A conceptual endeavor that seeks to bridge cities—this time Paris and Berlin—and creative disciplines, Dysfashional enlisted (mostly) fashion designers for the second year in a row to create “installations which reflect their imaginations and their creative universe, rather than their collections.” It’s a prospect both genius and frightening. How far behind the scenes do we want to go with the people we entrust to make our clothes?
As it turns out, a lot, even if Maison Martin Margiela’s solemn, empty white rooms surrendered little about its creative universe (certainly not who will preside over the brand with Margiela gone). Meanwhile, Bless‘s dollhouse/funhouse installation played with spatial reality by juxtaposing real-life objects—i.e. a dining room set up picnic-style, tablecloth strewn with porcelain animals—against an image of an apartment on wallpaper. Kenzo‘s Antonio Marras created incandescently lit nightgowns made of vintage dresses hemmed with bicycle tires. The slim silhouettes were stretched tall and thin from ceiling to floor, as if to fit a pill-popping Alice in Wonderland. What it revealed about the creative universe of Kenzo is hard to say exactly, but the haunting light hitting the white fabric was awfully pretty.
For some designers, the creative universe has more tongue in its cheek. Hussein Chalayan’s paper A-line Airmail dress played with notions of materiality and functionality, going from wearable to mailbox-ready in a jiff as a red-and-blue striped envelope and Par Avion in the top left corner. If only all garments could so easily be folded up and sent internationally. Item Idem‘s humor skewed darker and more biting. An LED lit, laser-engraved monolith served as the canvas for his pastiche-heavy Mount Blushmore. On it, a quartet of fashion figures (Donatella Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour) rose stone-faced from the pastoral setting below, their self-important legacy mocked all the more as “Oh the land of the strong / And the home of the vain” flashed.
One of the most compelling visuals of the night was French artist Marc Turlan’s Re-Use, I-do, whose wall of open-faced magazines revealed images artistically tampered with. Models were doodled upon with stars and henna-like scales while faces dripped with actual silver chains. Many images were carved into with engraving pens, creating a ripple of concentric circles like the rings of tree. By revealing layers from pages below, disparate images were brought to the front in a kind of collage. A photo of Nicolas Ghesquière was especially arresting, his attractive features interrupted with the eye of someone else from a page below. Turlan described the process as an “intervention” for banal imagery, the result of which created a fluid interplay between expected fashion tropes and surprising reinvention.
Passage du Désir
85-87 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin
October 30 – November 29, 2009
Haus der Kulturen Der Welt
June 18 – July 18, 2010