Tuesday, March 23, 2010

From The Wardrobe Of Iris Apfel + Christopher Kane's A/W 2010 Collection

Hello all, it's been a while, hasn't it?! Have just been madly embroidering, beading and assembling the Precious Materials exhibition pieces since the last post. But it's all done now! Dropped them off at the gallery today. Woo!

Before I put up the pieces here, I'd like to show you some pretty images of embroidered things - some very old, some fresh of the catwalks at the recent Fashion Weeks.

Let's begin with the vintage numbers from one of my favourite books Rare Bird Of Fashion - The Irreverent Iris Apfel. A constant source of inspiration for me!

When I was making the MonoWing, my first embroidered piece, last year, Iris Apfel's massive collection of embroidered and embellished things, amongst all her vintage (like real vintage) couture pieces, featured heavily on my mood boards.

When Zoe Brand, the curator for the upcoming exhibition Precious Materials, first invited me to show, I couldn't decide if I should put the MonoWing in because we are required to submit three pieces and it would mean that I'll have to make two more embroidered pieces just so there's some form of a link between them. As much as I love to embroider, the thought of making two new pieces from scratch worried me. The amount of time required! Oh!

Then, a couple of months later, Zoe sent out formal written invitations-for-entries in which she quoted Iris Apfel, "...I look at a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story. It sings me a song." Not knowing that I was a big big fan. Oh, what I'd give to own just a tiny part of Iris Apfel's amazing wardrobe!

And the treasures from her home...

Anyway, I saw that quote as a sign to start making two more embroidered pieces for Zoe's show. Haha.

Now, on to the spanking new pieces from designer Christopher Kane's latest collection...

Images from here

Embroidery on shiny leather!

I love that he's applied a traditional craft in a modern context - my brief-to-self when I made the MonoWing at the height of the Balmain-shoulder-mania which might have been unconsciously inspired by the way Iris Apfel puts her clothes together.

This is what Harold Hoda, Curator of The Costume Institute at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, had to say about the way she dresses:

"Mrs Apfel's combining of, say, a Lanvin haute couture "burnoose" with silver jewelry from the American Southwest is so estranged from authenticity that it exists as a poetic and gleeful evocation of an exotic other that is a completely imaginary construction.

While much of the power of Orientalism in fashion resides in its ability to introduce erotic and fantastical narratives, this form of exoticism has also been characterized by anachronistic conflations and the introduction of Western elements to non-Western dress.

But despite the submerged meanings and the false readings inherent in such citation, there exists in its endorsement a proclamation of the value of indigeneous dress over the inherently self-obsolescent cycle of Western fashion.

It is in this way that Mrs Apfel explores the seductive associations of regional dress and the vanishing beauty of its artisanal forms."

I'd like to see more designers incorporate non-Western elements into Western-style dress, like Christopher Kane has done. I'm hoping we'll see a big resurgence of the use of artisanal-type skills in fashion following his amazing collection.

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