A couple of years ago Rachel Harding came up with some very intriguing 3D lace projections. Harding transformed traditional textiles - from lace to tweed and damask - into 3D objects.
The results, a series of "sublime" (in Burke's sense of the word - therefore mesmerising yet also terrifying) stalagmite structures were then transformed into models for her futuristic buildings in which a dystopic and violent society lives.
Harding's lace projections came back to my mind while looking at some of the images from the runway shows at the current Paris Fashion Week. The disturbing stalagmites that erupted from Harding's lace seemed for example to be reinterpreted as embellished appliqued formations protruding from skirts, tops and trousers in Steffie Christiaens' collection.
This Paris-based designer who is into experimental pieces and processes, always tried to capture in her previous collections the effects of natural elements such as wind and water, but also of heat and light, reinterpreting them in a warped and futuristic key through digital manipulation and other techniques that can help altering traditional shapes.
Christiaens embellished her S/S 13 designs with three-dimensional elements that at times seemed to be shards of glass erupting from the fabric and adding a sculptural edge to her fluid garments.
Yet, while Christiaens offered a sort of complex view of the future through three-dimensional pieces, other designers such as Martine Sitbon at Rue du Mail opted for Courrègesian inspirations (well, they are a bit everywhere for the S/S 13 season...) and mixed them with skirts, coats and dresses with abstract motifs that - thanks to advanced laser cut techniques - looked as if they were made with lace seen through gigantic magnifying lenses.
Guillaume Henry at Carven borrowed from Art Nouveau the shapes of the cut out motifs on the bust, on the sides or at the waist of his jackets and coat-dresses, though the most interesting pieces were maybe the garments in which laser cut techniques were employed to reproduce a sort of intricate foliage or plant-like motif in leather.
While these ones are just a few examples of how a classic textile can be reinvented through modern techniques, they are all convincing reinterpretations of lace and lace-like formations that perfectly prove we can step into the future rediscovering in a new key traditional techniques and materials.
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