It is indeed undeniable that the future, space discoveries and alien encounters always played important roles in fashion, not only for what regards the main themes of a collection, but also the experiments that such themes can inspire in terms of avant-garde silhouettes, materials and embellishments.
In the early 60s, Pierre Cardin was among the first designers who actually looked at space exploration as a vital inspiration for his fashion collections.
Already in 1958, he created a helmet-shaped felt hat characterised by aerodynamic shapes, and, during the following decade, he designed space-age looks inspired by the early space missions like Yuri Gagarin’s.
Obsessed with technology, the cosmos, lasers, and geometrical shapes like the circle, he came up with satellite dresses, tops with metal breast cones and rocket shaped headdresses.
Armani Privé's Spring/Summer 2010 collection may have been inspired by the moon and its most romantic and stylish aspects, but proper Haute Couture collections often tended to avoid less romantic space age inspirations, maybe worried about the dubious connections with third rate apocalyptic films featuring teams of astronauts going to the rescue of other crews in distress and meeting evil robots and monstrous aliens.
Yet things may have changed: during Paris Fashion Week we saw for example Amazon-like alien creatures on Jantaminiau’s runway.
Dutch Jan Taminiau, a graduate from the Academy of Art and Design in Arnheim, always stages his shows both in Paris (where he started showcasing his collections in 2007) and Amsterdam, where he is well known for his designs characterised by refined materials and experimental silhouettes and for working out of an atelier based in a four-story former brothel dating from 1610 in the city's Red Light District.
Jantaminiau’s Autumn/Winter 2010 designs borrow a bit from the feminine and romantic elements of his "Duality” collection, while displaying a major emphasis on futuristic elements and silhouettes.
Most of the soft silks and chiffon designs featured in the collection were covered in beads and pearls that seemed to protect the models’ bodies in heavy armours.
Strange sphere-like domes that called to mind the iconic 1968 Futuro house by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, the smoked acrylic dome of the Electrohome Apollo turntable (remember its design and name referencing the U.S. space program...) or an asteroid hitting the rocky ground of a planet, protected the shoulder area, while plastic helmets that called to mind Cardin’s felt headdresses echoed looks à la Maximilian out of The Black Hole.
But while Taminiau worked on creating a sort of futuristic exoticism, based on contrasts between 3D surface elaborations and embellishments on nude coloured designs (that in some cases recalled a certain romanticism à la Olivier Theyskens for whom Taminiau briefly worked...), Alexandre Vauthier played on the volumes around the shoulder areas.
Vauthier seems to have an obsession with high, squarish and rigidly structured shoulders and this added to his A/W 2010 designs a sort of Things to Come mood, especially in those designs in which sharp shoulders or exaggerated explosions of feathers and black fox around the shoulders contrasted with long toga-like capes worth of Roman vestals or with body-con dresses.
Geometry was employed in a stylish way: V-shaped plunging décolletage and triangular lace inserts referenced the initial of the designer's surname, while one black dress featured an oversized circle-shape detail around one shoulder, almost a connection to Cardin's satellite dresses and to his use of the circle shape, symbolising infinity or the power of black holes.
The collection revolved
around a limited palette of black
and gold (the latter mainly used in plate-shaped necklaces and in rigid
belts that cinched the waist) and, while some inspirations may have come from sci-fi looks, the embellishments weren’t alien at all, but were the results of a collaboration with different French houses (embroideries were by Lesage, feather-work by Lemarié and jewellery by Goossens).
A couple of weeks before Haute Couture explored space, Thom Browne came back from a space journey, landing with his Spring/Summer 2011 menswear collection in a rather architecturally interesting place, the Parisian headquarters of the French Communist Party, designed by Oscar Niemeyer.
The opening of the catwalk show looked extremely promising with models marching in white astronaut spacesuits.
While Browne displayed research in the variety of prints, fabrics and embellishments employed - comprising stripes, plaids, gingham, sequinned pinstripes, appliquéd tiny bows, and embroidered goldfish pursued by sharks, playing in this way with an endless variation in his extreme lack of variation, a part of me really wished the models would have kept their spacesuits on.
The shrunken silhouette is now a menswear reality, but it doesn’t look good on the entire male population who's probably wondering if it's acceptable to abandon the regular proportions of classic tailoring to adopt a style that is a crossover between Pinocchio's look and the uniform of an 8-year-old boy scout.
Indeed, miniature fashion for grown up men only works on men who haven’t grown up, and too often makes the space age look much more desirable than what some designers are suggesting here on planet Earth.
So, to put you into the mood for a space voyage, I'm going to leave you with "Seli", a track from Primo Zeglio's 1967 film ...4...3...2...1...Morte (Mission Stardust).
Taking inspiration from Perry Rhodan's adventures, the latter features all the main sci-fi stereotypes, but its soundtrack by Anton Garcia Abril and Marcello Giombini is simply irresistible. Enjoy!
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Add to Technorati Favorites Lijit Search