You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

archive for December, 2006

Design and Organic Forms

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Even under a microscope, Nature’s lessons in design range from simple structures to complex patterns. German (Prussian) zoologist Ernst Haeckel’s Art Forms in Nature was originally published around the turn of the 20th century and influenced practitioners of Art Nouveau such as René Binet and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Haeckel’s artistic rendering of the “structural peculiarities” of organisms emphasized the ornamental aspects of natural forms. Browsing through Art Forms in Nature provides me with all manner of design ideas for garments, interior decorating, character sketches and sci-fi landscapes or architecture.

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“Discomedusae” from Ernst Haeckel. Art Forms in Nature Prestel Publishing, 2004


Rita Saardi: Touches of Richness

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

In conversations with Rita Saardi I was struck by her uninhibited, stream of consciousness response to my questions. Her free spirit reflects a rich background: Lebanese by birth, she grew up in Sweden and moved to Paris to learn French, remaining there to study fashion design. Her discipline, persistence and refusal to be reigned in by trends are successful qualities that propel her forward. She feels that, “Fashion is about l’air du temps, as Coco Chanel once said. It’s true, but today it’s more about you’re own world, your own air du temps. If everyone else is using color and you want grey, well then it should be grey. It’s your mood, your air du temps.”

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Rita Saardi s/s 2006, “white bird top”, detail


Minä Perhonen – Like a Pleasant Breeze

Monday, December 11th, 2006

Collections created with a thoughtful foundation give me a keener sense of interaction with the designer through their work. Such is the case with the Japanese brand, minä perhonen. For their a/w 2006-7 collection, “White Swan in Black Dress”, the theme is the relationship between outward appearance of a person and the “existence of hidden internal essence”. Clothes can either communicate or cover up personality and emotion. The idea is directly expressed in the fabrics of the collection as well. The “sunny spots” fabric has irregularly shaped holes with embroidered edges, inspired by the play of sunlight through trees. I had the privilege of corresponding with Akira Minagawa, the garment and textile designer for his brand, who explained the concept further: “There are always gaps between visible facts and essential truth. I sometimes realize that invisible things are the essential beauty, or beauty within.”*

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minä perhonen a/w 2006-7, cascade dress
photographed by Norio Kidera
hair & make-up by Hiromi Chinone (cirque)


The Charisma of Asano Tadanobu

Monday, December 4th, 2006

Variations in menswear are spun from a few basic ingredients and when the occasion calls for formal dress, it is understood to be - or at least I understand it to be - a suit and tie affair. Regulation uniform. Where a woman’s cluster of diamonds or crystal beading catches a person’s eye a man must rely on his charisma, reputation and at times his tailor to stand out. I understand so little about menswear and am likely minimizing its potential, but I believe a man looks best in basics. So, instead of listing favorite menswear designers (the list is very short), I thought I would approach it from another angle: if I designed menswear, who would be my muse? Asano Tadanobu.

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Asano Tadanobu, SO-EN December 2005