakubo’s message was this: What’s on the inside matters. All the jackets were turned inside out. So the incredible patchwork of sparkle, fake fur and animal print that we saw was actually a lining? You could scarcely picture a more vivid analogy for the crazy turmoil of anyone’s inner life at this particular moment in the decline and fall of western civilization. But it was so upbeat, sweet even. There were shirts and waistcoats that looked like they’d been composed of candy. And the stumbling self-consciousness of the models (who really wants to dance in front of an audience?) was a charming antidote to the otherwise-frostiness of this season’s runways. The takeaway was a fierce optimism. It’s not always been an attitude that easily attaches itself to Comme des Garcons (collaborator Mona

The takeaway was a fierce optimism. It’s not always been an attitude that easily attaches itself to Comme des Garcons (collaborator Mona Luison’s doll-parts jackets harked back to Kawakubo’s ability to effortlessly disconcert) , but in the wake of a major exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, the designer’s unique position in fashion has been brought to the fascinated attention of a much wider audience. You have to imagine that feels good. Well, something made her want to throw a party.

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Business Of Fashion – 18 juin 2017

A Graphic Pradaworld

In the face of so much conceptual complexity in her art world, Miuccia Prada opted for simplicity — the human touch — in her fashion world.

By Tim Blanks

Miuccia Prada hasn’t seen any of David Lynch’s new Twin Peaks. “I’m keeping it for the summer,” she said cheerily, “on the boat, when I’m bored.” It will be fascinating to hear her verdict, especially in light of the men’s show she presented on Sunday night, which she initially described as the result of her feeling “trapped between virtual reality and humanity.”

That seems to be more or less what is happening to everyone in Lynchland, with occasionally horrific results. No horror in Prada, of course, but the same effort to reconcile our primal human physicality (“Live real, love real, die real,” as Miuccia said) and the vast, unpredictable unknowability of almost everything else. Lynch advocates surrender to chaos, Prada is still bent on extracting some kind of order from it all.

That’s why she’d fallen in love with comics: their simple frame-by-frame logic, the humanity of the handmade. At the same time, Miuccia found their peculiar stop/start quality appealing. It’s a lot like life. “They’re the opposite of fake virtual reality, but at the same time they’re very fragmented.” In commissioning a couple of artists to create graphic analogies for her state of mind, she’d asked that they “do stories, push the human touch, not too superhero.”

The Prada showspace was lined with huge dislocated frames, alienation writ super-large. On Prada’s Instagram, the frames were allowed to form into short vignettes that offered a more cohesive glimpse of narrative possibility. Maybe that in itself was exactly the juxtaposition Miuccia was addressing. “You have to embrace the new world, but you don’t want to lose your essential humanity,” she mused. “Do you put them together, or keep them separate? The whole world is facing this challenge.”

Never mind that her challenge was to somehow convey all this in a collection of clothing. Truth be told, it was one of those seasons where the ebb and flow of the designer’s thought processes were more entrancing than the physical expression of those processes. Right now, the Fondazione Prada in Milan is showing a virtual reality piece by the director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu that is wringing tears from viewers. Meanwhile, the Fondazione Prada in Venice has a fourway between artist Thomas Demand, filmmaker Alexander Kluge, costume designer Anna Viebrock and curator Udo Kittelmann that is the most extraordinary, engulfing experience, literally stepping through a door (actually, there are many doors to choose from) into a parallel reality. (Lynch again!) So it was understandable that, in the face of so much conceptual complexity in her art world, Miuccia would opt for simplicity – the human touch – in her fashion world.

My takeaway from the show was a jumpsuit. “I’m crazy about jumpsuits,” Miuccia enthused. “I fell in love, no reason. Probably because it’s simple.” As well as which, it tied into the collection’s utilitarian subtext of functional human clothing (the apotheosis of the bumbag, right here, right now). Concerned that simplicity might be edging towards naivete, Miuccia weighted a number of looks with big heavy classic coats in flannel and herringbone. “The right counterpart,” she decided. “That’s just fashion.”

Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack switched between New Wave radio stations, and all at once, the boys on the runway were cool kids in the 80s, with their semi-Stray Cat dos, and their Joe Jackson shoes, collars turned up, pants hitched high. And those coats, borrowed from dad, or pinched from a second-hand shop. In its own perverse way, it was a vision of innocence, comic strip clarity in a world spinning out of control. We know what happens to innocents in Lynchland. Can they survive in Pradaworld?

Dior Homme x Sennheiser – Musique originale et sound design – Juin 2017







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Personal Abyss

System Magazine – 02 juin 2017

My studio is more than a place of experimentation. It’s an extension of my own mind.’

The work and inspirations of one of fashion’s go-to music men.

By Frédéric Sanchez

Music-producer, Frédéric Sanchez, can be considered more than that. Known for featuring complex loops in his compositions, and creating audio-visual “soundscapes” with original films, Sanchez is best described as a sound-artist. The latter title, “artist”, is often also assigned to those Sanchez has collaborated with for many years, producing music for the shows of designers Martin Margiela, Miuccia Prada, and Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garçons.

Sanchez revisited his archive for System, reworking footage from his various projects for a film that showcases his body of work, and the space in which it was created: his studio. Read Sanchez on the significance of this space, in his own words, below.

“My studio has become more than a place of experimentation; it’s like an extension of my own mind. With the many connections that are made, and interrupted there, it’s a space that leads me down previously unknown paths. Those paths meander and merge, responding to one another before inspiring something different – a new image. I give this new image to the viewers, who can then perceive it with their own emotions and dream up their own interpretation.”

For more from Frédéric Sanchez, read his conversation with fellow music producer, Michel Gaubert, in System No. 9. Click to buy.

Credits: Roma by Federico Fellini (1972), The Last of England by Derek Jarman (1988), Martin Margiela at Café de la Gare, Station Saint-Martin (1992), Siouxsie and the Banshees, Martine Sitbon at Elysée Montmartre (2008), Evening of Light by François De Menil (1969), Barbara Sukowa, Francesco Vezzoli, Visage, Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Café Society’ (1994), Merce Cunningham, Michael Clarke, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Virgin Prunes, Prada, Comme des Garçons at Elysée Montmartre, Patrice Chéreau’s Bayreuth, Dior Homme, Last Year in Marienbad by Alain Resnais (1861), And the Ship Sails On by Federico Fellini (1983).

Dior Homme Toyko 2017 – Composition originale





Prada Resort 2018 show video – Composition originale

Prada women’s fall winter 2017 2018 show video – Composition originale

Le Monde – 09 mai 2017

Prada et ses fantaisies sucrées

Robes aux nuances de bonbons, blousons de nylon soufflé, imprimés lapin, Prada a présenté à Milan une première collection croisière faussement légère.

Par Carine Bizet

Dimanche, pour son premier défilé croisière, Prada a accueilli ses invités au nouveau restaurant Marchesi, à l’étage de sa boutique historique de la galerie Vittorio Emanuele II, à Milan. En 2014, la griffe italienne avait acheté ce salon de thé emblématique, fondé en 1824. Quel rapport entre les gourmandises de Marchesi et le luxe Prada ? Ces gâteaux à l’épaisse enveloppe sucrée et pastel, mi-kitsch, mi-désuets, révèlent des couches subtiles aux textures surprenantes, et sont un peu les allégories hypercaloriques de la mode Prada.

De la douceur, la marque peut en avoir besoin : le groupe Prada (qui rassemble aussi Church’s et Jil Sander) annonçait pour 2016 une baisse de 9 % de son chiffre d’affaires. S’inviter parmi les maisons du luxe qui mettent en scène leurs collections croisière n’est pas une dépense supplémentaire inconsidérée. A l’heure où le marché est malmené et saturé, les marques sont priées de se distinguer. Et à ce jeu, Miuccia Prada ne craint personne : il existe bien une esthétique Prada, mieux, un point de vue sur le monde, fait de dissonances et de faux-semblants.

Une fois les sucreries pastel dégustées, le public grimpe deux étages pour se retrouver sous le dôme de verre et métal de la galerie Vittorio Emanuele, et assister au défilé lui-même. Miuccia Prada adore les rondeurs de l’endroit, où son partenaire de toujours, l’architecte Rem Koolhaas, a installé un décor de miroirs qui démultiplie l’espace et file la métaphore des faux-semblants et des rencontres inattendues, celle qui guide toute la collection. Robes en organza superposé aux nuances de bonbons pastel et chaussettes de sport portées avec des talons aux architectures art déco, blousons de nylon soufflé et jupe portefeuille fermée d’une plaque de gomme gravée, imprimés lapins très Lewis Carroll, grands manteaux décolletés aux tombés sensuels et austères à la fois, chemise translucide piquée de bijoux graphiques façon Chrysler Building, robes bustier en coton à poches zippées et basket techniques… le mélange est fluide et vertigineux.

« Les formes se métamorphosent du sport à l’élégance, résume la créatrice. L’aspect érotique est lié à une forme de censure : quand j’étais jeune, on pouvait se promener à moitié nue, mais aujourd’hui, parce qu’il faut respecter les cultures et les religions, ce n’est plus possible. » De ce mélange s’impose une féminité complexe, moderne et opiniâtre, comme son auteure. « Je déteste tout ce qui contraint la femme à adhérer à une version “officielle” du beau. Déjouer ce conformisme est mon obsession, je n’utilise ces stéréotypes qu’avec beaucoup d’ironie. » Féministe par nature et conviction, Miuccia Prada n’a pas besoin de tee-shirts à messages pour le dire. Et son message est ici d’autant plus convaincant qu’elle paraît avoir retrouvé une légèreté, un sens de la simplicité raffinée.
Il semblerait que l’exercice de la croisière, qui permet de s’extraire des Fashion Weeks où l’on n’a le temps de rien et où il faut en faire beaucoup pour retenir l’attention, autorise la créatrice à s’exprimer avec moins d’urgence et de tension. Et elle a aussi décidé de donner un nouveau souffle à son travail : « Je souhaite désormais me montrer plus réaliste et honnête, pas seulement faire ce que j’aime et ce que je pense avoir du sens mais ce qui est utile pour aujourd’hui. S’isoler dans un monde de sophistication ne permet pas de progresser. Vous pouvez être le plus grand génie du monde mais si personne ne vous écoute, cela ne sert à rien. Je veux continuer à me confronter à la banalité et à la vulgarité, mais sans être isolée. »

Miuccia Prada poursuit donc son chemin entourée d’une équipe fidèle qui connaît bien son monde, comme Rem Koolhaas et Frédéric Sanchez, qui met en son ses défilés et a composé cette fois une mosaïque subtile et bluffante (la musique électronique de Mirwais, la voix du mannequin des années 1970 Veruschka, des reprises de Tchaïkovski par Malcolm McLaren, etc.).

Et puis il y a le bel « appendice » de son univers : la fondation Prada où elle orchestre ses goûts personnels en matière d’art. La présentation de la croisière coïncide d’ailleurs avec le vernissage de la nouvelle exposition de Francesco Vezzoli, ami et collaborateur de longue date, une œuvre consacrée à la télévision italienne des années 1970. Dans une mise en scène pop et très « cronenbergienne » (période Vidéodrome), l’artiste revisite et confronte, grâce à des installations vidéo, de riches univers : la variété délirante et désinhibée qui glorifiait la Cicciolina (présente à la soirée) ou Grace Jones, mais aussi les journaux télévisés ensanglantés par les attentats de l’extrême gauche italienne. Là encore, il est question d’éclectisme, de confrontations de contraires pour exprimer une réalité complexe. Comme chez Prada.

Business Of Fashion – 09 mai 2017

At Prada Cruise, New Heights of Spiky Femininity

The collection was a fabulously feisty female manifesto to the world of old white men who go on grabbing at the headlines.

BY TIM BLANKS

MILAN, Italy — This resort season is air miles madness for the hardy few prepared to chase fashion shows across the globe. Miuccia Prada opted for intelligent restraint. She showed at home, in Milan, but her choice of venue was so extraordinary and the bolt-on – an evening at the Fondazione Prada with Francesco Vezzoli’s new show « TV70″ – so stimulating, that I doubt there was a soul who missed the experiential thrill of a far-off land.

Miuccia presented five floors above the original Prada shop in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s grandest – and oldest – malls (150 years-plus, if you’re counting). We looked out over the rusted industrial bones of the dome and the arcade, a vantage point so rare it was enough to make you feel like the Phantom alone in his opera house. And all that metallic, masculine grandiosity seemed to provoke Miuccia to new heights of spiky femininity. Pink and pastel, feathers and crystal, scalloped hems of lace on filmy lingerie, delicate layers of transparency…she’d expressed ambiguous feelings about these traditional tokens of seduction after her collection in February, but the world continues to change at warp speed, and the impulse to co-opt and subvert, always an impetus in Miuccia’s work, can only have grown stronger.

She said she’d been thinking about modernism before she decided to show in the Galleria, a building which was, in its day, the elegant apogee of modernist architecture. Once the venue was chosen, she set out to marry that modernist elegance to the spirit she isolated as its contemporary equivalent in fashion: the lean, active, body-conscious essence of sportswear. But we are talking about Prada here, so the marriage was consummated under a topsheet of tantalizing perversity. Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack used snippets from Francis Lai’s score for David Hamilton’s 1977 scandal-fest « Bilitis. » The soft-focus eroticism of that movie was reflected in a collection which luxuriated in a Lolita-like prettiness. Kate Moss in the first flush of her career came to mind: the feathered headbands, the pigtails, the provokingly sheer layers designed to exercise Prudence McPrude, the Mayoress of Prudie Town. Longtime Prada collaborator James Jean contributed an art nouveau graphic of frolicking bunnies.

It could have been cute, but Miuccia Prada doesn’t do cute. The kick in this collection was the sport. The first look – a black hoodie with Elizabethan sleeves over a sheer black skirt over a white slip and schoolgirl kneesocks with Chicklet and Concetta heels – was a virtual manifesto. Beauty with balls. And so it went on, a fabulously feisty female fuck-you to the world of old white men who go on grabbing at headlines with their self-aggrandising last gasps. There was a moment, not so long ago, when the Prada mojo went AWOL. On Sunday, that moment was a distant memory.

Salvatore Ferragamo women’s fall winter 2017 2018 show video – Composition originale

MSGM fall winter 2017 2018 show video – Composition originale

Moncler fall winter 2017 2018 show video – Composition originale

Missoni fall winter 2017 2018 show video – Composition originale

Miu Miu fall winter 2017 2018 show video – Composition originale

Lanvin fall winter 2017 2018 fashion show – Composition originale

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Business Of Fashion – 09 mars 2017

Engaging Escape at Miu Miu

The Miu Miu show fizzed with surreal joie de vivre, while the diversity of the casting energised both the collection and its designer.

Miuccia Prada gave full rein to her ambiguous feelings about glamour this season: its “stupidity” in Milan, its “madness” in Paris. Ambiguity should always look this good. In both cities, she mounted shows that fizzed with surreal joie de vivre.

Or maybe “fuzzed” is more appropriate. For her Miu Miu presentation on Tuesday afternoon, the entire venue was coated with sinus-tickling fake fur in a lurid shade of purple (the invitation was furry too). And the collection used the faux to maximum effect (except when it was fox): big coats, big collars and big caps, a full-on challenge to restraint in a palette that started with Singapore sling and ended on pink gin fizz.

Insert your own cocktail of choice. The point is, Miu Miu was in a party mood, with De La Soul underscoring the uplift. Prada dressed 21st century flappers in paillette-ed and feathery slips then wrapped them in lush, cocooning coats.

The same coats swathed silken loungewear last seen in Jean Harlow’s boudoir. The broad-shouldered, nipped-waist silhouettes echoed the 40s (in 80s activewear), the telephone and kittykat prints had a kitschy early 60s flavor. In other words, the collection was all times, and no time — or at least, no time that wasn’t a glamorous good time. And the footwear was nothing short of fabulous.

This season has offered a couple of clear choices: engage or escape. Miuccia Prada may have covered both bases. As exuberant as she was about “the madness of glamour,” she was even more enthusiastic about the casting for the MiuMiu show, as diverse as any we saw during these past few weeks when a vital new vigilance has arisen around the challenges facing women and girls inside and outside the industry. If it energised her show, it also energised her. And there’s a lesson for fashion’s old guard.

Neue Luxury – 08 mars 2017

CRAIG GREEN : Romance and Optimism
BY OSMAN AHMED

It’s a rare moment when fashion editors are moved to tears at a fashion show. Of course, there are stories of audiences weeping at the hands of Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela, but that was over two decades ago, way before the industry reached the apex of corporate capacity and widespread cynicism ensued. Imagine the sense of palpable optimism and sincerity that filled the Bloomsbury basement in 2014 where Craig Green would present Silent Protest, his first solo show since graduating from Central Saint Martins. It ended with a substantial part of the audience speechless and somewhat embarrassed by the glistening beads rolling down their cheeks. To use one of the industry’s favourite phrases, it was a fashion moment.

“It wasn’t a protest about anything specifically,” says Green, recalling the moment that struck a chord with his audience. “I just thought there was something really beautiful about that idea. It doesn’t start from a statement, like, ‘I’ve got something to say’. It starts with blocks of colour and fabric and thinking, isn’t there something beautiful about that? Or how can we make tarpaulin fabric look spiritual? It’s what’s used on construction sites, but we quilted it and deconstructed it, and mixed with sails and flags felt right in a weird futuristic way.” Green is being modest and like many designers, he is reticent when it comes to imbuing his work with meaning or intent. “I think the work should start conversation and discussion, but I can’t tell people what to think,” he reasons in his warm estuary twang. “I was thinking about this in relation to art … And the difference between what the artist says it is about, and what people view it as. Which is the truth and which is more important?”

Green’s collections get better every season, partly thanks to the stoic focus on his own evergreen interests: romantic and pragmatic variations of functionality through the looking glass of Ruskinian handcraft. On one hand, there’s the muslin trailing monastic sensuality in the form of intricate low-fi construction and barefoot styling—knotted together judo strings, billowing loosely slung trousers and ritualistically swathed washed silk straps and wraps travelling around the body. On the other, a consideration of functionality and workwear with much harder edged sensibility—quilted and padded cricketing panels akin to bullet proof vests, plasticised weather resistant fabrics and severely-strapped hooded hazmat suits. It’s no wonder that his work has already been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and The Design Museum in London, as well as winning best British Menswear Designer at the 2016 Fashion Awards.

“I’ve always been fascinated with that idea of a communal way of dress and it being a way of grouping people together,” he offers as an explanation to his self-proclaimed cult like vision. “My MA collection was about the relationship between workwear and religious wear, and how one was for function and one was for spiritual or imagined function. They have such similarities between them in terms of their utilitarian, simple nature.” Green insists that uniformity is at the heart of his work. His shows are increasingly split into distinct chapters of four or five looks that explore a singular idea, technique or aesthetic. “It has uniformity from the beginning—even before there’s clothing. I want it to look like an army, or march, or groups of people.”

For his Autumn/Winter 2016 show, Green sent down one of his best collections to date. The show opened with models wrapped, strapped and tied up in tailored hazmat suits, which unfolded into hypochondriacally protective wear. Hoods were drawn tightly around the face, with added straps to hold them in place. “They’re to keep out germs,” Green clarified. What appeared at first to be a message of restraint, became a story of sensitivity and self preservation with heavyweight cotton coats dissected by lacing or buttons only half fastened—as if caught in a moment before furling away. These were clothes that armoured against the madness of the world and its exhausting pace, whilst commenting on the vulnerability of living in it.

“This is going to sound really pessimistic, but there’s always that feeling of protection and that’s what clothing is,” says Green. That show came at a time when Britain and America were gearing up towards major political events, and at a time when fashion had accelerated to an unsustainable speed, culminating in several major brands installing revolving doors for its creative directors. Green admitted that “The shows are about trying to project an emotion. It’s about what feels right at that time and what would be exciting to see.”

Green’s Spring/Summer 2017 show was poetry in motion. It marked a collaboration with music producer Frédéric Sanchez, who compiled a soundtrack that journeyed through variations of Roy Harper’s Another Day, with layers of sound from Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, Elizabeth Fraser and Oliver Coates. “We always try and do something slightly nostalgic and emotional,” laughs Green. “The first sample he sent was it, so we had the music before we had the collection.” The result was so utterly romantic that it somewhat washed away the harsh climate of the political landscape. “I think you have to be optimistic when you do this, you’re constantly looking forward and trying to excite. I try and find the romantic quality in things and that’s always the challenge.”

Business Of Fashion – 05 mars 2017


Essential Evolution at Comme des Garçons

BY TIM BLANKS

PARIS, France — “The future of silhouette” was Rei Kawakubo’s description of her new collection, but it could equally have been silhouette’s past that inspired her. Her designs exploded the female form into primal shapes that looked as much Stone Age as they did Space Age. Either way, they sidestepped any fashion consideration as efficiently as her defiantly non-fashion choice of materials. Nothing woven. That much we were told. We might have been looking at crumpled brown paper, a fake reptile texture composed of chemical by-products, the felt blankets that moving companies use, cotton wadding from a medical facility, silver foil…

And it was beautiful. Beautiful like the Venus of Willendorf. Beautiful like Warhol’s Silver Clouds. There were recognisable human forms in the exaggerated shapes. I’d swear I could see a figure with its hands thrust deep in pockets, for instance. One shape was belted. Another looked like a biker jacket melted in primordial heat.

It often seems like a Comme des Garçons show simply happens, beginning and ending quite randomly. With the upcoming show at the Met, a different level of scrutiny will be applied to everything the label does. One thing that was striking about Saturday’s presentation was its performance aspect: the placing and use of the suspended spotlights; the movement of the models, warily circling each other; Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack, of course, which used the chill, drifting electronica of Biosphere, the Norwegian musician who once recorded the noise made by the Northern Lights.

There was a quiet deliberation to all of this which heightened an eldritch sense of drama, of something pre — or more likely post —human. These weren’t so much clothes as they were evolving thought processes. And they highlighted how essential such evolution is.

Vogue – 04 mars 2017

Meet Prada’s Music Man—And Hear His Fantastical Playlist for Vogue

by FERNANDO DIAS DE SOUZA

When I saw Frédéric Sanchez’s working files for the music for a Prada show, I understood the beauty and complexity of his craft: endless sound pieces, masterfully layered, finding harmony in chaos.
You might be familiar with his work. In addition to sound installations, music production, and artistic collaborations, Sanchez has been the sonic illustrator behind the sound of Prada, Christian Dior, Miu Miu, Comme des Garçons, and many other great brands. His approach to work is completely artistic: composing sound sequences from scratch.
We spoke to the French artist about his approach to work, his relationship with sound, and his exclusively curated Vogue playlist, which he titled “Musée Imaginaire.”
Hello Frédéric, can you talk a little bit about the “Musée Imaginaire” playlist you made for us?
Hello! This playlist is almost autobiographical; in a way, all these pieces of music really represent my taste. There are some artists who are very important to me, like the first track with Robert Wyatt, the drummer of Soft Machine, he did a few records that are so interesting and collaborations with a few musicians from jazz, rock, to experimental and other things. And it’s true that from these people, I learned very young, I learned a lot about music, but it’s where all my culture comes from. Also books, theater, opera, you know what I mean? I’ve been myself through these artists. Sound is very important for me because I express myself through sound.
The first track comes from Brian Eno’s record label in the ’70s called Obscure Records. All the Obscure Records covers are black, very beautiful, like video stills of buildings. They did a few very interesting records. There’s about 15 of them, including one with a John Cage piece of Robert Wyatt singing a cappella and another with an English composer called Gavin Bryars who worked on a piece called “The Sinking of the Titanic.” It’s a 27-minute piece that is very, very beautiful. I really like the John Cale piece, the speaking part where a woman talks about what you hear on the radio, at the beginning. The radio was very important to me when I was younger.
I also put this piece in my playlist called “Memories” with Whitney Houston, by a band called Material. They were incredible musicians. That was really the beginning of hip-hop, in the early ’80s with people like Grandmaster Flash. It was very related to Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. There’s this incredible jazz musician called Archie Shepp in the track, and what is interesting is that I think it’s one of the first recordings of Whitney Houston—and this song was written by Robert Wyatt. It’s all kind of connected. The song after, “Torture” by Kris Jensen, was in Scorpio Rising, a movie by Kenneth Anger. It’s an incredible film, almost like video art, using all this music from the ’50s and ’60s.
Listen to a preview of Sanchez’s playlist here.

How does something like books or even opera come into play in your work?
Opera has been very important to me since I was young. I had an aesthetic shock that was very important, that comes from theater. For example, at the end of the ’70s, there’s a German tango piece in the playlist from Juan Llossas. This piece, for example, comes from a Pina Bausch ballet. This is very important. At the end of the ’70s, I saw a Kurt Weill opera and I remember I saw this piece near my studio. The set there was neon lights, and the musicians came from the Krautrock universe. I think they were musicians from a German band called Ash Ra Tempel. It was synthesizer. That made me interested in, of course, German music, but also in old German music like Kurt Weill or Richard Wagner, and also in Bertolt Brecht plays. So from one thing . . . it’s what you call in French arborescence, suddenly it becomes sort of like a spider and your mind is going to different worlds. This is how I base my work, and this was very important for the work I started after. You know, in fashion a lot of people work with mood boards, images they put on a wall. And so the first time that I started working with a fashion designer, I already knew this language. I had no idea about fashion when I started working with fashion; I was more into music. When I was 14, 15, I was very influenced by the avant-garde, Pina Bausch, like I said. I think that when I started working with Martin Margiela at the end of the ’80s, his language and his way of working, I knew it instinctively, so suddenly I wanted to push further in that direction. His way of manipulating images was my work; I was manipulating sound images. That’s why I’m telling you that all these pieces I chose represent my work; they are a little bit like my mood board.
Talking about mood boards, when I saw the software you use to compose the tracks, and there was a working file on-screen, it was amazing to see the number of sound layers you use.
Yes, that’s the way I work. Usually when I start a project, it comes from images, it can be film, it can be from theater or opera, it can be photos, or even images I take myself. When I compose my own music, it always comes from images that I create. If you go to my website, all images on the homepage are mine. I call this composition “Film Sonore.” There’s a very fine line between sound and images for me; for me it’s exactly the same.
Since the beginning of my interest in music, album covers were very important. There are lots of artists that I discovered through the covers alone. Sometimes I was so fascinated by the artwork. I remember a band called Japan, there was an album called Gentlemen Take Polaroids, and the other one was Tin Drum, that was very influenced by Japanese aesthetic—I love those covers. It’s also how I discovered fashion because when I saw, for example, someone like Peter Saville was doing the covers for the Factory records like Joy Division and all that, and also in the ’80s doing Yohji Yamamoto catalogues. I was very interested in fashion because of this. So my interest in all of this comes from image.

When did you start your work with fashion?
I started when I stopped school; I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I had the opportunity to meet two designers who were very important to me, Martine Sitbon and Martin Margiela. During their first shows, it was sort of a collaborative work, and there was a big research process. For example, for Margiela’s first show, I really did what best represents my work. In a way, I was not mixing the music because at the time I didn’t consider my work the one of a musician or a producer; the approach was almost of editing cinema. So many of my first soundtracks were made with cuts, taking track one after the other. There were maybe 20 different pieces of music that were taped in a very raw way, in a way not very well done. I like the fact that if a record was scratching, I would leave the scratch sound; if it was not loud enough, I would put everything to the maximum volume. With Martin, the format of fashion shows changed; shows suddenly became more like performances, so I created soundtracks that went with this idea, continuous soundtracks that told a story from beginning to end. Later, I pushed this idea further with Marc Jacobs. We were using just one piece of music per show, which was very much “What you show is one idea,” very precise. I remember for his third show, we did the entire show with a record from Elastica when it came out, and then later we started to work with one piece of music. When we found the right piece, Marc was playing it over and over in the studio, like an obsession.

This repetition, the droning sound, is very much the Krautrock you mentioned before.
Yes, and all that I’m telling you at the moment, I did it naturally and then after, I discovered that people actually worked that way. For example, someone like Terry Riley, who’s so important, he was doing this thing with two tape recorders, which is called “Time Lag Accumulator.” He recorded a delay and the delay never stopped. This type of process of making music also influenced artists like Brian Eno, Robert Fripp; they used this idea of how to work with the delay. Now you can buy this little device, the Buddha Machine, which are loops. It plays loops. They just did one with Philip Glass. I’ve also been very influenced by American minimalist artists like Charles Ives, for example. There’s this piece called “The Unanswered Question,” it’s used in a Scorsese movie, I think Shutter Island. This piece for me is one of the basis of minimalist music. Then there’s another composer called Morton Feldman. In France, we have Erik Satie, he is very important to what I call “furniture music,” music that creates an environment, like how sound creates architecture in the architecture.
During Fashion Week, you must normally have a lot of work. When does it normally start for you?
When I started, it was kind of long, the process, and now it has become very last minute. At the moment, it’s all changing. I try to work with more time in advance, because I really want to feel this sort of creative process again. If you work too much last minute, it’s not relevant enough. There are also many things that have changed, for example, for a brand like Prada, I do the music for the show, but I also compose for the Internet, so it’s like I’m doing both things at the same time, and it takes me longer to compose the music for the website than to do the soundtrack of the show. I prefer to do many things for one designer and to do research all the time. There are so many things online that to create something new, it’s much trickier. There’s too much of everything and you can feel a little lost. So I think, in a way, starting earlier, talking a lot, it’s very important for me to communicate in order to create things.

In the most recent Dior Homme show, the music sounds like hard techno, but I don’t know if you would label it like that . . .
There were many elements. There was a sort of New Wave element. Kris Van Assche showed me this artist called Dan Witz, who made very beautiful photographs of people like they are in a rave; they are almost like 19th-century paintings. So there were these two elements, something quite classic and something quite punk, rave, that kind of thing. You feel that again in these photographs. The music was inspired by a rave, very electronic, with sounds of New Wave, but there was also a ceremonial feeling, so I picked this piece, from Depeche Mode, “Black Celebration.” We decided that if you go to a rave, it’s like going to a celebration of something, the same sort of feeling. There’s something religious about it. It’s the second time I worked with Kris Van Assche and I have developed the idea with him that the music could travel in the space where the show happens, meaning it plays in different speakers. The final result was very much like a sound installation, like a sort of kaleidoscope of sound. This one, for example, I worked on very far in advance. We started talking about it in November because after working in the music, there was the work of the sound in the space. It comes from my personal work; I do a lot of sound installations, sometimes with 50 speakers in a space.

When you are in the process of developing a soundtrack, do you listen to a lot of music or is it all in your head and you work from there?
I listen to a lot of music, of course. I also listen to everything new that comes out, but also, I go through things that I have in my head. What is important is that I compose music, too, so the moment that I start researching for my personal work, new ideas come in my mind. That’s why I don’t have one genre of music I draw from; I look into everything. It can come from jazz, punk, super-avant-garde things. I love strange, old folk music . . . it can be anything.
Is there anything particularly interesting to you happening in music in France?
The most interesting thing to me are people who mix influences, you know? I see that with a lot of young people. It’s interesting also the way people mix the digital processes of making music with analog, synthesizers and computers, but also old instruments. In my music sometimes I use old instruments, old synthesizers, but also music plug-ins.
What are you working on currently?
At the moment I’m working on the shows, and I have a few projects for after. But I can’t really talk about them; they are very much music-oriented. My head right now is very much into fashion.
Was going toward fashion a conscious decision?
It really happened by coincidence, but also, as I was saying before, when I was younger, I became interested in fashion because of music and the graphics of an artist like Saville. I remember in the mid-’80s there were dance companies, for example, in England there was Michael Clark who was working with a group of fashion designers called BodyMap. There are a few interesting videos on the Internet, where they were using a punk band called The Fall; I put them in my playlist. Then I used this piece in a Marc Jacobs show, maybe three or four years ago, because of this influence by Michael Clark. That’s what I was saying, in every track on this playlist I created, there’s a story. There’s a beautiful piece in there by Chet Baker that I really like; we used it in a Miu Miu show about a year ago.

You spoke earlier about the radio being important; is that how you normally listen to music?
No, it’s just that my grandfather couldn’t go back to Spain, so he would listen to Spanish radio in Paris. It was this ability that with sounds you can be in two places at the same time.
What is your main source of music now? Do you own a lot of records or use digital streaming services?
I have and use everything, not only music, but film, sounds, voices. I do recordings, I look on YouTube—anything that is sound, I’m open to it.
Do you compose more music than you mix?
My work has this evolution through the years: First cutting music very roughly, then composing it, then working with real instruments. I don’t see a border between the composing and mixing. One fits the other and it’s very important. For example, for Miu Miu, I did one soundtrack with people talking in films, with almost no music. There was another one for Margiela that had a piece from Sonic Youth’s “Providence,” which I was obsessed with at the time because it had the sounds of people screaming at concerts, so I did a collage of moments in which you hear the public screaming and clapping. The Margiela soundtrack was just this, with almost no music.

Do you have clients you always work with, or does it change every season?
They are the same: I’ve been working with Prada for years, Dior, Marni, Lanvin with Bouchra [Jarrar], because I have a long relationship with her. I just did Craig Green, in London, and I’m going to work with Erdem. So there are new designers, older houses, all different. Self-Portrait, Narciso Rodriguez, I think it’s very important to build a story with someone. I’m very happy because it’s what I’ve achieved these years. I have a long history with people and I like the idea of when you go to a show and people say it sounds like something. It’s like creating a perfume and the memories that it brings. I want the work to be timeless. It’s very important for me not to be considered a DJ, but more like a creator of stories where the narrative is very important. If you look at the video of a show from 10 years ago, it’s still very relevant. I’ve been thinking recently of how important the work of Margiela and Jil Sander is. The few shows I’ve done with Helmut Lang were interesting, too. It’s interesting when it’s super creative, like what I do with Comme des Garçons. It’s fashion but there might be an anti-fashion sort of element. Incredible people, they last a long time, like the work of John Galliano or McQueen or Miuccia Prada. I love the work of Anna Sui, how she manipulates images, and how she creates her own world. You should see her studio.
Today, I can consider myself a musician, but in the beginning, I didn’t. That’s why I adopted this label “sound illustrator.” For me, it was very poetic. It reminds me of the ’50s when Orson Welles did this radio program, La Guerre des Mondes—I don’t remember in English—and he was telling this story over sounds on the radio. There was still this idea of narrative. My work has evolved over the years, and I started doing more musical compositions, but still . . . maybe we have to create a new term. Because I don’t see a difference between sound and images.

mars 022017

Business Of Fashion – 26 février 2017

The Missoni March
BY TIM BLANKS

MILAN, Italy — The first track on the soundtrack of Missoni’s show on Saturday afternoon was Gil Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Frederic Sanchez had clearly taken on board that Angela Missoni wanted her new presentation to be infused with an activist sensibility.

She was disappointed that the spirit of the women’s marches which had galvanized the globe in January had bypassed Milan, and her reaction was to turn her show into a celebration of women’s rights. Pink pussy power! #pinkisthenewblack.

There was a pussy-eared beanie on every seat, and the audience was invited to join Angela, her family and the models on the pussywalk at show’s end for a moment of raucous jubilation, while Patti Smith’s People Got the Power blasted out.

We’re going to need such reminders in the years to come. Angela Missoni is uniquely placed in the fashion industry to offer them: not just the trans-generational aspect of her business (her mother and her daughters at her side) but also the nature of what it makes. If a product could embody the humanist impulse, it is surely an artisanal Missoni knit.

2017 is Angela’s 20th year at the helm, and she claimed that, in all that time, she’d never looked at the massive archives, 65 years worth. This season, she finally did. Wise move: the opening passage of the show — Gigi Hadid in a gorgeous rich plaid coat (the first of many), followed by a fractured chevron and Technicolor deco patterns — felt energised.

Missoni was always going to be one of those propositions whose time would come again. You could feel that shift kicking off with the men’s show in January. Maybe it was the idea of sweater dressing that has become so appealing. Consoling, perhaps — clothes you could cocoon in. A lot of the knits here were chunkier than usual for Missoni, more of the hand about them. But there were also form-fitting knits shot with lurex, clothes for going out, celebrating. Casual, easy clothes that could also say something definitive about who you are.

It’s something Missoni has always done. That consistency constitutes authenticity. And Angela’s passionate proclamation at the end of the show — inciting the fashion industry to stand unified and strong — was also a natural extension of her own commitment to encouraging and promoting women in her company. Where we’re going no one knows, but there will be lights along the way.

Business Of Fashion – 02 mars 2017

Perfectly Pretty at Lanvin
BY DAN THAWLEY

PARIS, France — The sonic accompaniment to Bouchra Jarrar’s first Lanvin show was the poetry of Marguerite Duras, her stirring words spoken by Rachida Brakni and Christina Bergstrom with an imposing allure. They accompanied a collection which needed that authority: her clothes were widely criticised for their departure from a Lanvin tied so intrinsically to Alber Elbaz’ decade long tenure. His legacy hung heavy over her debut.

Conversely, Jarrar’s Autumn Winter 2017 show took place in the same gilded rooms of the Hôtel de Ville, yet the mood was different. For starters, a spoken word soundtrack returned with a new lightness. This time, explained sound designer Frédéric Sanchez, the narrators were young actresses — and the sound of their screen tests warbling over the airwaves segued nicely into Jarrar’s preoccupation with birds for her sophomore show.

Birds and dancers, to be precise, were the starting point for Autumn — the latter grounding the former as appropriate muses for the ballerina dresses in iridescent black, white, and blush-coloured silks that returned throughout the show in various pleated, ruffled, and lace-encrusted variations.

Jarrar repaired last season’s issues with overt transparency, and a flat python boot was a smart styling tack — they skewed urban and worked to counter the frothiness of her high collars decorated with tulle and feathers. Panelled bouclé coats flecked with sequins added a more tactile, wintery softness to the lineup, recalling Berber carpets in a subtle nod to Jarrar’s own Moroccan heritage.

Due in no small part to her time at Balenciaga, tailoring was a key strength at Jarrar’s own label, and here it shone in stricter iterations: both a peak-shouldered trouser suit and coat draped with a single peplum held an after-hours allure that other looks lost via complications of texture and styling.

Case in point was Jarrar’s first foray into print with a delicate oriental landscape that, though perfectly pretty, lost its impact layered with patent leather jackets and ‘birds of paradise’ feathered jewellery. As pieces apart those are future heirlooms but, as a total look, there’s still work to be done in getting this remix right.

AnOther – 15 fevrier 2017


A Collection to Covet at Narciso Rodriguez
Almost every look had a defined core, a body-conscious column. Emphasising the body in this manner was a smart means to convey a woman’s strength and control.
By Tim Blanks
NEW YORK, United States — For years, Narciso Rodriguez has shown in an anonymous studio way over on the West Side, but something about the way it was reconfigured on Tuesday night made it suddenly less anonymous. He said it was the seating, arranged so the audience’s relationship with the clothes was more intimate. But I noticed that the room was enclosed ceiling to floor in sweeping curtains which loaned a theatrical grandeur to the venue, quite the opposite of intimacy.

Apparently, that was testament to my ignorance of my surroundings. Rodriguez insisted the curtains had always been there. Maybe they were just lit differently. In any case, the very notion of theatricality is anathema to him. And yet, there was a different tone to his new collection, a bigness that suited the scale of the room (at least as my eyes perceived it!). Frederic Sanchez’s aural complement was massive percussive beats that boomed through the space. So he got the bigness too.

Rodriguez said he’d found it hard to focus on designing, as the news took a tortuous turn for the traumatic leading up and subsequent to the presidential election. But focus he had to, and that’s what the collection embodied. Almost every look had a defined core, a body-conscious column, like the jumpsuit that matched a perforated leather top to wool gauze leggings. And often this column would be wrapped or overlaid in some way. Emphasising the body in this manner was a smart means to convey a woman’s strength and control, especially when the overlay was an upscaled coat or jacket in a menswear fabric. The volume was something new for Rodriguez, a move on from the elongated sinuous silhouette that is one of his signatures.

But those signatures were still gratifyingly present. The liquid mercury silks Rodriguez loves slithered around the body here in a seductive silvery shade he called “iris”. The hammered paillettes of last season returned in shimmering shifts. It was such items which validated the designer’s desire to create “a collection for women to covet.”

Dior Homme fall winter 2017 2018 casting video – Composition originale

Dior Homme fall winter 2017 2018 show video – Composition originale

Prada men’s and women’s fall winter 2017 2018 show video – Composition originale

Antidote Magazine – 24 janvier 2017



QUE FAUT-IL RETENIR DE LA FASHION WEEK DE MILAN ?
Miuccia Prada reste fidèle à Frédéric Sanchez pour la réalisation de ses bandes-son. Ce studio parisien, qui signait plus tôt ce mois-ci le soundtrack du défilé londonien de Craig Green, imagine un mix inattendu et anachronique pour le 70’s show automne-hiver 2017 de la maison milanaise. S’y bousculent sans dissonance Gesaffelstein et Beethoven ou bien Jean-Sébastien Bach et Lady Gaga.

janv. 242017

Business Of Fashion – 24 janvier 2017



Hardcore Dior Homme

Kris Van Assche has vision. The set and soundtrack proved that. But he needs to surrender fully to it — step out of the corner and onto the dance floor.

BY TIM BLANKS
It was Christian Dior’s 112th birthday on Saturday, so Kris Van Assche threw him a party. HARDIOR – hardcore Dior was the theme. “They should just let us rave,” a sweater pleaded, next to a picture of Dior. How he would have responded to the thunderous, all-enveloping blast of Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack is moot. But Van Assche did his usual respectful best to honour Dior’s memory with the tailoring that has become his own signature. In an homage to the atelier, he even turned jackets inside out so the details of their construction became a pattern.

Van Assche was never a raver. He claims he was the quiet Goth in the corner, in his army boots and stretch jeans. So maybe fashion is a way for him to work out youthful issues, a need to make good with everything he missed, for example. The collection went three ways: New Wave, Rave, MoshPit. The first was the tailoring, black, white and red. Sharp, precise, Numanoid. The second took a leaf out of the Candy Kids’ book. Acid colours were sponged onto big shearlings. A ponyskin trench was offered in a dazzling orange, a suit was crusted with tiny coloured confetti. The last section used Dan Witz’s mosh pit paintings, printed on a sequined jacket or a huge cape.

“I look for contrast,” Van Assche acknowledged. He definitely got that in his marriage of hardcore outlaw and suited gent. But the precision of the latter diffused the furiousness of the former. Lord have mercy, can we say it again? It’s always the way. Uptightness wins, which is infuriating because Van Assche has vision. Saturday’s set and soundtrack proved that. But he needs to surrender fully to it, step out of the corner and onto the dance floor, honour the wanton spirit of the mosh pit.

AnOther – 18 janvier 2017


Hypernormalisation and the Cult of Prada

“Now, protest is very necessary,” Mrs Prada explained backstage after the A/W17 show, which advocated for politicisation and normalcy through powerful 70s motifs

One of the stories often told about Mrs Prada is that, while a student in the 1970s, she was a card-carrying member of the Italian Communist party; rumour has it she would wear Yves Saint Laurent to distribute flyers on marches (she has, on occasion, explained that she found the dress codes prescribed for such proclivities to be tiresome). It is certainly true that Prada earned her degree in political science from the University of Milan during a time in which Italy was defined by student protest and political upheaval, but she is generally reluctant to discuss that period – after all, as she once told Alexander Fury in Document Journal, “Every young kid who was vaguely clever was leftist, so it’s not that I was so special”. Nonetheless, for her A/W17 menswear and womenswear pre-collection, that era’s aesthetic played a clear role in the designs she sent onto the runway: a combination of bookish 70s beatniks and the Red Brigades presented with somewhat sinister undertones. “I didn’t want to do the 70s… but it came out naturally,” she said backstage. “It was an important moment for protest, for humanity. Now, protest is very necessary.”

She’s right, of course – the week following her collection’s debut will see the inauguration of Donald Trump, and then the Women’s March on Washington, an event predicted to be one of America’s largest ever demonstrations. But here, size was not the solution to our current turmoil; instead she explained that “the main sentiment that I have is going from bigness to small” – it was a collection rooted in the unsettled normalcy that Prada revels in. Plus, it would be naïve to assume that Mrs Prada would design a collection simply to politicise her audience – “To be an opinionist as a rich fashion designer, I think is the worst possible thing to be,” she told Hans Ulrich Obrist in AnOther Magazine back in A/W08 – and she has never been prone to channelling monolithic inspiration. In fact, as she herself said about the collection, “my inspirations are so many and so complex that to summarise them is impossible.” So here, while there were the corduroy suits and berets typical of 70s students and Katie Morosky, there were also sinister leather trenches and scarves tied like nooses, a showspace comprised of pristine formica panelling and institutional leather-clad beds for the audience to sit upon; it made for a disconcerting scene, rather than a socialist utopia. “The badness was very strong,” she said. “Nasty.” And it was – but, of course, in the best possible way.

The Cult of Prada

There are few fashion designers who command the same level of cultish fandom that Mrs Prada achieves; so pronounced is her influence that whatever she sends down her runway visibly ripples throughout the industry. Case in point: last season, we saw her models strapped with plastic buckles and backpacks; this season, hiking ephemera has been visible in abundance on everybody else’s runways. For A/W17, in lieu of such overt utilitarianism, there was a return to nature: Mrs Prada proclaimed “a desire for reality, humanity and simplicity”. So, there were fur coats and fluffy moccasins, talismanic pendants and cosy jumpers, which, when positioned against the tense clinking overlaid upon classical music, all felt a little bit Manson Family or Father Yod – strange little sects of supposedly spiritual, liberal ideals that translated into terror. “We were talking about the stories of the 70s… and then came the idea of Wendy Carlos and A Clockwork Orange,” explained Frédéric Sanchez, the composer behind the soundtracks for Prada’s shows. “In the world we live today there is something quite frightening… beautiful, but terrifying.”

Hypernormalisation

It would be too easy for Prada’s current sentiment to refer simply to the right-wing bent of contemporary politics. In fact, the liberal left finds itself, presently, in a particularly strange situation, fractured by competing discourses and isolated within digital echo chambers. Six months ago, Prada asked (via Premonitions, the teasing series of short films which the brand debuts via social media ahead of the show itself): “Exploring a landscape of extremities, where do we situate the poles?” “Where to from here, when all of the horizon is in the cloud?” This time, the new series explained that, “The revolution starts at home,” and “Truth is subjective and necessary”. It seemed more of an existential nod towards the abstract and apparently impotent nature of digital-age revolution than a celebration of its virtues; a shoppable interpretation of Adam Curtis-style philosophising. As that director recently explained in documentary Hypernormalisation, “we have become lost in a fake world and cannot see the reality outside,” continuing to explain to DazedDigital that “There’s a whole generation that has retreated from an active engagement with power, who want to change the world”. Here, Mrs Prada seemed to be reminding us of those activists who once determined the personal to be political and sought revolution through action rather than Facebook status; of the importance of authentic, human reality during a time when detachment is bearing particularly frightening consequences.

Mrs Prada played a particular role in pioneering the wave of normcore that swept through fashion a few years ago; an intensely stylised version of blandness that was provocative in its banality and manifested in Miu Miu anoraks and Prada blazers “too perverse to be innocent”. Now, she explained: “I love the idea of corduroy and leather; basically the whole show is done of those two materials. They give a sense of normality.” It was an extension on a theme she has explored before, but where normcore felt unnerving in its sterility, this felt warmly weird.

There were those cozy knitted jumpers printed with fictionalised artwork that looked like the sort you might find in a hotel lobby – “we wanted the perfect idea of no art,” she grinned, “Sunday painters” – and faux-Cubist handbags that were as covetable as they were supposedly meaningless; naïve necklaces made from shells (that again harked back to that cultish 70s aesthetic) and fluffy socks and mohair cardigans (very hygge). Shearling-lined peacoats and cashmere V-necks were the epitome of the luxury workwear that she does better than anyone else, but skirts came with slits that were cut a little too high; suit trousers accessorised with weird ponyskin belts. “The whole point about the ‘normcore’ trend is that you’re pretending to be normal,” said Curtis. “Cool irony originally had a political analysis that said, ‘We’re detaching from this and looking at it’. Then it just became ‘We’re detached’.” Here, Mrs Prada seemed to be deliberately avoiding such a spirit, instead preaching intimacy as the antidote to the alienation and apathy. “Everybody in this world, we’ve all gone too far,” she explained backstage. “We’re at the point where there’s too much to follow, too much to do. You lose somehow your normal nature.” But, this season, such nature was celebrated in abundance, without detachment or provocative irony. It was a modern-day Love Story – and, perhaps most importantly, it left its audience desperate for autumn.

Dazed – 7 janvier 2017


Craig Green reveals the meaning of his anonymous travellers
The designer opens up about his AW17 collection, presented yesterday at London Fashion Week Men’s

Craig Green doesn’t really like talking about what his work means and much prefers people to come up with their own interpretations. His workwear-informed clothes are honest and sincere, and every time his words about them approach something more analytical, he checks himself in a self-effacingly jolly way, worrying he’ll sound too “fruity and conceptual”.

It’s hard not to go into analytical mode when you watch his collections unfold, though, because they’re always loaded with meaning. Last night we were lost at sea with fishermen in sou’wester hats and quilting with life vest-like attachments on their backs, styled by Dazed’s creative director Robbie Spencer. It was a beautifully haunting show where Aleister Crowley’s ominous voice and folksy Martyn Bates reverberated on the soundtrack, overlaid with faint radar sounds searching the waters ahead. The vibe: Is there anybody out there?

“I was watching this programme about old fishermen that used to leave their family and loved ones and not come back for thirty years, and there was no way to communicate with them for that entire period of time,” Green said when we spoke a couple of days before his show. That sense of isolation was felt throughout: a dark and foreboding kind of poetry, with waves crashing all around and bottomless black waters below. It felt like a commentary on the modern condition. We have all these ways of communicating (and presenting an idealised version of our lives) but at the same time it’s breeding feelings of loneliness for many, of being lost and aimlessly drifting around while everyone else is seemingly barging ahead full steam.

We’re under pressure all the time and Green’s recurring themes around protection had taken him to old cast iron pressure-resistant diving suits, which were translated into soft, padded garments wrapped in oxygen tubes – comforting but eerie. The team had also been looking at uniforms. “We found this book of all these military and police uniforms and we showed it to someone and they said ‘oh, it’s like real men’. And we were like, what’s real men?!” he says, chuckling at that archaic notion of what ‘masculinity’ entails. “It’s that weird idea of the man as the hero.”

Green’s boys wear their insecurities or anxieties on their sleeve, quite literally wrapped in padding. Or bits of embroidered carpet picked up on their travels that were stitched together into oversize pieces. “Carpet people”, Green called them. “Basically a man as a walking carpet idea.” Not to walk all over, but definitely the antithesis to masculinity as the hard, assertive man.

“We found this book of all these military and police uniforms and we showed it to someone and they said ‘oh, it’s like real men’. And we were like, what’s real men?!” – Craig Green
Sci-fi – which might not be the first thing you think about in terms of Craig Green’s work – had been on his mind as well. “There’s something very sci-fi about (sea explorations) and I feel like everything sci-fi is based around something to do with the sea,” Green noted. Here it was the abstract and philosophical aspects of the genre that came through: ideas of the unknown, a voyage into unchartered territory – the kind of existential or semi-religious themes you find in Battlestar Galactica, The OA or Prometheus (coincidentally, Green has made costumes for the imminent Alien: Covenant).

“I was reading about people that have phobias of the sea and how they’re directly linked to people that have anxiety about not knowing things and fear of the unknown,” he said. As far as the great unknown goes, the future is probably one of the scariest things out there, science fiction or not. But there was a flicker of a lighthouse here in all the sea metaphors, at least in Green’s mind. “It’s the romantic idea of all of that rather than the pessimistic view of it.” Romance triumphing over pessimism and dread – it was a beautiful thought to start the menswear season on.

Business of Fashion – 7 janvier 2017

By Tim Blanks

LONDON, United Kingdom — The sea is one of humankind’s most ancient terrors, home to monsters, symbol of the unknown, the unpredictable, separation from loved ones. Its vast reaches inspire enduring images of utter isolation. Craig Green somehow managed to convey all of that magnificent morbidity in the collection he showed.

He said his starting point was the sea, and you could imagine his clothes dressing a community on a stretch of desolate coastline where men worked on and under the waves, battling the elements, losing, looking to other men to restore their faith. They were all there on Green’s catwalk: lifeboatmen, deep sea divers, the monastic types who are one of the designer’s staples, wearing a collage of richly patterned but worn pieces that suggested religion turned make-do cult. I pictured cramped stone cottages, a ruined abbey, the maddening monotone of waves breaking on a barren shoreline. Played out against a Frederic Sanchez soundtrack that intertwined the folkish melancholia of Martyn Bates with the confused burble of occultist Aleister Crowley reading his poem At Sea over a voodoo throb. The presentation left an overpowering sense of a hermetic world turned in on itself. Masculinity in peril, maybe. Which, of course, it is.

That’s why the protectionist streak in Green’s menswear has always been its poignant calling card. He’s looking out for his boys. Here, they were encased in Michelin Man padding and quilting, their faces tiny inside padded hoods (like a diver’s helmet in fabric). A diver’s feeding tube was translated into ruched bandoliers in odd cartoon colours that Green said he’d lifted from school uniforms (So not weird!).

The huge, rounded silhouettes (were the models also carrying sleeping bags?) were half of the collection. The other half was narrow, tightly draw-strung. But the idea was the same: bodies swathed, entrance denied.

These were clothes to strike a chord. They were fearless in their conception, but paradoxically, they were driven by fear. The boundless ocean, remember? We hardly need Craig Green to illuminate us about the uncertainty of the future, but his marriage of beauty and terror will surely linger long after other Cassandras have folded their tents and stolen away into the night.

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Vanity Fair – Octobre 2016

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Vanity Fair – Novembre 2016

AnOther – 21 Octobre 2016


Five of Marc Jacobs’ Most Memorable Musical Inspirations

The score which accompanies creative omnivore Marc Jacobs’ shows each season is part and parcel of his collection. We consider the meanings hidden in five of his most memorable soundtracks yet

Text Ana Kinsella

A Marc Jacobs show is always a fashion week highlight, a stalwart on each season’s schedule. There are a few things you can rely on: unpredictable clothes that speak to how we want to dress now, a kind of sensitive perception of the cultural mood, and of course, a pumping soundtrack. For Jacobs it’s simple: his interests don’t start and end with dresses and hemlines. Think of him instead as a kind of creative omnivore, in tune with the sound of a downtown Manhattan club as much as in the women who frequent it. What emerges each season is the clearest distillation of a specific mood.
Inevitably, the music is more than just background dressing; it’s essential to Jacobs’ conception of his woman within each collection – a fact which makes his new collaboration with Apple Music, for which he has curated a personal playlist and featured additional playlists from the stars of his Autumn/Winter 2016 campaign, including Kendall Jenner, Missy Elliot and Susan Sarandon, under his curator profile – all the more exciting. Here, we examine the musical inspiration behind five of his most memorable shows.
Spring/Summer 2017
How do you express devil-may-care hedonism most accurately? To answer this question with his most recent collection, for Spring 2017, Jacobs landed on rave culture. With Underworld’s club anthem Born Slippy, itself a byword for nights of endless pleasure-seeking, playing in the background, the models walked out in metallic pastels, miniskirts and chunky heels, ready for their own rave moment in the spotlight. This collection was the pursuit of pleasure writ large, in snakeskin and pearlescent embellishment. Amid a sea of twinkling lightbulbs, the cumulative effect of the show was glittering and hazy, like the morning-after memory of a night spent on the dancefloor. 


Marc Jacobs S/S13

Spring/Summer 2013
A cursory stroll through downtown Manhattan will assure you of Marc Jacobs’ indelible link to New York cool – swinging shopping bags on the arms of SoHo shoppers, billboards on Bleecker St. A crucial part of how he maintains that year after year is by looking back at previous incarnations of what it means to be It in the city. For Spring 2013, that meant looking to Andy Warhol’s Factory to channel the laissez-faire cool of the Velvet Underground, Edie Sedgwick and their milieu. The modern update of this consisted of stripped-back monochrome stripes, long pleated skirts and silhouette-skimming separates, all soundtracked by the jangling post-punk of The Fall’s 1980s hit Copped It.


Marc Jacobs A/W11

Autumn/Winter 2011
Part of what always appeals about a Marc Jacobs show for editors and buyers is the temptation of the unpredictable. In 2011, he bucked expectations by embracing rigour, with a collection centred on latex, bindings and wiggle skirts. He furthered the almost cartoonish emphasis on feminine sexuality with a healthy dose of polka dots and embossed fabrics throughout. The soundtrack? Marilyn Manson’s 1996 single The Beautiful People, an anthem for the disaffected and for those disillusioned with what Manson calls “the fascism of beauty.” The overall result was startling, provocative and more complex than the straightforward fun often seen on a Marc Jacobs runway. 


Marc Jacobs A/W09

Autumn/Winter 2009
At a time when New York was still flattened by financial crisis and a general sense of ennui, Marc Jacobs brought us back to our senses. Fall 2009 offered a greatest hits of downtown party looks inspired by what he called “the good old days… when getting dressed up was a joy.” This was an exuberant romp through the wardrobe of a 1980s party girl as she gets ready for a night out. Dressed in velvet and metallic leather, with big, backcombed hair, her soundtrack came from Spinnerette, the punk band headed up by Brody Dalle of the Distillers, another favourite of the designer. Songs like Valium Knights and Ghetto Love injected a certain hedonism and merriment to the proceedings, at a time when the fate – and the purpose – of luxury fashion seemed precarious.


Marc Jacobs S/S06

Spring/Summer 2006
Consider Spring 2006 a harking back to Jacobs’ roots and to the Spring 1993 collection for Perry Ellis, the grunge-inspired collection that cost him his job at the American fashion house. The collection of luxury flannel-like silk shirts and chiffon check dresses had its share of detractors at the time but has since been somewhat venerated as a pivotal point in style history. In 2006, Marc called upon the Penn State University marching band to perform a raucous rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit as proceedings got underway. The collection that followed – of shimmering cocktail dresses and oversized outerwear – showed how far Marc had come since those Perry Ellis days, but also that he is still the same innovative designer beneath it all. This was not the first time the song had cropped up in a Marc Jacobs show soundtrack, but never before had it sounded so joyous and celebratory.

Business of Fashion – 11 Octobre 2016

Miu Miu’s Scary Summer
If the collection wasn’t quite as extreme as it’s wont to be, it still preserved the edge of alluring oddness that always makes it Miu Miu.

BY TIM BLANKS

PARIS, France — “Summer is summer, the beach is the beach,” said Miuccia Prada cheerfully, explaining away the surreally seaside-y ambience of the new Miu Miu collection and show.
But if she was trying to suggest that there was no more to them than that, she failed miserably when she added the following: “They’re sunny but they’re scary. Because how much longer will we have them?” The sentiment sounded a touch environmental, but, years ago, there was a Prada collection which offered a post-nuclear beachscape as its primary graphic. The ability to isolate the strain of darkness in the midst of light is a long time Miuccia knack.
So if this collection had the superficial look of a 1960’s party in Forte dei Marmi, it was also a typically contrary Prada combination of kitsch, prim and racy, with princess coats and shirtdresses (tied in the back with a big bow) sharing catwalk space with ruched short shorts, shirred romper suits and printed latex coats.
The shoes, always a Miumiu fundamental, ran the same gamut: slides to platform sandals, flip-flops to wedges carved with seashells. There was typical perversity in flourishes like the anthurium bathing caps, the towelling stoles, or the terrycloth robes made from mink.
But that’s another Miuccia knack, to infuse the banal with a peculiar new insight. Frederic Sanchez played Siouxsie Sioux songs, enough to cast a chill over any sunny gathering. The Miumiu colour palette was also a tiny bit cold.  So it wasa scary beach. Which guaranteed that, if the collection wasn’t quite as extreme as it’s wont to be, it still preserved the edge of alluring oddness that always makes it Miu Miu.

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Space Magazine – Octobre 2016




Teasers pour Prada Premonition Film – Compositions originales – Septembre 2016







AnOther – 11 Octobre 2016

A Daytrip to the S/S17 Miu Miu Beach
Susanna Lau examines the brand’s latest collection – a summertime medley with bittersweet undertones

Text Susanna Lau
Photography Federico Ferrari
Photographic Editor Holly Hay

Miuccia Prada likes to have the last word at Paris Fashion Week with Miu Miu – the last word that the fashion industry collectively revels in. Before you’ve even seen a single outfit, a Miu Miu show already puts you in a giddy mood: after all, the season is done. Entering the Palais d’Iena is a signifier that you’ve made it through the four consecutive fashion weeks relatively unscathed – and you’ve still got a Miu Miu collection to take in and enjoy before you leave Paris on a high. S/S17 was seemingly joyful with its message: “It’s a celebration of summer with all its pleasures and the scary idea of if we can have it again,” said Miuccia Prada after the show as she greeted guests, inviting them to stay for an end-of-season celebratory prosecco. The latter half of her short statement left you with some food for thought. Sure, the collection was an idealistic recreation of being sur la plage with its mix of retro prints, plastic fantastic accessories and saccharine smocking, but the joy of it felt ephemeral. This was Miuccia’s promise of a strange summer that lures us in with a wardrobe fit for sun, pool, sand and sea anywhere in the world. Where were we? And in what time era? Would these upbeat colours and textures last? That sense of sunbathing with anxiety on this fantasy beach left a lingering question mark at the end of the season.

Spiaggia Surreale
The sale hypostyle of the Palais D’Iena was transformed by AMO with a mix of vibrant matte and shiny PVC in virulent shades of teal, yellow and aubergine with graphic panels on the wall creating an artificial summer landscape of Memphis-esque parasols, loungers, sun and sky. To soundtrack this surreal summer, Frederic Sanchez went with The Creatures, Siouxsie Sioux’s project with bandmate Budgie, after the dissolution of Siouxsie and the Banshees. “We wanted something that was beautiful and grand without having to use classical music or something that is too summery,” said Sanchez. “Siouxsie Sioux’s voice came up in conversation and The Creatures was perfect because it had all these different elements to it.” The tracks summed up the surreal beach scenario painted by Miuccia. “It’s this strange beautiful beach, where you feel like you discover you’ve arrived on another planet, but at the same time it’s not psychedelic,” added Sanchez. That was an appropriate way of summing up Miuccia’s beach mix that spanned everything from 1940s open-backed smocked knickers and apron skirts to 1970s geometric prints. For all its retroisms, though, there was also something dystopian about these jolly colours and feel-good textures. Sioux’s haunting voice hung in the air like the siren call of an unpredictable future ahead, calling out long after the sun has set.

Summer Is Here to Stay
The see-now-buy-now mantra for this season has meant that some of the supposed S/S17 collections we saw, won’t in fact be intended for spring or summer: they’re in-stores as you read this. It seems that now, anything goes, and seasons are fast becoming an archaic way of categorising clothes. But this Miu Miu collection was as directly summer-focused as it could be, with all the obvious nods to the high season getaways that we’ll be busy planning for during the months of July and August. You could be forgiven for thinking that much of this was a high summer swim collection: acrylic wedges featuring seashells and starfish and plastic pool slides are ready made for summer suitcases, and Miuccia even provided a beach towel option that doubles up as a stylised shawl. Was this perhaps a comment that collections are still worth waiting months for? When all of this filters into stores in February, we’ll be storing them up for the summer months ahead (unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case you can buy-now-wear-now). Still, nestled in amongst the crop tops, swim caps and short-shorts were fluffy coats styled like bathrobes, 1960s Courreges-esque suiting and fur-collared towel-stripe jackets. They will be the perfect pick-me-up when they arrive in stores in February.

Miuccia Past, Present and Future
The historical time periods of summer attire were jumbled up, but so were Mrs Prada’s snippets of self-referencing. Watching the show, you remembered Miu Miu’s early noughties geometric prints, seen here on sheer organza beach cover-ups, towel shawls and suiting. You might also have sensed the same vibes as the John Akehurst-lensed 1998 campaign, featuring a sombrely dressed Sarah Daykin on a deserted beach. The plastic flower-adorned swimcaps that featured heavily are definite successors to the ones seen in the Prada A/W11 collection of retrofuturistic mermaids. As for the 1950s housewife coats in a Doris Day pastel palette? That’s solid Mrs Prada territory. The sum of everything though couldn’t be pin-pointed exactly to one particular oeuvre. As Sanchez summed it up – and in distinct parallel to the most recent Prada collection – “It’s a sort of past-present-future.”

A Summer Soon to Be Lost
“Can we have this beautiful beach and sea again?” That was the mysterious rhetorical question Miuccia posed. Was there an environmental message behind the collection perhaps? “Maybe!” she said with a coy smile. If humanity’s impact on our natural surroundings was something that Miuccia was thinking of, it certainly wasn’t doled out to us in a heavy-handed message. Perhaps she was referring to the more general uncertainty that’s rife in our world today, and this Miu Miu fantastical beachscape is a mode of escape. Sanchez concurs with this idea that Miuccia’s summer getaway isn’t necessarily one that will exist on this planet for much longer. “It tells us a lot about the world today. Maybe you want to go on holiday on another planet.”

Hommage à Sonia Rykiel – Installation Video – 10 écrans + Bande Sonore

Miu Miu women’s spring summer 2017 show video – Composition originale

Moncler women’s spring summer 2017 show video – Composition originale

Lanvin women’s spring summer 2017 show video – Composition originale

Prada women’s spring summer 2017 show video – Composition originale

AnOther – 4 Octobre 2016

Frédéric Sanchez on his Immersive Tribute to Sonia Rykiel

The inimitable sound artist discusses the emotive installation he crafted in homage to the late designer, which preceded the house’s S/S17 show

Text Natalie Rigg

“I had worked with Julie [de Libran] previously on the score for her [Autumn/Winter 2016] show for Sonia Rykiel, which was great. She liked the outcome and asked me to work on a new project – an homage to Madame Sonia Rykiel after her passing, which was obviously very important. She asked me to do something with the sound of Sonia’s voice, but also with archive footage and imagery. I’ve done similar things before with imagery in the past, such as a show I curated about Serge Gainsbourg at Cité de la Musique in Paris.

I’ve always considered sound as images anyway, so the idea to radiate the sound of Sonia Rykiel in a more abstract way was very interesting to me. I have always thought of Sonia as a writer of fashion, creating her own story and language. I was able to go into the house’s archive and build a video of images (both still and moving) and sound. It was very emotional; I felt that I entered her headspace, in a way. I wanted to evoke a mood that was beautiful, simple and celebratory – but also in a way that each and every person could identify with. I also wanted to make the most beautiful tribute I could possibly make out of respect for the many people that worked for her for many years.

Sonia Rykiel – much like Rei Kawakubo, Miuccia Prada and Martine Sitbon – was a very strong and generous woman, and I’ve always been drawn to strong women. Julie [de Libran], too, has an incredible respect for the DNA of the brand and everything that Sonia Rykiel stood for. I met with her at the space before the show, and she was very moved. This was an important moment for everyone.” – Frédéric Sanchez

Though Sonia Rykiel departed this world last August, at the age of 86, her extraordinary influence and outlook will continue to permeate modern culture. The house, now under the highly capable steer of Julie de Libran, feted its founder’s remarkable life and output with a resplendent Spring/Summer 2017 show – which proudly showcased Rykiel’s iconic design signatures: finely woven striped knits in a kaleidoscope of colours; louche 1970s-inspired cuts that swing zealously with every moment; and sleek, contemporary iterations of her classic ‘Poor Boy’ sweater. The collection was accompanied by a custom-created score by Frédéric Sanchez, who additionally crafted an evocative video montage – or in his words: « a visual homage, » – of archive photography, sound clips and candid footage of the late designer, to precede the show.

Vulture – 4 Octobre 2016






The Business Of Fashion – 2 Octobre 2016

Invisible Clothes at Comme des Garçons
Rei Kawakubo’s latest presentation was majestic and mournful, a paean to hopes unmet, dreams unrealised. The collection had a medieval, ritualistic, emotional power that overwhelmed reason.

BY TIM BLANKS

PARIS, France — Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3 is also known as the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, so it made the perfect soundtrack for the Comme des Garçons show on Saturday afternoon. Rei Kawakubo’s latest presentation was majestic and mournful, a paean to hopes unmet, dreams unrealised. The collection had a medieval, ritualistic, emotional power that overwhelmed reason.

She is always exalted as an icon of modernity. Her take on a peculiar, idiosyncratic historicism is much more fascinating. Assume a child unborn: the first outfit in the show, jet black, swollen-bellied; the eighth outfit, a funereal crib; the sixteenth outfit, an all-red fantasy, like the lost child in Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now; the last outfit, back to the egg, a black prison, Anna Cleveland’s fingers fluttering futilely for purchase on a tight, white neckline. (Did anyone else see Alien here?) All in all, a fabulously macabre cycle. And instructive to have Simone Rocha in attendance. Long considered a Kawakubo acolyte, her last collections have dealt with the trials and triumphs of childbirth in remarkably primal ways, even more striking considering that it is the design of clothes where she has chosen to express herself.

But exactly the same thing could apply to Rei Kawakubo. Huge statements, couched in cloth. “Invisible Clothes” was her own cryptic description for her latest collection. “The purest and most extreme version of Comme des Garcons” was the addendum. Extreme, certainly, in the huge, square shapes, though Kawakubo’s silhouettes scarcely ever cleave to convention, and these were actually relatively rational in their geometry (at least in a world where Victor&Rolf once sent an upended bed down their catwalk). But in terms of invisibility, the collection exuded a palpable sense of absence, of hollows and shadows and disillusionment.

Which made the show a powerful counterpoint to the paeans to female empowerment that have attached themselves this season to the women taking over the creative director’s role in houses that were previously male-dominated. Although all of that is undoubtedly irrelevant to Kawakubo, a law unto herself for longer than she probably cares to think, her last few collections have explored notions of women on the margins. And now, childbirth, motherhood… scarcely marginal, but more difficult than ever in a world that is calcifying into rigidly held political positions, all of them shaped by men. For someone whose sensibility naturally tends towards revolution, these must be incredibly trying times for Kawakubo.

Dazed Digital – 2 Octobre 2016

Rei Kawakubo does Comme des Garçons in its most extreme form

At her SS17 show, Kawakubo reminds us what CDG is all about with 17 looks demonstrating the enduring iconoclasm of her design lexicon

Photography Evan Schreiber

“Invisible clothes.” Those two words uttered by Rei Kawakubo might seem laughable after witnessing the cavalcade of strong, bold and almost forceful Comme that came charging at us at her latest show, were it not for the fact that you were so eager to read between the lines of those cryptic clues. However, it turned out to be the perfect oxymoronic phrase to sum up those 17 ensembles, especially as further explanation revealed that the collection was “the purest and most extreme version of Comme des Garçons”.

It’s all but formally confirmed that Kawakubo will be the subject of the next exhibition of Met’s Costume Institute (if true, it will be the second time in the gallery’s history that a living designer has been feted in a exhibition), and so this feels like an especially pertinent time to be considering what the essence of Comme des Garçons really is. What we saw yesterday was the most instinctive, visceral and overtly direct expressions of what Kawakubo has been articulating with Comme des Garçons and its associated universe for the last few decades.

“What we saw yesterday was the most instinctive, visceral and overtly direct expressions of what Kawakubo has been articulating with Comme des Garçons and its associated universe for the last few decades”
This in-yer-face core for Comme was accompanied by a Colin Stetson reworking of Henryk Gorecki’s “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, which might bring your mind back to the AW15 collection and its ode to the passing of life. Here though, sorrow strangely soared into joy because the most radical of Comme iterations were there for the taking. Girly coquettish Comme? She was there in the Peter Pan collared dresses and puffed-up girlish sleeves that were tripled up. Fetishistic Comme? A coating of patent sat atop a sensual red velvet, blown up with frills. Comme cocoons for shutting off the world? Anna Cleveland demonstrated this deftly with the opening and closing of her own black bubble, revealing and hiding a pleated minidress. Comme’s respect for heritage and tradition? A giant straight edged frock in CDG uniform tartan. Comme for mourning? Physical constructions of black holes and shapes that threatened to suffocate and engulf the body were also here in abundance.

Banish the word retrospective though. The riffs of Kawakubo’s greatest hits were only faint. What was most apparent was the fundamental pillars of Comme. Adrian Joffe, who was at Kawakubo’s side backstage talked about the idea of not being able to tell where clothes ended and the body started, which perhaps has been an ongoing raison d’être for much of Kawakubo’s output – in that she consistently questions the boundaries of how fabric should be placed in context with the human body, throwing away conventions and eschewing the pragmatic.

Another way of looking at the invisibility that Kawakubo was thinking of was the intangible and often nuanced feeling that a Comme des Garçons garment imbues the wearer with. In other words, not seeing fashion merely as garments or things to wear, decorate and enhance the body. What was “invisible” here wasn’t necessarily the clothes, but the state of being that Comme clothes engender in you. And that felt as powerful as the rousing voices of Gorecki’s chorus built up and the spotlights in the Élysée Montmartre that flickered off one by one.

The Business Of Fashion – 26 septembre 2016

At Prada, Memories Are Made of This

Miuccia Prada’s new collection plumbs the past to reassure the future.

BY TIM BLANKS

MILAN, Italy — I can’t remember a time when Miuccia Prada looked so happy at the end of a show. Instead of her usual tentative nod from the wings, she walked down the catwalk to acknowledge David O. Russell, many times Oscar-nominated director and the man responsible for the film that played on multiple screens throughout the Prada presentation.

The subject of Russell’s film was the mutability of time. No surprise that Miuccia was feeling the same idea. Her new collection skated across Prada’s back pages with an ease so straightforward you could imagine that it would be charming if this was your introduction to the brand.

The same idea was at work with the men’s show in June. Memories. Reassurance. Brand icons. There, it was a revisit of the black nylon backpack on which the company’s fortunes were rebuilt in the 1980s. The collection had a rave-y, idealistic, community-of-travellers’ edge. Here, the dominant visual motif was a variant on the very particular graphic prints with which Prada flayed its mark on fashion in the mid-90s, when revenues soared as the label became the industry’s go-to for new.

But those days are gone. Prada is wrestling with reality (with the redundancy that seems to inevitably attach itself to mature businesses, unless you’re prepared to make a 180 degree flip like Gucci). Getting back to that notion of introduction, it made commercial sense to return to the heyday. But what was it that virgin eyes would actually have seen in this collection?

First thing: marabou. You could imagine a newbie wondering how and why the hell all those feathers were everywhere? A seasoned observer might conjecture that they were one of those things Miuccia had always hated, the thing she felt compelled to include to confront her loathing (suede is the most famous example). Not at all. She thought marabou was “the most silly thing”. Which sounded like the consummate back-handed compliment, by the way, because there’s something in Miuccia that wants to nail emblems of ultra-femininity to the wall alongside tokens of feminism.

So her marabou trimmed the business-y camel wrap top that accompanied the black wrap skirt of a model clutching a big, business-y clutch. Well, sort of business-y. The collection clarified how perverse Mrs P has always been in her various definitions of the way a woman can be. “A new way of elegance” were the words she used to nail this particular offering.

It was plain that her new elegance involved maximum mobility, a get-up-and-and-go physicality that could turn on a dime when breaking news intruded on your own patch. Short shorts, tank tops, jumpsuits, skirts slit for movement, everything calibrated for rapid response… but rimmed with marabou, and accessorised with sandals. A kind of best-of-both-worlds modernity… fact and fantasy.

There was an entirely brainiac postscript to this whole affair. Inevitably, it pertained to the soundtrack by longtime Prada collaborator Frederic Sanchez. The nu-Satie piano stylings of Alex Menzies mixed with Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park and Diana Ross’s Love Hangover. Sanchez called it an existentialist mash-up, here, the melancholic recognition of a world in flux, there, the sheer, wonderful denial of disco bliss. The world’s a darkening place. Thank fashion for shining its own light. In fact, thank it twice.

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Prada – La Femme & L’Homme fragrances – 2016 – Musical direction

Shiseido 2016 – Composition originale.

Dior Homme summer 2017

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Comme des Garçons Homme Plus summer 2017

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Julien David homme spring summer 2017

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Prada men and women spring summer 2017

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Marni men spring summer 2017

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Jil Sander men spring summer 2017

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Craig Green spring summer 2017

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Dior Homme spring summer 2017 show video – Composition originale

Prada men’s women’s spring summer 2017 show video – Composition originale

AnOther – 22 juin 2016


Layers of Clothes, Layers of Meaning : Exploring Prada S/S17

We decipher the digital origins, 1990s nostalgia and boundless optimism of Prada’s latest offering

Text Olivia Singer
Photography Federico Ferrari
Photographic Editor Holly Hay

If last season’s Prada collection was a journey across the oceans, this season was a trip of a different sort. « Let’s get unconscious, » drawled a Madonna remix over the sound system as a stream of models took to the runway, swaddled in outfits that readied them for any eventuality. Wearing torches and pac-a-macs, they exhibited the sort of preparedness one might have expected to see at 90s raver festivals like Tribal Gathering or Spiral Tribe. « The past is over and I want to take care of the present, » announced Mrs Prada backstage and, while there are plenty of bleak comparisons to be made between the current, separatist state of political affairs and the eclectic cultural references that she sent onto the runway, there was something distinctly lighthearted about it all.

There was an ecstasy-addled freneticism and trance party aesthetic present not only in the rainbow-thatched macs, geothermal prints and era-specific eyewear, or the trippy soundtrack of Björk and Faithless, but also in the zealous embrace of everything and everyone that marked the rave scene. As those of us in Europe await the result of Brexit ballot boxes amidst a climate of confusion, upheaval and fear, Prada offered an almost utopian reminder of togetherness – but without the kumbayas or explicit liberalism one might expect from such a determinedly contemporary collection.

While the world at large might be discussing immigration, isolation and inertia, over recent months it has been Prada’s financial situation that has dominated the fashion pages. The company’s losses have been broadly attributed to a lack of digital innovation (they have only recently announced they will be retailing ready-to-wear online for the first time) and a dependence on retail stores rather than e-commerce (a number of said stores are now closing) but, for S/S17, these issues were clearly being countered by the sheer abundance of product on offer. Clothes were literally heaped onto the models – extra coats spilled out of bags, additional pairs of shoes hung from rucksacks, entry-point knick-knacks were dangling from every strap – and thus there were perhaps more options than ever before for those who will choose to buy from the collection. But, with a wry wink at those critics who have remarked that Prada is behind the times when it comes to the digital age, Mrs Prada celebrated the era that marked both the internet’s inception and the start of her reign in fashion. She seemed to be reminding us that she’s certainly not lagging behind: she’s always been a few paces ahead.

“Google Earth: that is the world” – Miuccia Prada
It was during 1989 that Prada launched its womenswear – the same year that Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. As Prada quickly became synonymous with modernity, the world opened up and connected people to each another like never before, through Compuserve forums and AOL discussion boards and ICQ instant messaging. It was the second wave of free love; not only were plenty of people dosed up on MDMA, but a new world was on offer, and it was rife with possibility. “How do we embrace the architecture of limitless technology?” asked one of the captions to the lo-fi countdown to the show, published via Instagram. “What are the boundaries of technotravel?” read another. Prada’s boys and girls not only celebrated the literal freedom of travel – branded water bottles and saffiano-wrapped torches dangling in tow – but freedom of a more abstract kind; the freedom of information and communication that was seen on cartographic prints. As Mrs Prada explained, that reference was taken from Google Earth, and « that is the world.”

Everyone, Everything, Everywhere
There was also the far more literal rendering of cultural crossover, as seen in the cartoonish prints of Icelandic Inuits and praying Buddhas that appeared on shirts, the mini sombreros and little elephants that decorated assorted small leather goods. These prints were an affectionate allusion to tourist souvenirs, a celebration of exploration – in fact, just arriving within the Prada showspace felt like you were exploring something. Not only was it raining outside in Milan, and thus steamy and humid inside, but one had to traverse some dimly lit corridors filled with Prada’s new fragrance before arriving in a new world filled with a series of mesh structures illuminated by psychedelic neon lights. The sounds of birds, or crickets, or something of that sort filled the air – and, between that and the humidity, you suddenly felt as though you were in a rainforest, or the reptilian area at the zoo.

“What connects the competing grids between nature and technology?” asked another one of those aforementioned Instagram teasers. Upon speaking to Frédéric Sanchez, the man responsible for the music at Prada’s shows, that question was answered. He had composed these natural noises electronically: the sounds of rainforests, satellites, spaceships, the sounds that he imagined the planets might make as they turn on their axes. These are sounds that can only be detected through the use of electronic antennae: the product of nature and technology when they are aligned rather than posited in opposition to one another, and they were later woven between the layers of Primal Scream, Björk and Faithless that narrated the runway. It was the harmony of the 1990s and the contemporary, the digital and the human, the exotic and the prosaic, that made this collection just so appealing – a symbiosis of everyone, everything, everywhere.

Layers of Clothes: Layers of Meaning
We all know that a Prada show is composed of seemingly endless layers – this time, there were the multiple sheets of plastic that formed the invitation, the overlaid grids of metal that made up the runway, the soundscape composed of myriad origins. Thus, although there might have been an elaborately constructed optimism and connectedness that permeated the pieces, everyone seemed fully aware that this season was certainly a part two, the next chapter in the story initiated during menswear A/W16. But while the figures that walked that runway were travellers in clothes that addressed “immigration, famine, assassination, pessimism,” this time they had arrived to explore “this idea of travelling, of sharing, of joining cultures,” and they were welcomed with open arms.

« The backpack is where you put your home, your shelter, in case of difficult times » – Miuccia Prada
There was practicality in this self-stated “activewear”: ripstop fabric – the interlocked, reinforced nylon ordinarily used for camping equipment and firefighter gear – was used for overcoats and dresses; padded quilting – the sort that really keeps you warm – was turned into jackets; plastic sandals embellished with (plastic) flowers could probably be hosed down if they got muddy. But, peel away the layers and there were suits of kid mohair with perfectly elegant satin collars and woven silks that looked like polyester but felt luxuriant. “There was also the idea of safety,” Mrs Prada said. “The backpack is where you put your home, your shelter, in case of difficult times.” The backpack is also what reinvigorated the house back in 1984, its industrial-weight nylon revolutionising the fashion landscape with utilitarian chic. Now, stuffed with an abundance of pieces that are sure to sell – perhaps even online – it is where it might once again find salvation. “That was fun,” Mrs Prada summated as she closed her brief interview backstage. And she’s right, it was – fun, smart and utterly saleable.

Dazed – 20 juin 2016

Prada’s ravers make a case for a united world

Exploring the deeper meaning behind the brightly-hued camping hats, sandals, windbreakers and waterproofs of the house’s SS17 collection

When it comes to Prada, there’s always more to its collections than meets the eye. Yesterday, in a chainlink-constructed set illuminated by a rainbow of neon lights, Miuccia Prada sent models packing – literally. With colourful camping hats, sandals, windbreakers and waterproofs, as well as torches around their necks, and water bottles hanging from waistbands, they looked set for a weekend of raving – helped along by the soundtrack of 90s dance anthem “Insomnia”. The majority of models wore backpacks hung with extra pouches and with straps that crossed around the waist, as well as a spare jacket and even an alternative pair of formal shoes attached. “In case you want to have a beautiful evening,” Mrs Prada said with a smile.

It’s the second season in a row that the designer has explored the idea of travel – AW16 was a historic, violently beautiful vision of sea-tossed sailors, their clothes pulled asunder, collars askew, naturally prompting comparisons to the migrant crisis. With issues of immigration continuing to divide Europe, it’s still a relevant theme, and Prada weighed in by discussing the benefits that journeying brings – an expanded worldview, the sharing and joining of cultures. Such could be found in the childlike buddha, palm tree and mariachi band prints borrowed from Iceland, Mexico, and India, as well as maps taken straight from Google Earth. “The core goal is to share with other people, » Prada asserted. « Other cultures, other mentalities.”

“The backpack – where you put your home, your shelter. Just in case there are difficult times” – Miuccia Prada
But the idea of a coming storm was there, too – some garments were printed with weather forecasts that saw the red eye of a hurricane beginning to form. If last season was about the crossing oceans, this was arriving on land – carrying your possessions on your back, forging a new path into the unknown. As Prada warned: “The backpack – where you put your home, your shelter. Just in case there are difficult times.” These weren’t just festival campers or gap-year-goers – also present was the idea of travel for other reasons, in the form of a soldier like green suit and a series of more sombre looks (matched by Björk’s “Army of Me”, which fittingly kicked off the Frédéric Sanchez composed soundtrack). Of course, the collection was a visual feast, beautiful on the surface, and easy to appreciate aesthetically. But it’s the way Prada uses clothes to translate meaning at a deeper level that makes her work so special. Backstage, she emphasised that this season was focused on the present, the now – if you were willing to listen, these clothes spoke volumes about the nature of our world today.

Business of Fashion – 20 juin 2016

Prada’s Summer of love
Youthful idealism is Miuccia Prada’s antidote to a world full of violence and fear.

BY TIM BLANKS
MILAN, Italy — Miuccia Prada insisted she’d never heard the word “wanderlust” before, but it lit a fire under her new collection, with its tribe of boys and girls carrying their lives in their backpacks as they trekked into the unknown in their sandals and socks.

If travel was the inspiration for the last Prada collections, Mrs P saw those excursions as a journey through the past. Here, we were gazing into the gaping maw of an uncertain future. “I’m full of fear,” she said. “I’m optimistic on principle, but I see what is happening around, and my fear is mounting.”

Still, she offered a fully formed testament to hope, or, at least, the hope that accompanies youthful idealism. The show’s rave-iness evoked the legendary, ecstasy-soaked summers of love in the late 1980s, Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack mixing the electro splendour of Faithless with Bedtime Story, the song Bjork wrote for Madonna. “Travelling to the arms of unconsciousness,” sang Madonna. “The trip always has different meanings,” Miuccia added cryptically.

For an incisive thinker like Miuccia Prada, it shouldn’t be difficult to put together a collection that repudiates all the bullshit that male-dominated constructs are spewing into the cultural mainstream. There was a sense here that she’s maybe just getting started. In the past, Prada’s collections for men have emphasized male vulnerability, ineffectuality even. What was shown today — a men’s collection for Spring 2017, a Resort collection for women — emphasised the commonality in diversity. The issue is no longer vulnerability; it’s survival, regardless of gender, race, colour or creed.

So both collections were about ready-for-anything mobility. It was a fashion show so boys’ backpacks dangled a handy pair of dress shoes. The girls’ dangled heels. So did the last male model’s. (That’s ready for anything.) But the overriding message was The Mix. There was an element of customisation, with embroidery and doodads and ethnic flourishes, ways to individualise your stuff. Otherwise, there was just that reassuring sense of tribalism. Back in some much more secure day, Prada created a world around a black nylon backpack. There it was today, nestled in the middle of a riot of pattern and colour. Back to the source — you know we have no choice but to go there.