Monsters In Fashion
What makes a monster a monster? Can there be scary and friendly monsters? Just some of the questions my little niece started of with when we visited the exhibition ARRRGH! Monsters In Fashion at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. Solid questions and i added mine: was it art or fashion we were looking at?
Most of all it was an odd collection of unnatural, illlogical, atypical but fantastic designs, selected from the work of well known and up-and-coming designers such as Rick Owens, Issey Miyake, Walter van Beirendonck, Viktor & Rolf, Craig Green and Bart Hess. The context is rather thin though, monstrous creations taking over high-end fashion. More interesting is why designers seek inspiration in humorous avatars, game & fantasy characters and comic book heroes. The Greece curatorial and artistic collective ATOPOS noticed the appearance of ‘monsters’ on the catwalk since the 1990s and decided to research this phenomenon. What led to the book Not a Toy, Fashioning Radical Characters and this exhibition.
I might have to read the book since i have left without answers. That perhaps is the problem of the exhibition. Each design is such a statement, art almost, you want to (at least i need to) know the whole story of the designer’s collection it is part of. Now they have been degraded to the ‘freaks’ of fashion without a story. Stories that will probably make us recognise the little monsters within ourselves.
ARRRGH! MONSTERS IN FASHION - Centraal Museum in Utrecht
until 19 January 2014
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
From Sidewalk to the Catwalk
It’s an amazing world you enter when staring in awe at more than a hundred and forty (haute couture) designs by the ‘enfant terrible’ of the fashion world, Jean Paul Gaultier. The Kunsthal in Rotterdam has the honor of presenting the first international solo exhibition dedicated to the work of Jean Paul Gaultier. It premiered in Montreal, the exhibition is a collaboration between the Kunsthal, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, and is now a travelling exhibition. So if it exhibits in a museum near you, I suggest you go see it! It’s craftsmanship and multimedia coming together.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier is divided in six storytelling spaces: The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier, The Boudoir, Skin Deep, Punk Cancan, Urban Jungle and Metropolis. They explain the themes Gaultier is/has been inspired by. The pictures you see above are taken in the first room you enter, The Odyssey room. It’s an overwhelming first impression with the faces of the models (and the designer himself) projected on the mannequins, the blue screen backdrop, audio and off course the designs. I will split up this post in several posts, because the amount of pictures I took was overwhelming as well!
If you want to see the exhibition in the Kunsthal you only have a couple of days left. Sunday the 12th of May is your last chance!
Splash! by Iris van Herpen and SHOW STUDIO
The C&A re-imagine design contest
Dutch retail concern C&A challenged 8 European fashion designers to step out of their comfort zone to re-interpret and re-define the use and function of everyday objects such as plastic cutlery, plates and cups. The picture above shows the end result made by designer Pauline van Dongen. Intrigued by the plastic material she decided to combine this unnatural aspect with the natural aesthetics of the human body and cell structures. To create a membrane-like texture, she used a laser cutter to cut the white sheets of ironed plates into patterns. This thin plastic layer was then covered by rubber latex for the surface to appear as bone tissue and to be able to safely shape the material into its definite form. Check out the work by the other designers and vote for your favorite. Since this is a contest, the most voted for designer gets to donate, on behalf of C&A, €10.000 to a charity of chose. Visit the, by the way, very nice looking and interactive Facebook Page of the contest, for more information and to vote. Votes must be in by 28th of March.
Photography by Louise te Poele.
Book A Room At Hotel Modez!
It’s official, Arnhem has its own Fashion and Design hotel: Modez. It’s the ‘icing on the cake’ as Piet Paris says, renowned fashion illustrator and responsable for the art direction of the hotel. For several years now Arnhem is working hard to establish itself as a fashion capitol and Modez (derived from Mode, Design and ArtEZ, institute of arts in Arnhem) puts in that extra weight. The hotel is located in Modekwartier, in the Klarendal district that recently had a face lift after years of crime related disturbances. Abandoned buildings and houses were restored and turned into studio’s and shops for young designers and artists. Attracted by the diversity of products and design disciplines Modekwartier now welcomes a new and shopping lovin’ audience that can seek tranquility in one of the twenty rooms of Modez after a day of exploring the city.
At the opening, last Friday, all rooms were open for viewing and I took the grand tour. Paris selected alumni from ArtEZ and designers who have their studio in Arnhem to each decorate a room. So every room is unique and gives you a sense of the design DNA of the designer. Some personal favorites are:
Loft Room 28 by Sjaak Hullekes
If you’re familiar with the brand and the lovely store in the Kerkstraat in the city center this room is the perfect extension; it has the same deep, luxurious colour scheme and warm materials such as leather and wood.
Loft Room 33 by Bedtime for Bonzo
This room is all softness with its knitted covers, not just cushion covers, but chairs and side tables too!
*Due to a restricted amount of photo’s per blog post I will spread the rest of the photo’s over several posts. Want to see the rooms decorated by Monique van Heist, Humanoid and Antoine Peters? Click here! Curious what the rooms by Francisco van Benthum, Mimi Berlin and Piet Paris look like? Click here!
The other designers who have contributed are: People of the Labyrinth, Michael van der Ham, Bas Kosters, Vlisco, Klaas Kuiken, Martine van ‘t Hul, Desiree Hammen, Gijs Frieling, Thomas van Voorn, Petra Vonk, Coppens Alberts, Klaartje Martens„ Orson&Bodil, and Spijkers&Spijkers.
Prices per night per, per two persons vary from €119 to €159. On the ground floor of the hotel you can enjoy food and drinks in cafe Caspar. Like the hotel Caspar also cooperated with (product) designers for the interior resulting in more eye candy.
Elly Lamakerplantsoen 4 (Putstraat 1a)6822 BZ Arnhem, Gelderland
Fashion Future is the face forward title of this year’s Graduation Show of the bachelor Fashion Design at ArtEZ. The fashion department of this Institute of the Arts in Arnhem has educated famous alumni such as designers Viktor & Rolf, Lucas Ossendrijver (Lanvin), Iris van Herpen, fashion illustrator Piet Paris, trend forecaster Lidewij Edlkoort and many more. So the show is always well visited by the industry, press and the wider public to face the future of fashion, spot the talents and label the public’s favorites.
Nineteen collections came down the runway and the overall feeling is that collections were very much complete, and telling a story. It’s was all very understandable; easy on the eyes colors and shapes, less conceptual than previous years. Or I am more adapted to the show than i think i am. Let’s start with men’s collections since there are always just a few. The two that stood out for me were Anne Kluyternaar’s Lux Is Crossing and Luuk Varkevisser’s Exit Through The Gift Shop. They couldn’t have been more different from one another.
Anne Kluyternaar - Lux Is crossing
Kluytenaar dressed her male models in very feminine designs. Wearing Chanel-like jackets accessorised with pearls, clutches and casually smoking cigarets. Varkevisser made more of a statement with his presentation; styling, choise of music (hip hop) the strong pace in which the models walked the catwalk. It complemented the alternative, biker-rock outfits.
Luuk Varkevisser - Exit Through The Gift Shop
Two collections that complemented each other were Arche-re-type by Yoram Tomasowa and Hemisphere by Eefje Wijnings. Both very graphic and in black & white, but the latter had more dramatic pieces.
Eefje Wijnings - Hemisphere
Tomoasowa’s work had a more lightness to it despite of some strict, layer folded designs.
Yoram Tomasowa - Arche-re-type
Bold color use in several collections, neon is still very popular, also in Jody de Lange’s collection Anthurium. But she combined it with sleek designs and organic, floral prints.
Jody de Lange - Anthurium
Another breath of fresh was Mood Masaic by Julian Stips. A blow up of iconic Mexican features without turning into costumes.
Julian Stips - Mood Masaic
Dark but sophisticated was Niels Tol’s collection Spring Awakenings. Not an optimistic dash of color in sight as you would expect considering the title, but it didn’t needed it.
Niels Tol - Spring Awakenings
Only time will tell if this class of 2012 will make name for itself in the future. A few of the graduates are off to a good start. Anne Kluytenaar and Julian Stips together with Peet Dullaert and Melanie Bomans have been nominated on behalf of ArtEZ for the Frans Molenaar Couture Award 2012. Classmates Jef Montes and Esther Kruyer have been selected as the two ArtEZ graduates to compete against the other selected graduates of the six other art institutes of the Netherlands for the Lichting 2012 Award. During the upcoming Amsterdam Fashion Week the winners will be chosen and announced.
(Photography by Team Peter Stigter except Jody de Lange - Anthurium and Niels Tol - Spring Awakenings.)
Preview Collectie Arnhem 2012
Collectie Arnhem is a project in which the third-year students Fashion Design of ArtEZ (Institute of the Arts in Arnhem, Holland) as a class have to design, produce, present and sell a theme based, cohesive fashion collection. Collectie Arnhem 2012 will be presented to the press on January 25th, during the Amsterdam Fashion Week. After which a ready to wear collection will follow for points of sale such as Arnhem Coming Soon. Collectie Arnhem was set up in 1999 by fashion designer and alumnus Alexander van Slobbe. Since 2009 their is also a Collectie Arnhem Product in which the third-year students Product Design have to create a collection. Check my review on that 2011 edition here.
(Photograpy: Arash Fakhim)
There’s Studio Noir and there’s Hanneke van Leeuwen. She is one out of four photographers and a stylist that together form the Dutch collective Studio Noir. Van Leeuwen’s work I find the most alluring, but be sure to have a look at the work of the others as well. Somehow it shows that they are all at the beginning of their careers, most of them graduated in 2008, still developing a signature in styling, composition and translating emotion. But it looks promising I’m curious how their, and especially Van Leeuwen’s work will develop.
Fashion Photography for Charity
This is my favorite photograph by Dutch catwalk photographer Peter Stigter. For many years now he and his team cover the Amsterdam, Paris and Milan Fashion Week. It’s not hard to imagine what large archive of beautiful photographs this must have led to, many of which never published. It was in 2009, when Stigter found a meaningful reason to expose his work for the good of others. Together with partner Canon the Peter Stigter aan de Muur foundation was set up to raise money for the blind and impaired in Holland. The foundation’s name translates: Peter Stigter on The Wall. Stigter’s personal favorite photographs are being sold to hang on a wall instead of being used in lookbooks and magazines. You can purchase your own ‘Peter Stigter’ to enjoy as a piece of art. Check the foundation’s website to find out how.