Frederic Sanchez

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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Craig Green fall winter 2017-18

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Dior Homme fall winter 2017-18

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Marni men fall winter 2017-18

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Prada men fall winter 2017-18

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Giambattista Valli haute couture spring summer 2017

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Alberta Ferretti fall winter 2017-18

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Ann Demeulemeester women fall winter 2017-18

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Anna Sui fall winter 2017-18

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Comme des Garçons women fall winter 2017-18

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Erdem fall winter 2017-18

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Salvatore Ferragamo women fall winter 2017-18

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Jil Sander women fall winter 2017-18

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Lanvin women fall winter 2017-18

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Marni women fall winter 2017-18

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Missoni fall winter 2017-18

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Miu Miu fall winter 2017-18

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MSGM women fall winter 2017-18

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Narciso Rodriguez fall winter 2017-18

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Nina Ricci fall winter 2017-18

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Prada women fall winter 2017-18

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Self Portrait fall winter 2017-18

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Sonia Rykiel fall winter 2017-18

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Uma Wang fall winter 2017-18

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Wanda Nylon fall winter 2017-18

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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.

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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.

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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.

nov. 032016

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.

sept. 162016

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

noir

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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.

AnOther – 13 Juin 2016

Craig Green’s Epic of Ascension
We reflect on the boy scout sentimentality and remarkable finesse of the young London designer’s S/S17 collection

Text Olivia Singer
Photography Dham Srifuengfung
Photographic Editor Holly Hay

It was only a couple of days before his S/S17 show that Craig Green told me, “We haven’t even put the looks together yet.” “It’s kind of mad,” he continued, “it’s still changing hour by hour.” In fact, it wasn’t until the day before the show that the structure of the collection finally took shape; fittings were still being done up until the last possible moment before the models took to the runway. If he wasn’t so open about it all, you’d never have guessed, simply because S/S17 had a grace that you can hardly imagine was created quite so close to the mark. Over recent seasons, Green has become the darling of London Collections: Men, his nuanced subversions of masculinity – explored through collections that, when dissembled piece by piece, are remarkably wearable – has offered some much-needed elegance in a week that can often feel a bit higgledy-piggledy. This season saw his aesthetic achieve its greatest heights yet: a considered development on familiar signatures executed with a gentle finesse in both fabrication and form. 

There were trousers cut to the knee, leaving their fabric to flap around the calves, sleeves loosely bound to jackets, scarves gently dangling from the hands of the models – even when hoods were pulled close around the face, they felt far from constricting but, rather, free. The outerwear was created to look “as though it was a tent flying apart” and sometimes backs were completely left bare and just laced with strings, because “there’s something tortuous about wrapping someone in all that quilting in summer”. While extending straps and half-undone stitching have become signatures of Green’s, this time that looseness felt romantic rather than deliberately appearing rushed – and, with a single white flag of surrender providing the starting point for his inspirations, that serenity made sense both on initial impact and on closer inspection.

An Accredited Confidence
While last season’s show was rife with ominous undertones – sutured straitjackets and hazmat safety suits, padded coats constructed from punching bag leathers – this collection showed a graceful, almost monastic, surety. It can be no coincidence, then, that just last month Green won the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund: a prize that extends beyond endorsement and offers £150,000 investment alongside business mentorship. Green won’t receive the funding until September, so “there’s not a direct influence” he says – but to ignore the confidence boost that must surely accompany such accreditation would be naïve, and it was transparently visible throughout the show. There was a quiet power in its gentle masculinity, a refined beauty to its thoughtfulness – and, while Green’s clothes always seem self-assured, this time they were entirely without the underlying anxiety that can often colour them.

An Exploration of Peace
So, to the colours. While Green started out making his name through saturated palettes, last season’s was subdued: silks hand-washed again and again until they felt exhausted. This time, too, the pieces were boil-bleached and re-dyed – but even when they were more vibrant they felt dusky and sentimental: North African bed sheets were love-worn and faded, turned into delicate patchworks for gentle jackets and relaxed trousers. Boyscout flags – first in reds and greens, later in peaches and mints – were bleached into “really strange colours that you would never pick at first” and draped around waists and torsos but, rather than constricting their models, they were carefully slung, completely harmonious.
“I see [the collections] as one big story, and every season is a reaction to the one before,” he said and, between the influence of flags and the exoticism of prints, Green’s boys moved away from their A/W16 armour and became explorers; they were a modern rendition of Captain John Noel’s documentation of Mallory and Irvine in The Epic of Everest, paying nostalgic tribute to British mountaineers and schoolboyish scout escapades. With such mammoth investment for the business of a small designer soon to arrive, it felt as though, with this collection, Green was preparing to embark on a similarly epic adventure. For a man who last week told Tim Blanks that he’d “never even heard of St Martins” before he ended up there, whose shows have quickly become such a hot ticket and who has found himself with global stockists galore (he’s now in 59 locations), you get the sense that he’s set to reach the summit.

A Score of Sentimentality
Another distinct development in the collection was the score: surging and swelling with emotion and transforming the runway into something distinctly cinematic; you almost expected credits to roll during the finale. While, ordinarily, Green spends the night beforescrolling through YouTube for relevant tracks, this time the music was composed by the legendary Frédéric Sanchez – the man responsible for the auditory backdrops to the likes of Margiela and Marc Jacobs. 
“I saw what he was doing three years ago and I felt very close to his world so I got in touch with him,” Sanchez explained, “I think he was surprised that I wanted to work with him, but I really like to work with people I feel I am close to in some way.” The parity between the two – between the collection and the score – is interesting; once Green had sent Sanchez some references (pictures of fabrics, of boy scouts, of utility clothes), Sanchez started to search for what could work to accompany it, “something that felt familiar”. He ended up mixing different versions of Roy Harper’s Another Day, adding and subtracting layers of sound, fromKate Bush and Peter Gabriel, from Elizabeth Fraser, from Oliver Coates. “I was washing the songs, like he was washing the clothes; I wanted to achieve this strange romanticism,” he explains. Harper himself is determinedly Romantic (with a capital R), and so there was a bizarre and powerful synchronicity with the Keatsian sentimentality of the collection, and its somewhat sublime narrative.
“I saw the response to the show,” says Sanchez afterwards. “And people were touched. It doesn’t happen like that all the time; I have seen that at some Prada shows, some Comme des Garçons shows, but it’s not always like that. It was special.” And special it was. “We are at a crucial stage where we’re almost at the end of NewGen,” Green reflected last week, “and at the end of all of the amazing people who have supported us, doing stuff for next to nothing. Now it’s time to build some foundations, and create a brand that is sustainable.” You certainly get the feeling that he’s well on his way to the top.

Dazed Digital – 12 Juin 2016

Frédéric Sanchez on crafting Craig Green’s SS17 soundtrack

Exclusive: the legendary sound director discusses soundtracking the designer’s poetic SS17 show – plus, discover his track list

At his SS17 show on Friday, Craig Green captivated the fashion industry once more with a collection that drew on Boy Scouts and Indian draping. It was an emotional show, both because of the poetry of the collection and the touching soundtrack created by cult music composer Frédéric Sanchez.
“I’ve followed Craig’s work for a while,” said Sanchez, who has worked with Comme des Garçons,Prada and Jil Sander among others, speaking ahead of the show. “What I like about his work is that you have things from the past meet things from the future – like Symbolist paintings. There is something so inspiring and poetic about it. I wanted to work with him and, you know, try and enter his world.”
And enter his world he did, with a soundtrack featuring Oliver Coates, Colin Self, Kate Bush, Vampillia and Roy Harper. Music, says Sanchez, is like the “decor” or “perfume” that helps turn the presentation of clothes into something more special, engaging the audience’s ears as well as their eyes. Backstage at the show, Green said that the music we heard was the first mix Sanchez gave him to listen too. “It was just a really easy, natural process,” he said, commenting on his experience of working with the producer. 
Of course, Sanchez’s decision to work with Green is interesting in and of itself – he worked on Martin Margiela’s debut show in ’88 and has worked with other designers from the very start of their careers. “There’s something that attracted me (about Green’s work). You know, it’s exactly the same feeling I had when I first saw some things from Margiela, Yohji, and Comme.” As Green’s career goes from strength to strength (he’s just won a major grant), his collaboration with Sanchez is further proof that there’s much more to come from the designer. 

TRACK LIST
1. Oliver Coates, “Another Day (Bryce Hackford Remix)”, Another Fantasy
2. Colin Self, “Elation I”, Elation
3. Oliver Coates, “Another Day”, Towards The Blessed Islands
4. Kate Bush & Peter Gabriel, “Live in Europe 79 & 80”, Another Day
5. Vampillia, “Hope”, Some Nightmares Take You Aurora
6. Roy Harper, “Another Day”, Songs of Love and Loss, Vol. 1 & 2

Business Of Fashion – 9 Juin 2016

Can Craig Green Build a Real Business?

On the eve of London Collections: Men, the designer talks exclusively to Tim Blanks about turning his undeniable creative vision into ‘product that people want to buy.’

BY TIM BLANKS
LONDON, United Kingdom — Craig Green owns five t-shirts, two pairs of jeans and a jacket. It’s one of his own, a quilted, lace-tied worker’s jacket in indigo cotton that he based on the black jean jacket he’d been wearing every day up till that point. It’s all he needs, really, when his sturdy worker’s frame wears it so well. It’s always reassuring when a menswear designer looks good in his own clothes, even more so when those clothes pose a challenge to the sartorial status quo, as Green’s often have. But since his first show for Spring/Summer 2015, he’s been able to successfully insinuate his design signatures into London’s fashion lexicon, to the point where you can see Craig’s Children being born in the next generation of talent coming through. That influence was recognised in May, when Green scooped £150,000 from the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund.

“We’ll have a table this season, we won’t have to sit on boxes.” That’s what his tiny team cried plaintively on news of his win. They’ll find out whether that’s the case when the money comes through in September. Before then, there’s Green’s show for Spring 2017, the highlight of the opening day of London Collections: Men. But first, the designer has to finish it.

I thought last season’s collection had echoes of North Africa in its desert tones and nomad stripes. They’re more explicit for Spring 2017. Hand-blocked prints in bleached-out pastel tones are borrowed, says Green, from old Moroccan bed sheets. “I wanted to go back to colour and print. We did it a lot at the beginning with all those hand-painted pieces, but not since then. Last season was faded, aged and washed. It was an older energy. So this time, we started with acidic, really saturated colour. But then we decided we didn’t like that, so we bleached everything out, going for a more romantic feeling. Then it all shrank, so we had to make it all again. We’re never really finished ‘till the last minute.” And that everything-changing-by-the-second chaos is, according to the designer, pretty par for the pre-show course in the Green atelier. “We’re never really finished to the last minute, we tend to make a lot of samples,” he adds drolly.

It’s something of a tradition for iconoclastic talents to announce themselves with their degree shows. Green’s MA presentation set a fearless precedent with three-dimensional forms that turned men into mobile sculptures. Since then, his collections have consistently evoked pagan robes, priestly vestments, warriors, wicker men and workers from a medieval future. But he himself never tried to define his own aesthetic until he applied for the BFC/GQ Fashion Fund. “We had to sit down and really work out what the brand was about. Why do we have shows like this? Why do we have products like this?” The whole procedure was compounded by the fact that Green is working with a music producer for the first time on his new show. Frederic Sanchez being the industry’s go-to guy for soundtracks that often provoke, occasionally bemuse, and always transcend mere music for models to walk to, this is quite a coup for Green, but he had no idea who Sanchez was when he started e-mailing three years ago. Now, working with him, Green finds once again that he has had to define himself, to help Sanchez create one of the complementary aural profiles for which he is famous.

So, was there definition forthcoming?

“I don’t know if we ever managed to,” he admits. And he’s aware that at some point, he’ll need to. “We’re about to come to end of the Newgen sponsorship and the studio sponsorship from [the Alexander McQueen foundation] Sarabande, so in the next year or so, we’re going to have put down roots to last a bit longer. There’s only so many favours and freebies people are going to do now, especially when they know we have the GQ money.” There’s a little rue mixed into the pride when Green adds, “We have no investment, no credit cards, no overdraft and no backers.”

But he has, at least, been able to nail the physical nature of his business. “One side is creative, the other side is uniforms and workwear. And sometimes, they’re fighting.” The creative side is theatrical, clearly responsible for the shows, and the sculptural pieces that end up in exhibitions, and gigs like the recent costuming exercise for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus sequel. (“We did all the sleeperwear and the clothes the mercenaries wear to fight the alien,” says Green.) The other side, the uniforms, hang in shops like Selfridges, Dover Street Market, Barneys, L’Eclaireur, 10 Corso Como, and Opening Ceremony, where women are drawn to them almost as often as men. That gender-neutrality might indicate something significant about the conceptual essence of Green’s clothes: strong but romantic, functional but emotional, the warrior’s edge tempered by an air of melancholy.

During LC:M a year ago, Nick Knight and Green collaborated on a photo shoot for the windows of Dover Street Market. The clothes reminded Knight of the torn sails of a ship after being ravaged by a storm, an almost classically romantic vision. “Craig didn’t pick up on that, he thought it too whimsical. He saw it in a much more brutal way,” says Knight. As brutal, in fact, as the images he brought Knight of rugby players crashing into each other. Green’s presentations have been serenely, markedly anything but brutal, but Knight’s images proved that his clothes look best in visceral movement, when all the ties and trailing laces and artful articulation come alive. So we could mark the tension between serenity and violence as another Green signature.

Something else I find more striking is the essential innocence of his work. It’s a measure of the man who arrived at Central St Martin’s in 2007 having never picked up a fashion magazine, having never heard of Alexander McQueen (so Frederic Sanchez needn’t feel so bad). “It just wasn’t in my realm of knowledge. I’d never even heard of St Martin’s. I quite liked doing art at school and I had this dream of going to do a fine art course in Edinburgh to be a portrait painter. I had a friend at school whose dad was a propmaker for the BBC who told me I had to apply to St Martin’s because it was the best art school in England, so I said I’d come along to an open day with him. I applied, because I thought at least I could do a foundation year, then I met some people outside smoking who said I should come and do fashion communication. ‘We just dress people up for two weeks and take photos.’ I thought that sounded like fun. Then I tried print-making, because it was somewhere between painting and fashion. My idea of fashion was so narrow I was really rubbish at it, and I thought at least I could go into art afterwards. It was really naïve the way it happened.”

At the end of his second year, Green discovered the designers Walter van Beirendonck, Bernhard Willhelm and Henrik Vibskov, and his horizons suddenly expanded exponentially.

“In my placement year, I spent six months with Walter, six months with Henrik, and my whole idea of what fashion could be changed. I saw how everything was a possibility, how everything and anything could be related to fashion. I saw how you could do it as an independent.” It’s not hard to imagine Professor Louise Wilson recognising a budding kindred spirit and impelling him onto her legendary MA course, the farm team of contemporary British fashion.

Commercial success or brand-building or even dressing men was never in Green’s mind. “I think my graduate show was just about creating objects. I was more interested in making something visual, what I would want to see walking around in a catwalk show. It was a really simple idea.” And the media played merry hell with it, as they did for Green’s subsequent efforts under the umbrella of the Lulu Kennedy-curated MAN presentation at LC:M, the “broken fence” collection of Autumn/Winter 2013 occasioning particular mirth. Now, he says, “My favourite shows are those old Galliano shows for Dior. They make me feel emotional. When I watch them, I wish I was there. That dreamy escapism is what we’ve always tried to start with, but you have to have a realism too. Because as soon as you start doing it, the reality kicks in that if you don’t sell, you don’t have money to do the next show.”

Still, even as Green talks about the need to make “product that people want to be buy,” broken fences now a thing of the past, the idealism of his early years in fashion remains unpolluted. “I love the community feeling of what I do. I love [that] I can work with my best friends, I don’t dread going into work, and that’s an amazing thing.” His epiphany, personal and professional, may have been his Spring/Summer 2015 collection, where he proved he could do what he wanted, still make a primal emotional connection with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other people…and launch a business on the back of that connection. At the time, I wrote, “Zen was one of Green’s own reference points, but the mind spiralled away effortlessly into visions of samurais and gurus and barefooted penitents and the Polyphonic Spree and even, for one bedazzled brainiac in the audience, the Children’s Crusade.” Me being the ‘bedazzled brainiac,’ you can take that googly-eyed observation with a snort of sal volatile, but I was scarcely the only person in the audience who was profoundly moved. More to the point, retailers backed up their emotional response with orders. “That collection, we had sales for the first time,” says Green. “Suddenly, we became a business, rather than ‘Let’s do a show and see what happens because maybe we won’t be here in six months.’” Almost the most satisfying of all possible results, in other words.

And that’s the rail that Craig Green rides now, anticipating anticipation. The designer whose entire wardrobe could fit in a carry-on metamorphs those pieces into clothes that tug at the heartstrings, tickle the soul. Because his particular brand of alchemical pragmatism has already carved him an undeniable niche, there will surely be a moment when someone or thing much bigger comes knocking at the door, wanting to capture his lightning in their bottle.

He’s ready.

Photo: Bruno Staub

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L’Officiel – 23 février 2016

Miu Miu dévoile Miu Miusic

Au hit-parade des bandes-son sur les podiums, Frédéric Sanchez se classe en tête. A travers son studio d’illustration sonore, le magnat des platines réussit l’exploit de transcrire l’adn d’une maison.  C’est à lui que la maison Miu Miu a fait appel, pour sa dernière nouveauté high-tech des plus désirables : l’application Miu Miusic. Conçue comme une playlist évolutive pour l’amoureux du beat, l’application applique les codes du luxe exclusif à ses dix tracks inspirés des shows.
Des manteaux à empiècements python ondulant au son des basses aux bottines néo-western qui arpentent le pavé de manière saccadée, les silhouettes contemporaines imaginées par Miuccia Prada se prêtent au jeu du digital. C’est dans la vidéo qui accompagne le lancement de l’application tant attendue par le fashion-system que les collections du label italien se déclinent en kaléidoscope de couleurs, dans une valse endiablée rythmée par le Studio Sanchez. Mannequin d’un jour, il est conseillé de lancer la playlist sur le pavé pour un effet catwalk garanti.

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Miu Miu App 2016 – Composition originale.

Visit the Miu Miusic app page on miumiu.com

Miu Miu fall/winter 2016-17 show video – Composition originale

Prada women fall/winter 2016-17 show video – Composition originale

Moncler Women’s fall/winter 2016-17 video – Composition originale.

SHOWstudio – 15 mars 2016


Lucy Norris reports on Miu Miu show



In a season which has been awash with the new glamour, a late 20th century fixation with decon-recon and mish-mash referencing, Mrs Prada created a classic Miuccia collection.

With the fashion pack on the home straight, the pre-show sounds of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard It Through the Grapevine’ struck a chord. The Motown classic filled the venue with energy, and everyone had a front seat (or the option of lounging back on a large square sofa). The mood was relaxed, yet upbeat and exciting. Miu Miu’s placement at the end of the season is an essential one. Being one of the greatest minds in fashion, Miuccia Prada ensures no one gets on a plane – or train – that evening without her having the last word on the season. With an authoritative jubilance, this season’s collection was a celebration of Americana, decadence, romance and dress up.Martin Gaye’s all American soul anthem was eventually stripped back – bar by bar – to a raw acapella version. It sounded fantastic. Prada mirrored the notion by getting down to basics. Denim jackets were worn with men’s style boxer shorts and accessorised with pearls and stiletto heels. 



The American translations of English aristocratic worlds by designers such as Charles James and Ralph Lauren were called to mind. Another layering of referencing had an early 20th century Russian mood evoked via a juxtaposition of Constructivism and pre-revolution Romanov ostentation. Workwear cuts of denim created floor length swagged and ruched skirts, which were one stitch away from having a bustle. Wide velvet buckled belts and floor length tapestry skirts also evoked a Russo-American take on Edwardiana. Disposable tissues poked out of the pockets – and looked like an ironic stab at old fashion notions of formality.



Katie Grand was on board this season as stylist. Prada and Grand’s shared love for a pin up really shone through. A film star glamour twinned with a young irreverence evoked images of grown up American Graffiti style sweethearts. Slicked back hair, furry jewel incrusted slides and rhinestone encrusted denim all added to a nineties supermodel take on the fifties. A Parisian naughtiness also crept in via oversized black stockings, which evoked fallen women – within the highly evocative paintings by Toulouse-lautrec – whilst crisp white bows tied to the back of high heel pumps were Belle du Jour chic. 



It wasn’t just Christian Dior’s 1947 hourglass New Look silhouette we saw here. A lilac cocktail number  – worn by Lara Stone – reminded one of Charles James’ love for a shoulderless dress. A reference on a reference, the cinched waists and full volume waxed belted trenches also cued us in on the fact that Charles James was an overall influence on the mid twentieth century style at Dior. The collection was full of playful touches like oversized crochet dolly collars, and tweed plus fours – which articulated hyper masculine and feminine ideas of traditional dress up. There was a Ralph Lauren dandy portrayal of the English gent, which was layered under Hollywood film star tropes of faux fur, crystal embellished sunglasses and stilettos. The final section saw stately home magazines come alive with an upper Hamptons Edie Beale eclecticism. Beautiful baby blue flocked coats imagined curtains having been pulled from windows – and re-fashioned into high society dress up.



In a season which has been awash with the new glamour, a late 20th century fixation with decon-recon and mish-mash referencing, Mrs Prada created a classic Miuccia collection. Like a champagne toast to the season, she was announcing that she’s been here all along.



AnOther – 11 mars 2016

The Anarchic Revolution at Comme des Garçons

Susannah Frankel considers the creative motivations behind Rei Kawakubo’s magnificently evocative new collection

Text Susannah Frankel Photography Polly Brown Photographic Editor Holly Hay

« Eighteenth century punk, » was the phrase given up by Rei Kawakubo to explain her extraordinary Autumn/Winter 2016 collection for Comme des Garçons last weekend in Paris. If it seems somewhat contradictory in intention – and it would certainly not be the first time this great creator chose to do that – then first impressions may be misleading. After all, the 18th century, in France in particular but elsewhere also, was a revolutionary era. As far as dress in the Directoire period was concerned, the principally aristocratic Les Incroyables and their female counterparts Les Merveilleuses wore clothing that was intentionally and powerfully provocative in its decadence, flying in the face of the politically correct in favour of dressing to impress an inner circle and outrage anyone outside of it. Sounds familiar? Comme des Garçons has always been interested in – and subverted – notions of status in designer clothing. It is surely no coincidence, then, that with fashion (and the world in general) struggling both economically and creatively to recover its composure, this was the reference cited by the powers that be at the label, treated, as always, in an oblique and anarchic way. Kawakubo insists that she operates solely on an instinctive level and that her search is an endless one for the shock of the new but her instincts, albeit subconsciously, are very sensitively aligned to the zeitgeist. That only adds to her influence. Whatever the motivation behind it, this revolutionary fashion force continues to express herself in a manner that leaves others in the shade.

Ready to wear?

While Rei Kawakubo formerly took great pride in the fact that everything she puts on the runway is available in store – and indeed, that continues to be the case today – for the past three years she has reduced the looks in her biannual Comme des Garçons womenswear presentation to the most extreme while, in the showroom, the more obviously commercial pieces that will soon fill her stores are available for buyers and press to view at their leisure. This, in essence, has more in common with an haute couture business model than with ready-to-wear, in as much as her catwalk functions as the pure ‘parfum’ from which everything else – eau de parfum, eau de toilette and so forth – springs. The show pieces in question were as magnificent as ever, drawing on archive clothing and furnishing fabrics reinvented in a brilliantly imaginative and evocative way and transformed into increasingly overblown structures more reminiscent of sculpture than clothing.
The Comme des Garçons signatures were firmly in place: plump coils, huge ruffles, petals, ribbons, bows and a cute CdG take on the pannier all built up into larger-than-life-size constructions that only the fashionably courageous and most Comme des Garçons committed are ever likely to wear. They will look sensational. Those who do choose to invest in these very special designs will also rest safe in the knowledge that their five-figure price tag not only ensures extremely limited production but also serves as an investment. More than a few will doubtless end up as museum pieces. Deservedly so. They are among the most inventive – if not the most inventive – of our time.

The Finer Fabrics

Famously, Kawakubo tends to favour synthetics, quite the finest synthetics in the world. This time, however, she worked predominantly in fine silks and velvets although – more obviously in line with the punk side of the equation – opted for pale pink and true red PVC. Pink – the feminine fashion cliché of choice – and red – once cited by the designer as ‘black’, as in the new black – are both integral to her design process. Otherwise, floral brocades were the order of this particular day, painstakingly sourced and created by four Italian fabric makers, three French fabric makers and one Swiss fabric maker. There were 27 fabrics in total and the result was as colourful and uplifting a patchwork of blooms as has been for some time or perhaps ever here. And that’s quite something coming from a woman who has long upheld black as the non-colour of choice. Again, such rich pickings are traditionally the staples of the haute couture ateliers, although there was nothing even remotely traditional about the way they were treated.

From Top to Toe

If the clothing was rainbow hued, the make-up was pale and the hair black. Longtime Comme des Garçons collaborator Julien D’Ys, responsible for the latter, was given just « Eighteenth century punk » to work with and the end result was the type of sky-high, studiously un-natural design favoured by the eighteenth century upper classes to denote influence, wealth and power. For Comme des Garçons, wigs, while towering, were witty, pretty and abstracted to ensure a never overly literal pastiche. As for the shoes… Kawakubo has always preferred her footwear flat, of a sort which, however idiosyncratic, any wearer can run in. On this occasion, heavy white lace-up sneakers worn with wrinkled ankle socks were embellished with also white or pastel-coloured fluff bearing more than a passing resemblance to candy floss. Sweet.

A « Happy Classical » Soundtrack

The very clever show soundtrack specialist Frédéric Sanchez is responsible for the music at Comme des Garçons, and he too is given nothing more than the odd word as guidance only days before the show takes place. In this instance, Rei Kawakubo told him: « happy classical ». There is surely no more bright and breezy example of that than Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. Spliced into short, sharp excerpts it was a perfectly bizarre accompaniment to these monumental exits. Perhaps inevitably, The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy brought the biggest smile to the lips of those in attendance. Because these were far from the average Sugar Plum Fairies it has to be said.

Business of Fashion – 6 mars 2016

An Empathy With Radicalism at Comme des Garçons

By Tim Blanks

Rei Kawakubo’s relationship with the punk spirit communicated by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood has helped define Comme des Garçons as the foremost challenge to fashion orthodoxy.

PARIS, France — “18th Century Punk,” was the opening gambit in Rei Kawakubo’s prepared statement about the collection she showed on Saturday. “The eighteenth century was a time of change and revolution. This is how I imagine punks would look like if they had lived in this century.”

Kawakubo has never been so explicit about her inspiration. But her relationship with the punk spirit as it was communicated by the physical and philosophical extravagance of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s clothing has been one of her most enduring and rewarding. And her empathy with their radicalism has helped define Comme des Garcons as the foremost challenge to fashion orthodoxy.

Which is why her collection today was initially something of a surprise. The 18th century had punks, the punkiest punks of all time, the lowborns, the guttersnipes, the sans culottes who herded aristos to the guillotine during the French Revolution.

But Kawakubo’s vision of 18th century punk was more of the salon variety, like the sans culottes had torn the curtains from Versailles’ windows, the fabric from the palace’s sofas, the garments from Marie Antoinette’s closets, and reconstituted them as a parody of court dress.

And that was where her idiosyncratic notion of punk insinuated itself. Courtly tropes — panniers, hoop skirts, brocades, bustles, corsets, elongated sleeves and any element of dress that interfered with normal function (because normal function was precisely what courtiers could/would not demand of their garb) — were ruthlessly dissected into extravagantly useless articulations.

And there could be no outfit more ineffective than Kawakubo’s closing look. A hillock of ruffles, six feet wide if it was an inch, edged its way cautiously down the catwalk. The 18thcentury, one hundred years of political and philosophical ferment, was stilled into stasis. Destruction of the status quo? Nothing beats it.

But Kawakubo is much too canny a social observer to fall for something that wholly obvious. When she spoke of 18th century punk, she was surely aware of the precursors to revolution, the ridiculous popinjays called Macaronis, whose extreme fashion inflamed the populace, and made it that much easier for the guillotine to begin its bloody work.

The soundtrack played decadent tinkly sounds, xylophone versions of cancans and sugar plum fairies, but that only heightened the genuinely aggressive edge to the sugary, flowery mounds of fabric that walked by. Kawakubo showed floral armour in her last men’s collection, which, at the time, seemed like a statement about peace prevailing.

Here, armour became armadillo, with jutting breastplates, scales of fabric, silhouettes extended into stegosaurus spines. Make war, not love! The clothes were carapaces. I kept thinking of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. You could go to sleep one night and wake up as a warrior, whether you wanted to or not. Julien D’Ys provided the helmets for your first battle — Macaroni wigs twisted into Weeknd or Basquiat dos.

Dazed – 6 mars 2016

Comme des Garçons imagines punk in the 18th century

We’ve had impassioned anger. We’ve had mournful tears. And now comes unbridled joy. Giddiness, even. It’s the Comme des Garçons emotional rollercoaster you want to ride repeatedly, with Rei Kawakubo setting the speed. This time around, we hurtled through history as punks somehow ended up in the 18th century.

“The eighteenth century was a time of change and revolution,” said Kawakubo in a quote sent out to journalists after the show. “This is how I imagine punks would look like if they had lived in this century.” And so the finest of rococo floral silk jacquards, brocades and damasks, the sort you might find in a Jean-François Bony painting were slashed, stitched and cut up into rebellious submission. Anna Cleveland opened and closed proceedings with a haughty stance, appropriate for these haute fabrics. Suits of armour were pitted against the most florid of fabrics. Corsetry and pannier skirt shapes were abstracted and collaged into uplifting pieces. Hair stylist Julien d’Ys fused mohawks with powder wig shapes in a burned-out jet black. Accompanied by a soundtrack of the Nutcracker suite re-rendered on a xylophone, you couldn’t help but be enamoured by Kawakubo’s show of outlandish punks, living through the age of revolutions and Enlightenment.

If the silhouettes and hair nodded at punk, so did the kinky pink vinyl that made up a cut-up teddy suit and the finale mantua-esque ruffled dress held together with bondage straps as worn by Anna Cleveland. It’s the exact shade of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s SEX boutique of 430 Kings Road back in 1974. It’s also the same shade of pink worn by the coquettish woman in Jean Honoré Fragonard’s painting The Swing. She’s being watched by a cheeky peeping tom in the bushes and so there was something salacious going on in Kawakubo’s powder pink punks too. The mini shift dresses underneath barely covered bums.

Beneath Kawakubo’s riot of florals and pompish punk, there was a bigger message to be mined. Turns out all these supremely beautiful fabrics were sourced from Lyon, once Europe’s centre of fine silk production and home to the most skilled weavers and craftsmen at historic fabric houses like Bucol and Prelle. Someone backstage even jokingly said, “This is going to be fucking expensive!” In a fashion age, where contemporary pricing and accessibility is lauded, trust contrarian Kawakubo to push back and say ‘No, thank you.’ This was Kawakubo’s clarion call perhaps to the industry to see the rebellious side of savoir-faire. Craftsmanship is often doled out to us with slow hands and quiet restraint. Here, Kawakubo utilised the crème de la crème of haute couture fabrics and pummelled them into assemblages that were boisterous and in yer’ face. How can we re-contextualise high-end quality and bring it to people’s attention? This was perhaps Kawakubo’s stroke of provocation.

As the show came to an end, a fairground-esque music played the audience’s exit out. Some scrambled up on the raised wooden catwalk to venture backstage, eager to find out what Kawakubo had to say. Others skipped outside with giant grins on their faces, as if enveloped in ebullience.

Dazed & Confused – February 26, 2016

Miuccia Prada explores the complexities of womanhood

Speaking backstage of the many roles women have to play, the designer presented a vision of strong and multifaceted femininity

Earlier this week in Milan, Alessandro Michele debuted a collection for Gucci that was based on the idea of fashion operating as a coded visual language in which history, time, politics, and identity are contained. Although he picked on references as far-reaching as the Renaissance, rock ‘n’ roll and contemporary street art, it’s not unfair to say that his signs were easy to follow – your eyes could seek out a Chinese-inspired collar, a disco-style platform boot, or a 60s velvet dress layered over a pussybow blouse. That’s not to say these garments weren’t visually arresting or technically complex, crafted with incredible, painstaking skill. But when the word “real” is spray-painted above a Gucci logo, it isn’t hard to get the message.

The same has never quite been true of Miuccia Prada’s collections – this is fashion that demands considered thought, reflection extending far into the hours, days and weeks after the final model has exited the catwalk. Yes, the signs are there and the references are familiar, but they appear somehow foreign – like the scattered, dreamlike symbols of a Giorgio di Chirico painting, which the show space’s chiaroscuro arches seemed to take inspiration from. Building on the foundations laid by January’s menswear show, last night Prada’s girls walked in sailor hats, fur coats and Hawaiian prints, decorated with keys, roses, corsets, notebooks, knitted gloves and socks and many other accoutrements besides. They were dressed, said Mrs Prada, for an adventure – rather than waiting, forlorn, for a long-lost love to return from a voyage, they were the ones doing the travelling.

“They were dressed, said Mrs Prada, for an adventure – rather than waiting, forlorn, for a long-lost love to return from a voyage, they were the ones doing the travelling”
The clue was in the music, where PJ Harvey’s grazing voice sung of having traversed “hell and high water”, and the alluring drawl of Nico name-dropped the Titanic. “Women – iconic women, strong women and poetic women”, summed up music maestro Frédéric Sanchez backstage of the soundtrack, which also featured Marilyn Monroe and Edith Piaf. From Harvey’s furry armpits, lurid green eyeshadow and expressive, handsome features, to Monroe’s archetypal blonde bombshell beauty, each of these women had radically different ways of performing their femininity and all of their interpretations were equally valid. Miuccia’s model muses may have been going on a journey, but Mrs Prada herself was the one travelling – into ideas and expectations of femininity, into the varied and complex nature of woman.

This found its footing in the prints by artist Christophe Chemin, which went from depicting what you might call A Room of One’s Own to surreal mountainous landscapes dotted with female figures. Then, the little objects in the collection – tiny diaries and charms – both decorated and commented on the way women themselves are often reduced to decoration (and made you wonder what secrets the models might have been scrawling in the gilded books). Corsets, a torturous symbol of constraint employed to force the female body into unnatural and yet desired silhouettes, were tied loosely over the top of tweedy jackets; trousers were not on the menu. Keys were worn on thick metal rings around the neck – a paradoxical, slightly kinky visual of both knowledge and imprisonment. Still, perhaps more than anything, this collection felt like a statement of strength in the feminine – these women were weather-beaten but proud, adorned with rose details which looked pretty, but came carved from steel. Backstage, Prada said succinctly that women simply have more facets than men. After all, they have to be mothers, lovers, workers, daughters and sisters – perhaps most importantly, they are supposed to be beautiful. The expectations of

Still, perhaps more than anything, this collection felt like a statement of strength in the feminine – these women were weather-beaten but proud, adorned with rose details which looked pretty, but came carved from steel. Backstage, Prada said succinctly that women simply have more facets than men. After all, they have to be mothers, lovers, workers, daughters and sisters – perhaps most importantly, they are supposed to be beautiful. The expectations of woman. Is there a more ‘Prada’ topic for a collection than that?

People and Politics at Prada – February 26, 2016

By Tim Blanks

In a tour de force, Miuccia Prada offered her own vision of a polarised world: the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor — reflecting the huge upheaval in the air in fashion, a mirror of the wider world.

MILAN, Italy — For all that it was a triumphant return to form, Miuccia Prada’s menswear show in January turned out to be a mere appetiser for the deeper, richer women’s collection she showed tonight.‎ That was partly a reflection of her own feelings: « A woman is so much more complex than a man. She has to be a mother, a lover, a worker, a beauty… » But it was the way the clothes mirrored those multi-facets — and the emotional states that accompany them — that made the show a tour de force.

Longtime collaborator Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack of female singers ran a full drenching gamut, from the fierceness of PJ Harvey, to the pain of Piaf to the chill anomie of Nico, by way of sterling accompaniment. Tears flowed backstage.

Her men were mariners, drifters. People on the move dominate the news. Prada’s women were also wanderers, stateless, “vagabonds” she called them, roaming across different times and places, with their clothing functioning as a record of their journey.

Some had tiny, padlocked books slung round their necks like pendants. Travel diaries, perhaps? “A little bit of culture,” countered Miuccia. “Secrets, symbols.” Always playing the provocateuse, she claimed she herself had never written one single word in her entire life, but it was intriguing how words were used in this collection. There were six, each of them a month in the Republican Calendar introduced during the French Revolution.

Why? Because huge upheaval is in the air in fashion, and — because fashion is a mirror of the wider world — everywhere else too. What are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, after all, but a rejection of America’s political orthodoxy? By some lights, that amounts to revolution.

On her catwalk, Mrs P. offered her own vision of a polarised world: the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor. A fur cape was duplicated seconds later in utilitarian cotton canvas. What looked like a surgical corset gripped a perfectly tailored coat. A brocade shirt was paired with a postcard skirt. Glimpses of Prada’s past were casually insinuated into the line-up, underscoring the idea that time and place are fluid.

Admittedly, a stylist’s hand could be detected in some of the more collaged looks, the combinations of high and low, but there were more than enough individual items that were rich with reference. When Mrs P. came across Berlin-based French artist Christophe Chemin, he’d coincidentally been working on a collage of the history of women. He was responsible for the paintings in a dozen styles — echoing Renaissance masters, Pop icons, movie poster art — that added an absorbing visual texture.

What I wrote after her men’s collection still stands, maybe more acutely than before. So why not just run it by you one more time? “Mrs Prada has always been a political animal, but her politics have rarely been obvious in her work (or should we call it her art?). Her faith in fashion is, however, something quite distinct. Watching her latest collection, one thought irresistibly asserted itself: clothes make memories, memories make history.”

Erotic listening with Frédéric Sanchez, 18 février 2016


The renowned illustrateur sonore presents a party playlist inspired by the secret sex ceremonies of Catherine Robbe-Grillet

Text Olivia Singer

There are few occasions as charged with secrecy as the Sadean ceremonies orchestrated by 85-year-old dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet. From her Normandy château, she directs her disciples in complex interplays of sexual power; rituals designed to liberate one’s most transgressive fantasies from the confines of the imagination and make them real. The widow of esteemed writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet, there is something determinedly artistic about Catherine’s own practice: it exists outside financial exchange (she feels payment would refigure the power dynamic) and her most extreme theatrics are available to only a few acolytes. Hers is a vocation, not a profession.

“I think that the aesthetic of these ceremonies has something very cultural, very sophisticated about it,” explains renowned illustrateur sonore Frédéric Sanchez, who has designed this issue’s soundtrack in homage to these erotic occasions, inspired by Lina Mannheimer’s documentary on Catherine Robbe-Grillet’s life, The Ceremony. “To look so deeply inside yourself, inside your fantasies, is something I find very interesting. There’s something artistic about it, in a way. Something pure.”

This sadomasochistic aesthetic – of almost overwrought intensity and the complete sacrifice of power – is reflected throughout Sanchez’s selection of tracks. “It is not a sensitive sentiment,” he says. “It is over the top, but there is something poetic within it.” Opening with the fragments of the Divine Liturgy that are incorporated within Jocelyn Pook’s Masked Ball, we are invited into a sacred world of almost spiritual purity, taken through the furious aggression of Mayhem’s black metal and into the orgasmic intensity of KTL before the relief of Elysian Fields. It is a journey that mirrors the frenzied passions of the ceremonies themselves; a narrative exploration of human desire and devotion.

1. MASKED BALL (1999 Extended Mix), by Jocelyn Pook, from Flood
2. ARRIVAL OF THE TRAINER, by Stephen O’Malley, from Eternelle Idole
3. OPENING SCENE: “MEGÉRKEZTÜNK”, by Béla Bartók, from Bluebeard’s Castle
4. ILLUMINATE ELIMINATE, by Mayhem, from Ordo Ad Chao
5. THE CENTRE OF YOUR HEART, by Swans, from Children of God/World of Skin
6. QUIERO IRME, by Mecanica Popular, from ¿Qué Sucede Con El Tiempo?
7. AENIGMA MESSIAH, by Violet Poison, from Aenigma Messiah
8. SWEET SURPRISE, by Chris ‘n’ Cosey, from Sweet Surprise
9. SILVER SAND AND BOXES OF MOULD, by Helena Hauff, from Discreet Desires
10. LE VALSE DE MARIENBAD, by Francis Seyrig, from L’Année Dernière à Marienbad
11. WICKED WAY, by KTL, from KTL IV
12. LA SVEGLIA, by Alessandro Cortini, from Risveglio
13. LES ODALISQUES, by Tuxedomoon, from The Ghost Sonata
14. MVT IV: ADRIFT, by Bérangère Maximin, from Infinitesimal
15. LES AMOURS PERDUES, by Elysian Fields, from Sombre

févr. 182016

The Gentlewoman n° 13, Spring Summer 2016.

The Show

On 19 October 1989, Martin Margiela staged a radical presentation for Spring / Summer 1990 that broke from the conventional 1980s fashion show and established a bold new aesthetic for a new decade. And did Margiela know how to put on a show! Although we may never know what the man thought about it himself — his legendary refusal to be interviewed prevents that — here the show’s architects, contributors and eyewitnesses tell the story of this singular moment in the annals of fashion history. Text by Richard O’Mahony, photography by Jean-Claude Coutausse.
The Speakers
Pierre Rougier, publicist
Jenny Meirens, co-founder, Maison Martin Margiela
Inge Grognard, make-up artist
Kristina de Coninck, model
Ward Stegerhoek, hairstylist
Frédéric Sanchez, music director
Roger Tredre, journalist
Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion designer
Geert Bruloot, retailer
Linda Loppa, professor
Raf Simons, fashion designer
Nathalie Dufour, founder, ANDAM fashion award
Suzy Menkes, fashion editor
Laurence Benaïm, fashion editor
The Build-up

Pierre Rougier, press agent, Maison Martin Margiela, 1989–1992: I’d just started out on my own in 1988, and I met Martin and Jenny when I was trying to get some people to sign with me. I met Jenny first, and she asked me to meet Martin. A few days later they called and said, “We really like you but we’re not going to need a press office. If you want a job, you can come and work with us.” So I did, and, I mean, it was a very small set-up. I think it was Martin, Jenny, maybe Nina Nitsche 1. Everybody was doing a little bit of everything.

Jenny Meirens, co-founder, Maison Martin Margiela: Only three of us! People had been helping when needed, but it was an extremely small company.

Pierre Rougier: After the Autumn / Winter 1989 show in March, Martin wanted a location for a magazine shoot. An actress friend of mine directed me towards this derelict area in Paris’s 20th arrondissement. She’d done a shoot there and thought it might work for ours.

Jenny Meirens: We usually looked for places that people wouldn’t have ordinarily used. Pierre asked me if we would be interested in this wasteland, and we thought, “Why not?”

Pierre Rougier: It was a North African neighbourhood on the outskirts of Paris. Martin, Jenny and I walked around the area; then they went off together to discuss things. They would always have these types of conversations in Flemish. I didn’t speak the language, so they’d go off and have their little powwow in Flemish.

Jenny Meirens: There was never anything secretive. We spoke Flemish because it was easier for us. To be honest, it was more for me — Martin wanted us to speak in French, but I thought that was ridiculous, because we’re from the same country.

Pierre Rougier: They came back and said, “We want to do a show here.” I thought it was crazy. They were like, “No, no, we’re going to do a show here,” and that was that. If Martin and Jenny wanted to do something, then it was going to happen one way or another.

1
Nina Nitsche was Martin Margiela’s design assistant for 19 years.
Jenny Meirens: The only thing Martin and I thought might be a problem was the weather. There was no protection.

Pierre Rougier: The other major issue was that it was a playground. It was pretty derelict, but an association that looked after the local kids used it. There were rules and regulations that didn’t allow them to accept money for use of the area. So Jenny and Martin had the idea that we’d take the kids on a day trip to the countryside, where various activities would be laid on for them. It was important to Martin and Jenny that we were respectful of the fact that this was the kids’ space and they were lending it to us for a few days.

Jenny Meirens: We wanted the children to stay around the area. Pierre suggested that we ask them to make the invitation.

“I always thought fashion was a bit superficial, but this show changed everything for me.” — Raf Simons
Pierre Rougier: Martin hated pretty printed invitations with calligraphy. Since we were staging the show on a kids’ playground, we thought it would be an idea to have the invitations drawn by kids, so it was like they were inviting you to their place. The next thing, then, was where do we find 500 kids to draw all these invitations? So we cut rectangular pieces of cardboard, gave them to the local schools, and in their art classes they were given the theme of a fashion show, and they drew their interpretations.

Jenny Meirens: The locals were very receptive and enthusiastic.

Pierre Rougier: And then we had to build the tents for backstage. That was another nightmare!

Jenny Meirens: I remember Pierre was very stressed, but Martin was always calm in preparing for a show. We were based on rue Réaumur in the 3rd then, and on one side of the studio all the outfits were being prepared, there were castings, people deciding on the make-up; and on the other side we were organising meetings with commercial clients.

Inge Grognard, make-up artist for Maison Martin Margiela, 1988–2010: I had known Martin since we were fashion-crazed teenagers growing up in Belgium and worked with him from the very beginning, so we had a well-established working pattern by this point. I was based in Antwerp. So a few weeks before a show Martin would phone and say, “OK, this is the collection,” and we’d talk about the ideas behind it, the feelings, the colours. And then I’d give my input. I’d also travel to Paris because I was involved in casting the models too.

Kristina de Coninck, model for Maison Martin Margiela, 1989–2005: Martin had seen some pictures I’d shot with the photographer Ronald Stoops and Inge for BAM magazine. Apparently, Martin said, “Who’s this woman? I want her for my show.” I met him in Brussels in ’89, and that March I walked in his second show, which was for Autumn / Winter. The fittings for the show were such an enjoyable experience. Martin always asked the models’ opinion on the clothes he selected for us — he wanted to make sure we felt good in them. For this show, he instructed us not to cut our hair.

Ward Stegerhoek, hairstylist for Maison Martin Margiela, 1988–1989: Hair in the late 1980s was very proper: chignons; big, bouncy curls and waves — that sort of Claudia Schiffer look. Martin said for this show it should look like anything but a hairstyle. He never really told us what he wanted, just what he didn’t want. He liked it when it looked as if the women could have put it together themselves.

Frédéric Sanchez, music director for Maison Martin Margiela, 1988–1998: This was my third show for Martin Margiela. Martin and I started work on it about two months beforehand. We’d talk about the live recordings of bands like the Velvet Underground or the Rolling Stones from the ’60s — the crowd’s screaming in the background, and the music’s cutting in and out. We were also listening to experimental artists like Meredith Monk and Annette Peacock and obscure tracks from Factory Records. Martin was very into Bowie, too — I think the video for “Life on Mars” was a big influence on the make-up for this show. The idea was to cut all the tracks short abruptly, chop them up the way Warhol cut his movies, mess with the levels to make them sound distorted or dirty, then put it all together like a collage. It was about evoking a feeling to create something poetic. When I was told the show’s location, I just thought it was very Martin. We did the first one in an old theatre, the second in a nightclub, so it was continuing this idea of using public spaces and the most lively parts of the city to present a bourgeois thing like fashion.

The Buzz

Roger Tredre, fashion correspondent, The Independent, 1989–1993: The Spring / Summer 1990 season was actually my first experience of fashion shows. I’d been sent to cover the collections because Sarah Mower, the fashion editor of The Independent at the time, was pregnant. Before that, I’d been working in Brussels on an English-language publication called The Bulletin, so I was very much aware of the Antwerp Six 2 fashion phenomenon. I think I did one of the first interviews with two of them, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee. There was confusion that Margiela was one of the six, which he wasn’t — he’d actually graduated a few years before them and had been working for a Belgian coat manufacturer, Bartsons, then worked in Italy, and then with Jean Paul Gaultier. As the Antwerp Six’s profile grew through the Golden Spindle 3 awards and following their presentation at Olympia during London Fashion Week in 1986, there was talk about this other guy who’d studied at the Royal Academy, who worked for Gaultier, and who was just as good as, if not better than the Antwerp Six.

2
The group of fashion students who graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1980 and 1981 (Ann Demeulemeester, Marina Yee, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dries Van Noten and Walter Van Beirendonck) was allegedly given the title by the British fashion press, who were unable to pronounce their names correctly.
3
Belgium’s once-thriving textile industry was foundering by the 1980s. Its government created the Golden Spindle prize in 1982 to promote new Belgian designers and textile manufacturers as part of a wider regeneration initiative
Pierre Rougier: This was the height of Jean Paul Gaultier’s fame, and M. Gaultier was very supportive of Martin and very vocal about how he considered him to be the best designer of his generation. A lot of the interest from journalists and fashion editors came because of Gaultier’s support.

Jean Paul Gaultier, fashion designer: He was my best assistant. When after a few years he wanted to leave and start his own collection, I could only be happy for him and wish him good luck. From Martin’s first show I saw immediately that he had his own voice and his own way.

Geert Bruloot, co-owner of Louis and Coccodrillo stores, Antwerp: We were one of the first boutiques to stock Martin Margiela. I think Linda Loppa was stocking him, too. Initially, it was just a shoe line. Martin came into Coccodrillo — the shoe store my partner, Eddy Michiels, and I opened in 1984 — a few months after we opened and presented his collection. Mainly shoes for women, and a lady’s shoe based on a bishop shoe.

Linda Loppa, owner of Loppa boutique, Antwerp, 1978–1991; head of fashion, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, 1981–2006: It was like a traditional man’s shoe, but made on feminine lasts. The heel looked chunky when viewed from the side but narrow from the back. The insole was higher. That’s what made you taller. Already some of the classic Margiela tropes were there. They sold well.

Geert Bruloot: He stopped the line when he went to work for Gaultier. But we stayed in touch. Fashion then was bold colours, wide shoulders; everything was extravagant, very stylised — Montana, Mugler, Lacroix, Versace. Martin came along with ripped sleeves, frayed hems, clumpy shoes — we were still talking about stilettos! After seeing Martin’s first show in 1988 I didn’t know what to think. We watched it open-mouthed. It was like I had to erase what I thought and knew about fashion. There were production problems so the first collection was never made, and it wasn’t until the second collection that we actually had clothes to sell. They didn’t do very well at the beginning. But when it did start selling, it sold really well.

Raf Simons, fashion designer: There was so much buzz about Antwerp then. I was in my fourth year studying industrial design in Genk and had to go on work placement — I knew immediately that I wanted to do it in Antwerp. I ended up interning with Walter Van Beirendonck. It was such a fascinating period in Belgium. There were so many things going on — the Antwerp Six; Belgian New Beat 4 was taking off and bringing a new sound and dress code with it; and then there was Margiela. From the moment he did his first show in Paris, he was the one. Everyone was obsessed with Martin.

Nathalie Dufour, founder, ANDAM fashion prize: Martin Margiela was awarded the inaugural ANDAM prize in June 1989. I’d seen his first two shows in Paris and then invited him to present to our committee, which included Pierre Bergé. I remember Martin telling me that the recognition of M. Bergé, and his link with Yves Saint Laurent, was very important to him — Martin loved the work of Yves Saint Laurent. He had to provide a description of his next collection, how his company was organised, a press file and such. At that time the prize money wasn’t very much but it would go towards the production of the next collection and show. We weren’t entirely sure it would work, but we felt something was happening and didn’t want to miss it.

4
New Beat originated in Belgium during the late 1980s. Characterised by a sludgy, heavy dance sound pitched at 115bpm, it also incorporated elements of Chicago house music. Clubs such as Ancienne Belgique in Brussels and Boccaccio in Ghent were at the centre of the New Beat scene.
Pierre Rougier: There were a few influential people who got what Martin was doing and were incredibly supportive. Melka Tréanton from Elle — the grande dame of French fashion, who helped to make the careers of Mugler, Montana and Gaultier — she loved Martin. i-D and The Face in London were also supportive; Annie Flanders and Ronnie Cooke at Details in New York too. It was so different from everything else going on at that time, and people were trying to put a name to it.

Suzy Menkes, fashion editor, International Herald Tribune, 1988–2014: With half those Belgian designers it was a struggle just to find out how to spell their names! It was the end of the great explosion of extravagance of the 1980s when couture shows had become incredibly elaborate. The Belgian designers, along with the Japanese — Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto — were very much counterculture to the big Paris houses.

The Day

Pierre Rougier: We finally made it to the day of the show. It was like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we’re making it happen!” But, of course, we didn’t have enough power, and we had to go around the neighbourhood knocking on doors asking to run cables and cords from the locals’ houses so that we could plug in the hairdryers, lighting and all that. It was fucking crazy, though it didn’t seem so at the time.

Inge Grognard: I had a small team of assistants. It’s not like now, where there’s 20 or 30. I didn’t have a big make-up room, just little places where we could put one or two assistants in with two models. There were so many models! And the spaces were really dark. It was chaotic.

Jenny Meirens: Backstage really was a mess. The children had been hanging out there all day, eating the food. But it was a very cheery and relaxed atmosphere.

Ward Stegerhoek: We did try to keep them out at first. In the end, we just gave up. The backstage area was this concrete, dusty space, which was a little cold, so we had some heaters in there. And a few plastic fold-up tables and some cheap chairs. We had music like Alice Bag playing quite loud to get everyone in this punky mood. There was a little red wine too.

Inge Grognard: I’d been thinking about when you have those little accidents when doing make-up, like when you pull a sweater over your head and it smears mascara across your eyelids. We put everything on a contrasting white base. The clothes had a lot of white and plastic involved, so we mixed in some roughness with the mascara. We liked it when it wasn’t totally perfect or finished.

Ward Stegerhoek: We used lots of hairspray to get the hair all matted and stiff, then started pinning it up and ended up with this rough texture.

Kristina de Coninck: Martin took one look at my wig — they used hairpieces on the models with shorter hair — and said, “It’s not wild enough.” So he took the hairpiece and ran it along the dusty ground.

Ward Stegerhoek: Martin was quite hands-on before the show, pulling at the straps on the clothes, adjusting the shoulder, fixing the hair before they went on the runway.

The Hour

Pierre Rougier: The idea that staging a show so far out of town might be an inconvenience never entered our minds.

Roger Tredre: I knew Paris well, and the location looked like a typical Paris street with terraced houses but with this space that looked like it might have been bombed in the war. The whole place was floodlit, with lots of people milling around.

Linda Loppa: There was a group of us from Antwerp — boutique owners, fashion students from the academy. We were like Margiela groupies! I should set the record straight, though: Martin was never a student of mine. But we did know each other from the Antwerp scene. Mary Prijot 5 was the head of the academy when he attended. Anyway, we weren’t surprised by the neighbourhood. Us Belgians were quite used to the rougher lifestyle — Antwerp wasn’t so luxurious and elegant then. I mean, sometimes the Royal Academy didn’t even have electricity. When we arrived in the 20th there was a bit of confusion about the precise venue — I’m not sure I even had an invitation. Of course, later on Martin’s invitations became highly collectible. So we just followed the other Belgians we recognised from their clothes — “Follow that one in black; that must be the way!” There was a cafe on the corner of a street nearby, and we gathered there drinking, talking. It was like a party.

5
Mary Prijot established the prestigious fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1963. Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela all studied under her tutelage.
Pierre Rougier: We never anticipated that all these people would turn up. Martin never let us hector people into coming. The attitude was, you can turn up, but if you don’t, that’s fine too. We were totally unprepared for the number that did.

Geert Bruloot: The narrow streets were filled with African people, Indian people, children, fashion editors, press and buyers. Martin and Jenny invited people from the neighbourhood too. They were a big part of the event.

Roger Tredre: There was no sense of trepidation. Maybe for someone like Suzy, chauffeur-driven, it was a bit strange. I recall being struck by the incongruity of these ladies in fur coats stepping over rough ground and slumming it a bit. It was quite amusing.

Suzy Menkes: I’m pretty certain I was taking the Métro in those days. I didn’t think we were going to the ends of the earth for this show, or that anything unpleasant might happen to us out in the 20th. Absolutely not.

Roger Tredre: It wasn’t clear where we were supposed to sit — were there even seats? Where were the models coming from? There were some children around, and locals began gathering to see what was happening.

The Scrum

Pierre Rougier: There was no seating plan. It was first come, first served. This was always the case; there was never a guest list like at other shows. But as all these people kept showing up, it became overwhelming.

Jenny Meirens: People were pushing and shouting that they weren’t being treated particularly well, didn’t have a seat… blah, blah. It was terrible. We didn’t have the budget for VIP treatment.

Geert Bruloot: Jenny was almost standing on the wall, shouting and directing people. It was quite hysterical.

Pierre Rougier: People were scaling the walls of the site to get in!

Raf Simons: I ended up gatecrashing with Walter Van Beirendonck, who was holding a presentation in Paris. Martin’s was the first fashion show I ever attended. I had the perception of them as big productions and quite glamorous — here, there wasn’t even a floor! It was like a trashy backyard.

Pierre Rougier: By the time the show started, we didn’t know who was an editor or who was a neighbour. We were like, “Let all the kids sit down!” and they did so along the runway, otherwise they wouldn’t have seen anything. They were so excited, screeching and laughing.

Roger Tredre: And then at some point the show just started.

17 Minutes

Frédéric Sanchez: There was a drumbeat on a loop from a live recording of the Buzzcocks that sounded very raw. I also had this recording of people playing music on the streets of different cities around the world — a tramp using some boxes as percussion and singing “Strangers in the Night”. I think “Roadrunner” by the Sex Pistols was in there too. There were concerns about rain in the lead-up to the show, so I used this moment from Woodstock where the audience are chanting, “No rain! No rain!” There were probably 20 tracks used on the soundtrack, cut, repeated — using 10 seconds of one, 20 of another, mashed up together.

Raf Simons: As soon as the models started to come out, you knew something special was going to happen. They looked so angelic and alien.

Roger Tredre: They didn’t move like regular models. They stumbled because they were picking their way across uneven ground.

Ward Stegerhoek: Martin didn’t want the models to walk like professional ones, with their hips swaying and all that, and he’d spend quite some time with the professional ones before a show, instructing them. He wanted them to walk more like boys.

Kristina de Coninck: Martin just wanted us to be ourselves.

Geert Bruloot: There was a lot of black and white around the eyes, and these dark lips. The clothes were a continuation of the ideas expressed in the previous two seasons — the elongated sleeves; the narrow, rolled piqué shoulders; wide, tailored trousers; frayed and unfinished seams and hems. They even reused the exact same Tabi boots 6 that had been used in the Autumn / Winter 1989 show. But then there was this burst of volume from the waist, with canvas coats and skirts belted around it, worn over wide canvas trousers, and large canvas bags worn like panniers. It had a bit of a Victorian look to it.

6
The Tabi boot is Margiela’s interpretation of the split Japanese tabi sock, which separates the big toe from the others and is worn with traditional thonged footwear.
Linda Loppa: The colours were mostly white and nude and looked so fresh in the midst of the graffitied and dilapidated surroundings. Tops were made from Franprix 7 plastic carrier bags — you know the French supermarket? I thought, Why a carrier bag? There were tops made from papier mâché, with metal breastplates… some models had bare breasts.

7
Franprix is a French grocery chain founded in 1958 by Jean Baud. It has 860 outlets throughout the country.
Kristina de Coninck: I was wearing a little white cotton vest top, a wide skirt, and underneath were large canvas saddlebags on either hip to create a hoop skirt. Each of the models wore the number 90 in some way — either sewn on to a piece of paper, stitched into the garment, drawn with a marker on the heel of a boot…

Suzy Menkes: It was a strange kind of bleak fairyland. The light cast an iridescent sheen on these plastic covers, and yet at the same time they were so banal — dry-cleaning bags.

Linda Loppa: The dry-cleaning bags were transformed into tailored coats, jackets, tunics and dresses, belted with ribbons, straps and metal fasteners. These were worn on top of oversized sheer slips with elegant drapery and pleating that looked quite disordered from a distance. But up close they were sublime. We loved it! I immediately bought one of those long canvas skirts.

“We always wanted to be free, to be spontaneous, and not respond to the impositions of the fashion world.” — Jenny Meirens
Suzy Menkes: The dresses were actually surprisingly pretty. They were very floaty, semi-sheer, chiffon, worn like a milkmaid’s but with no frills. They almost floated like a cloud on the body.

Jenny Meirens: There was never just one inspiration or precise idea in a Margiela collection. Martin would pull many different things together. Sometimes they would repeat over the different seasons.

Kristina de Coninck: The children couldn’t sit still. They were fascinated by what was happening. We would smile down at them as we walked by; they’d smile back. We were all laughing. And then at some point they joined in and paraded alongside the models.

Frédéric Sanchez: The music for the finale switched to classical music, harpsichord pieces by Rameau and Purcell.

Geert Bruloot: All the models and the backstage staff came out for the finale wearing the now-iconic blousons blanche atelier coats 8. The models had confetti in their pockets and threw it into the air.

8
The blouson blanche is a white work coat worn by the petites mains in the ateliers of haute couture houses. Margiela adopted it as a uniform for the company’s employees.
Jenny Meirens: One of the models’ boyfriends began to lift some of the children onto the models’ shoulders.

Raf Simons: I was so struck by everything I was seeing that I started to cry. I felt so embarrassed. I was like, Oh God, look at the ground, look at the ground, everyone’s going to see you’re crying — like, How stupid to be crying at a fashion show. Then I looked around, and half the audience was crying.

Geert Bruloot: It was all over in 17 minutes. We went backstage to see Martin and Jenny afterwards. It was in the days when Martin still stayed around after the show.

Pierre Rougier: Oh my God, it was such a happy, happy night. There was a huge sense of relief that we pulled it off. Martin was very happy.

Jenny Meirens: We felt very happy afterwards, enjoying the moment, drinking champagne from plastic cups.

Roger Tredre: I remember at the end thinking, This will be great copy!

The Reviews

Jenny Meirens: We were shocked that the press wasn’t very positive.

Pierre Rougier: Le Monde printed a scathing review.

Laurence Benaïm, fashion critic, Le Monde, 1986–2001: I thought it was like a parody of Comme des Garçons in the early 1980s. A little bit too postural. I don’t expect a fashion designer to give me a lesson about what life is or what it should be. The clothes were perfectly cut but I didn’t like the miserablist scenography. And I still hate drinking bad wine from cheap glasses!

Pierre Rougier: Libération was critical of how inappropriate it was to show designer fashion in a poor part of the city, saying it was exploitation of the neighbourhood and its residents. I read the article and thought, “Really? Is that what you got out of that show?”

Geert Bruloot: I think the industry loved it. We bought some pieces from it for Louis — the oversized slips with the plastic overlay, the canvas hip bags. For sure we bought the plastic hoods, as I still have one in my personal archive.

Roger Tredre: We trotted out of the 20th and felt we’d seen something that was special in ways we couldn’t immediately define. That a young designer staged his show in such an unusual location and a lot of high-powered fashion editors actually turned up made this show unique.

Suzy Menkes: I was definitely fascinated and intrigued, and I certainly thought it was something new.

Roger Tredre: Whether the choice of venue had anything to do with reflecting the disintegration of the Berlin Wall 9, as some publications alluded to, I’m not sure. But the timing…

9
Radical political change in East Germany in 1989 led to the removal of the blockade of West Germany on 9 November 1989. The wall’s official demolition didn’t begin until the summer of 1990 and wasn’t completed until 1992.
Jenny Meirens: Oh, no, no, no. That wasn’t in our minds at all. Honestly, I think that people perceive it differently than we meant it. It’s less heavy than people think.

The photojournalist Jean-Claude Coutausse shot these images for Libération, the French daily newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge July. The accompanying article, headlined “La mode il y a des endroits pour ça”, was highly critical of the show.

The Legacy

Pierre Rougier: Well, it definitely ignited the cult of Margiela. The subsequent shows were just as weird, complicated and stressful to pull off. The sense that we had to outdo the last show with the next was never discussed. I’m sure Martin probably felt it, but he never said if he did.

Jean Paul Gaultier: I think that his way of staging shows and keeping out of the public eye was a reaction to what he’d seen while working for me. I was part of the first generation of designers to be mediatised, and I think that Martin wanted the exact opposite.

Roger Tredre: Right from the beginning, his approach to fashion was in line with the very pressing issue of sustainability, the need to recycle and the urgency of rethinking the whole system. Where to do that? Anywhere but the heart of the system.

Suzy Menkes: He was the beginning of making over clothes, of using existing garments and transforming them into something else. He was very far ahead of this trend.

Linda Loppa: It also showed that you could create a beautiful collection and put on a spectacular show with very little money. You can make garments that are elegant but rough and instinctive. You can have your friends around you to help and support. Interesting models can be found on the street. A simple statement of intent: “Come on! Do it!”

Raf Simons: As a student I always thought that fashion was a bit superficial, all glitz and glamour, but this show changed everything for me. I walked out of it and I thought, That’s what I’m going to do. That show is the reason I became a fashion designer.

Jenny Meirens: We always wanted to be free, to be able to do what we wanted, to be spontaneous, to not respond to the impositions of the fashion world. We wanted to make a simple show, but for us this one was no more important than any other.

févr. 022016

The Business of Fashion – 1er février 2016

Severity and Lushness
No longer couture’s best-kept secret, Bouchra Jarrar is still flying too far under the radar.

By Tim Blanks.

PARIS, France — Bouchra Jarrar compared her show to creating a world, with everything counting in equal amounts to make the mood. The soundtrack, for instance, Jarrar herself reading Marcel Proust over a sound tapestry by Frederic Sanchez that throbbed with the bass line from Bowie’s Subterraneans and hints of Prince. “Just as important as the collection,” the designer insisted. It certainly offered striking amplification.
Maybe there was something of Prince in a little gold waistcoat over a lace jabot, or the gold-buttoned, gold-braided drummer boy jacket (like Manet’s famous Fifer). Perhaps the Purple One even contributed a little to the ambisextrous nature of the collection. But Jarrar has always walked a tantalising razor’s edge between severity and lushness. You could read that as masculine and feminine if you so desired. This was her most glamorous expression of the duality to date. The tailoring was as acute as ever, but the textures were amped all the way up, with the dull glimmer of gold jacquardwrapped in shaggiest badger, coyote and curly lamb and a redingote shaped from a mass of feathers.
There was a mutter of paganism in the couture shows, with Schiaparelli’s harvest maidens and Valentino’s high priestesses. Jarrar’s take was intriguing, matching the shaggy wantonness to the precision of Napoleonic peacoats, jackets and gold-piped navy trousers. Duality again. It was more disciplined but just as convincing in an oversized coat in silver-shot houndstooth paired with an elegant column of creamy silk velvet. Now that was Proustian, truly the stuff of memories.

Libération – 26 Janvier 2016

Sons sur Mesure
Par Sabrina Champenois

La créatrice Bouchra Jarrar présente ce mardi sa nouvelle collection, sur une musique conçue par Frédéric Sanchez. Le duo décrypte une collaboration fondée sur la complicité.

Bouchra Jarrar et Frédéric Sanchez travaillent ensemble depuis cinq ans. Elle, roseau perfectionniste à la précision du geste et la sobriété notoires, tient depuis 2010 les rênes de sa propre maison de couture, après avoir travaillé auprès de Nicolas Ghesquière chez Balanciaga, puis chez Christian Lacroix. Elle présente sa collection haute couture printemps-été ce mardi à Paris. Lui, grand calme à rire homérique, est entré en piste en 1988, par un coup d’essai-coup de maître : la bande-son du premier défilé de Martin Margiela. Autodidacte passionné par la musique depuis l’enfance, il fait désormais partie du club très sélect des «designers de sons» de référence, ceux dont le travail contribue à l’intention d’un créateur plus qu’il ne l’illustre, et participe à son écho. A son actif, entre autres, des collaborations avec Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo, Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Jean Paul Gaultier, Martine Sitbon, Helmut Lang…

Ce jour de début janvier où on les rencontre, Bouchra Jarrar est en pull anthracite sur pantalon et mocassins noirs. Frédéric Sanchez, en col roulé noir sur pantalon gris et bottines noires. Cette harmonie symétrique résulte-t-elle d’une consultation ? On opte plutôt pour l’heureuse coïncidence, leur communauté d’esprit étant telle que leurs enveloppes suivent.

Désolée pour ce retard, il y avait ce «colis suspect», dans le métro… Suivez-vous l’actualité ?
Frédéric Sanchez : Ça fait partie des choses dont on parle, avec Bouchra. Notre conversation se nourrit de tout, en continu.

Bouchra Jarrar : Absolument. On écoute tous les deux beaucoup la radio, on se reconnaît dans des choses, ça alimente cet échange. Par exemple, au moment des attentats de novembre, j’ai personnellement eu beaucoup de mal à revenir à la création de vêtements, je ne me suis jamais sentie aussi petite, tant le problème de l’humanité et des civilisations est au cœur de ce qu’on est. Maintenant, ça va, j’ai retrouvé la conviction que réfléchir, créer de la beauté, est nécessaire, aujourd’hui plus que jamais. C’est comme si les choses prenaient encore plus de sens. Et la création, c’est une réelle échappatoire, une respiration.

F.S. : Dans le même temps, notre travail fonctionne en interaction avec l’extérieur.

Le contexte actuel, tendu, peut-il s’avérer paradoxalement stimulant ?
B.J. : Quelque part, oui. Ça fait avancer ce que l’on fait et ce que l’on est.

F.S. : Oui, on est un peu des combattants ! Moi, par exemple, ça ne me fait pas peur, ce qui se passe actuellement, je ne vais pas partir sur une île déserte… Au contraire, même. Là, ça fait plusieurs années que je vis entre Paris et la Normandie, et j’ai presque envie de revenir complètement à Paris, parce que j’ai envie de faire beaucoup de choses ici. Tout d’un coup, je me rends compte qu’il ne faut pas lâcher. Il ne s’agit pas de militer mais de participer, de ne pas être dans une bulle, d’être conscient.

BJ. : Etre conscient qu’on est des faiseurs, des fabricants. C’est ce que disait l’autre jour à la radio Raphaël Glucksmann, à propos du projet de loi sur la déchéance de la nationalité : «Avec une telle loi, on toucherait profondément à ce que l’on est. Il ne faut pas. Il faut faire.»

F.S. : Sachant que Bouchra et moi sommes des enfants d’immigrés, à des époques et pour des motifs différents.

La mode fait partie de la frivolité dénoncée par les extrémistes religieux…
B.J. : En vue des prochains défilés, la Fédération [de la couture du prêt-à-porter des couturiers et des créateurs de mode, ndlr] a envoyé des mails qui stipulaient la nécessité d’avoir des vigiles à l’entrée des défilés. On va bien sûr le faire.

F.S. : Comme c’est le cas pour les spectacles. Depuis le 13 Novembre, il faut vivre avec ça, sans pour autant se terrer chez soi. Ce qui m’inquiète plus, c’est ce que ce climat pourrait nous mener à faire, se censurer notamment.

Votre échange est très fluide, l’un poursuit la phrase de l’autre…
F.S. : C’est une histoire qui a commencé il y a cinq ans. Bouchra a voulu me rencontrer, et ce jour-là, je crois qu’elle a prononcé le mot «révolution». Ça a fait tilt, j’ai pensé à la chanson de Brigitte Fontaine, où elle ne cesse de le dire, où elle dit des slogans de Mai 68 sur de la musique classique.

B.J. : C’était à la fois sérieux et amusant, on a commencé à se raconter des histoires, à se connaître. Avec Frédéric, j’ai le sentiment de ne jamais être dans l’effort.

F.S. : Le travail avec Bouchra prolonge celui que je fais avec d’autres gens. Je ne travaille d’ailleurs pas avec des marques, mes dialogues sont toujours très personnels : je procède avec un créateur de mode comme je le ferais avec un metteur en scène ou un autre artiste. C’est à chaque fois une discussion pérenne, qui dure. Avec Bouchra, on a commencé par Brigitte Fontaine, on a enchaîné avec Christophe, Holy Motors de Leos Carax, ça a été nos bases. A partir de là, on est partis dans quelque chose d’extrêmement personnel, on a commencé par mélanger des choses, Iggy Pop, Barbara, Francis Lai… On est passés de la révolution à l’évolution.

Comment collaborez-vous, concrètement ?
B.J. : Frédéric, désormais, c’est quelqu’un à qui je pense quand je travaille, il m’inspire. On ne se parle pas forcément tous les jours mais il y a des connexions, comme lorsqu’on a pensé en même temps à Agnès Varda, qu’on avait entendue chez Pascale Clark, sur France Inter.

F.S. : J’ai alors ressorti le film Jane B. par Agnès V. ; à la même époque, Jane Birkin jouait la Fausse Suivante aux Amandiers, ça a mené à Mozart… Ce sont des tiroirs qu’on ouvre, ça crée une arborescence.

B.J. : On ne fonctionne jamais directement par thèmes, d’après les vêtements. Je lui parle plutôt d’émotions et de sensations.

Ça suppose, pour vous Frédéric, d’être une sorte d’éponge ?
F.S. : Ah oui, super-éponge. Ça prend surtout du temps, ce qui est un peu anachronique avec l’époque dans laquelle on vit. C’est sensoriel, c’est comme mélanger des parfums… Très mental, en fait.

B.J. : On en est très conscients : on veut créer ça, un espace, un moment.

F.S. : Et il faut que ça se combine avec le lieu où se passe le défilé.

Les défilés Bouchra Jarrar sont comme des parenthèses, loin de toute hystérie…
B.J. : On crée un écrin, et on essaie de créer un bon et beau moment. La mode, ce n’est pas que du stress. C’est une proposition.

Sachant qu’un défilé dure en moyenne sept minutes…
F.S. : Quand j’ai commencé, un défilé durait en moyenne quarante minutes et ça pouvait aller jusqu’à une heure, avec 250 tenues, les mannequins qui arrivaient par quinze…

B.J. : Imagine quand la collection était moche…

F.S. : Quand on a commencé avec Martin Margiela, au Café de la Gare, on a fait tout de suite beaucoup plus court, concentré, avec une musique cohérente du début à la fin. C’était dans la lignée de ce qu’avaient proposé les créateurs japonais comme Rei Kawakubo.

Comment faites-vous avec les gens qui parlent peu, ou une autre langue ?
F.S. : Rei Kawakubo, par exemple, arrive juste avant le défilé et on ne parle pas la même langue. Du coup, elle me montre beaucoup les vêtements. Moi, j’ai beaucoup réfléchi le mois précédent à toutes les histoires qu’on pourrait raconter, et une journée avant le défilé, j’édite. Je travaille avec deux assistants, qui sont spécialement en charge de la partie technique, comme les droits, ou les recherches.

Votre dernière grande émotion sonore ?
F.S. : Moi, ce serait plutôt une sensation : en ce moment, j’ai une émotion étrange en voyant défiler la route très très rapidement, et plus je remonte vers le ciel, plus ça devient calme… Ça n’est pas un son à proprement parler mais ça m’évoque de faire des sons de l’ordre du rêve. En ce moment, je travaille beaucoup des sons au synthétiseur, qui deviennent des voix, des chœurs.

B.J. : En Normandie, Frédéric a un lieu fascinant, une boîte avec plein de machines, que je ne saurais même pas nommer, une usine à gaz hypercontrôlée, avec plein de fils connectés à des tas de trucs…

F.S. : Je travaille avec des synthétiseurs modulaires, des filtres, les logiciels de l’Ircam. Le son me passionne depuis l’âge de 6 ans, quand ma sœur a rapporté de Londres un disque, Abbey Road des Beatles, que je me suis mis à écouter comme un dingue. Surtout la face B, quasiment dénuée de blanc, donc c’est quasiment une histoire qui est racontée du début à la fin. Ensuite, j’ai toujours cherché ça : des musiques, des musiciens qui racontent des histoires. J’ai trouvé ça dans la musique progressive, Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Brian Eno, mais aussi dans la musique classique et l’opéra. Plus tard, je me suis demandé, pourquoi cette obsession du son, et du son qui permet d’être simultanément dans des espaces différents. Je me suis rendu compte que ça renvoyait à mon grand-père, qui ne pouvait pas rentrer en Espagne et qui écoutait beaucoup la radio espagnole. Ça lui permettait d’être à la fois ici et là-bas. Ce côté déterritorialisation mentale m’a beaucoup marqué.

B.J. : Pour moi, la musique est à la fois importante et inutile. Je peux passer des journées dans le silence, qui est ma musique naturelle. C’est un silence rempli, qui me berce. Dans le même temps, je suis une douce obsessionnelle et quand je suis amoureuse d’un son ou d’une musique, je vais l’écouter inlassablement, sans me fatiguer, pendant toute une période.

Par exemple, j’ai découvert Dominique A il y a six ans, je ne l’ai pas écouté pendant quatre ans, et il y a quelque temps, je l’ai réentendu à la radio avec un bonheur inouï. Du coup, je suis allée à la Fnac acheter ou racheter tous ses albums, et voilà : en ce moment, Dominique A me berce. Je suis aussi très sensible aux voix. Dernièrement, c’est celle de mon neveu qui m’a éblouie : il récitait un poème d’Artaud, de sa petite voix cassée, on aurait dit Gainsbourg jeune… A l’inverse, je ne supporte pas les voix aiguës, qui correspondent généralement à des gens aigus en tout, dans leur personnalité, leur allure, leur attitude.

F.S. : J’ai besoin d’écouter dans tout ce que je fais. Par exemple, si je nage, j’ai besoin d’entendre l’eau, je ne pourrais pas mettre des écouteurs.

B.J. : On parle très souvent de sons, avec Frédéric. Le battement du cœur, le bruit de la respiration, le souffle… La vie, quoi.

AnOther Mag – 19 Janvier 2016


Decoding the Military Precision of Jil Sander

Text Olivia Singer Photography Martina Ferrara

Jil Sander is a house renowned for austerity, for its stoic dedication to exacting minimalism and a spirit that verges on the brusque. During the noughties, Raf Simons’ tenure at the house saw it err slightly (and wonderfully) towards his own, subversive Belgian romance but, since it came back under Sanders’ own hand in 2012 – and now, that of her successor Rodolfo Paglialunga – the brand has determinedly returned to its Germanic origins. This season, Paglialunga chose to investigate a history of military dress, from medieval leatherwork simultaneously sinister and sexy, to jumpers with the bomber sleeves of 1930s aviation. It was a modern reworking of pieces designed to protect – a theme that we saw explored, albeit in a different spirit – at Craig Green, and one certainly analogous to Mrs Prada’s feeling « deeply serious and deeply human and trying to understand mankind’s difficulties » in her A/W16 collection. The world is currently undergoing a particularly confused period and, as Alexander Fury noted in his Prada show review, « it’s foolish to think fashion exists in an isolated cocoon, or an ivory tower. » Jil Sander’s offering showed just how true that is.

« Clothes have become so extravagant in the last few seasons, » explained Another Man’s fashion director Ellie Grace Cumming, who styled the show. « We were looking to create a wardrobe of clean, modern, Jil Sander staples for a man to wear, but also to be protected in, reflecting the uncertain climate not only in fashion but also in the larger world. » And, whether it was the cross-body straps that echoed bandoliers, the silhouette of a 1940s police coat transformed into a khaki cape, the black leather coats that looked something like a doctor’s uniform turned terrifying or the combination of it all, that sense of security was brilliantly present. « Jil Sander has such clear codes that it can almost become a uniform – and I suppose that’s why we looked at military, as a way of exploring that feeling, » continued Cumming – but not only was there a distinct atmosphere of militia, but equally there was sex. 

Frederic Sanchez’ imposing soundtrack of Coil, Broken English Club and Ministry was evocative of an industrial 80s nightclub – and the flushed young boys, fresh-faced and innocent with slightly tousled hair and pouting pink mouths were exactly the type one would hope to find there. Supple leather trousers were nothing if not S&M; the safety-pins adorning scarves similarly so. The tactility of the fabrics – the 80s Japanese tailoring nylon bonded to shiny, shiny leather, the plasticky pouffes that formed jumper sleeves, the jacquards printed with blown-up maps of an urban city – was breathtakingly desirable. It was a battalion of beautiful boys wearing the uniform of a modern man; as Cummings succinctly surmised, it was « the army within the city that you live in. » 

Business of Fashion – 18 janvier 2016

A Soaring Return to Form for Prada
Watching Miuccia Prada’s latest menswear collection, one thought irresistibly asserted itself: clothes make memories, memories make history.

MILAN, Italy — Prada menswear of late has been a little desultory. Rich in ideas maybe, but erring on the side of dreary in the actual delivery. All that changed tonight. Miuccia herself reeled off a litany of positives after her show: “Drama, passion, heroism, romanticism…” The new men’s collection had all that and more.

No Prada presentation ever wants for a complex, enthralling backstory. This one was particularly rich. The first looks instantly evoked sailors in their little hats, navy jackets, capes and peacoats. Waxed indigo denims looked like clothes for the working tar, and there were shapely officers’ coats for the men above deck. Fabulous shirt prints seemed to depict gods and monsters, the kind of mythic beings that sailors would spin yarns about when they returned from their travels. On closer examination, one tableau featured the likes of Pasolini, Che Guevara, Nina Simone and Sigmund Freud wrestling with classical figures. Each print was created by young French artist Christophe Chemin. His titles were part of the images (Che, Sigmund et al were named The Important Ones).

This blend of historical and contemporary was the collection’s cornerstone. Mrs P said the set was intended to evoke a town square, where people of all backgrounds could mingle. It also looked a little like a courtroom, which fitted with the invitation, designed as a ledger. In that inquisitional vein, by the time models appeared with detached collars and cuffs, I was perfectly happy to think of them as defrocked priests, or at least someone who’d lost their faith. Which, under the strangely romantic influence of the show and its haunting soundtrack, led to Arthur Rimbaud, which led to taking to the high seas to escape an impossible situation at home. From which, it was a short step to the current migrant crisis in Europe. And Mrs Prada was indeed talking about the challenges that confront our humanity in a much more direct way than she would usually, while maybe acknowledging the ineffectuality of fashion in any way other than to divert us.

All of this would simply be a huge red herring if it wasn’t for the fact that the clothes themselves were so winning. Historicism updated could spawn a very convincing cape in denim or tweed, or a Napoleonic smock with a botanical print (though it might just have been rotting fruit). There were those beautiful shirts, some wonderful elongated tailoring (the shearling collars again giving something Napoleonic, which would be the heroism that Mrs Prada spoke of). And there was womenswear, a sampling of the pre-Fall collection, with reconfigured sailors’ coats and long, lean dresses, some backless, all paired with diamond-patterned woollen tights, which suggested the girls waiting back home for the fleet to come in. On Frederic Sanchez’s soundtrack, Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue might have been singing « Where the Wild Roses Grow » especially for them.

Mrs Prada has always been a political animal, but her politics have rarely been obvious in her work (or should we call it her art?). Her faith in fashion is, however, something quite distinct. Watching her latest collection, one thought irresistibly asserted itself: clothes make memories, memories make history.

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Monclerc women fall winter 2014

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Miu Miu women fall winter 2014

COLOR-1

COLOR-16

janv. 282014

28/01/2014
ENCRE-28

noir

FILM SONORE 11 11’43

janv. 052014

05/01/2014
N

EXTERIUR-NUIT

ENCRE-2

JOUR

noir

FILM SONORE 10 10’07

nov. 252013

25/11/2013

ELECTRIC-color-real

ELECTRIC-black-ansd-white

ELECTRIC-black-ansd-white

FILM SONORE 9 8’14

noir

building-1-real

building-1-real

building-1-real

FILM SONORE 8 7’08

noir

Alexander Wang spring summer women 2014 explicit version

Alexander Wang spring summer women 2014 tame version

pink-narcissus-1

pink-narcissus-2

Narciso Rodriguez spring summer women 2014

TINA-AUMONT

Anna Sui spring summer women 2014

MUD-1

MUD-3

MUD-2

MUD-4

Calvin Klein spring summer women 2014

vlcsnap-2013-11-15-16h19m57s155

FIRE-REAL

FIRE-2

FIRE-3

Marc Jacobs spring summer women 2014

Mary Katranzou spring summer women 2014

COULEURS

Prada spring summer women 2014

Tod’s spring summer women 2014

Jil Sander spring summer women 2014

Damir Doma spring summer women 2014

Balenciaga spring summer women 2014

bobby-beausoleil-truman-capote

Ann Demeulemeester spring summer women 2014

Rabih Kayrouz spring summer women 2014

firework-firework

Giambattista Valli spring summer women 2014

Moncler spring summer women 2014

bubble

Miu Miu spring summer women 2014

juil. 182013

Schiaparelli fall winter haute couture 2013/ 2014

Bouchra Jarrar fall winter haute couture 2013/ 2014

Giambattista Valli fall winter haute couture 2013/ 2014

Ann Demeulemeester spring men 2014

Prada spring men 2014

Calvin Klein spring men 2014

Jil Sander spring men 2014

juil. 182013

18/07/2013

_mer-site

le-navire-night

MER-NOIRE

noir

FILM SONORE 7 6’40

juin 192013

19/06/2013

le-pont-

noir

FILM SONORE 6 15,28

juin 032013

03/06/2013

fleurs-étranges-copie

fleurs-étranges-gris

noir

FILM SONORE 5 10’43

mai 232013

23/05/2013

chrome 9 copie

FILM SONORE 4 4’21

mai 232013

23/05/2013

chrome 7 copie

FILM SONORE 3 7’40

mai 232013

23/05/2013

chrome 5 copie

FILM SONORE 2 6’29

mai 232013

23/05/2013

image milan copie 2

FILM SONORE 1 14’25

VOGUE.FR 21 Décembre 2012

la_playlist_de_fr__d__ric_sanchez_7706_north_545x

http://www.vogue.fr/culture/a-ecouter/diaporama/la-playlist-de-frederic-sanchez/10976