Saturday, January 15, 2011

I've noticed a funny cycle that I go through as I go in and out of being inspired. sometimes i feel void of all inspiration and all i want to do is numbly look at fashion collections on or in magazines, but then it backfires and i see something that really throws a wrench in my numbness and makes me so excited and angry at the same time because i wish that i made it so badly and i can't handle it. I was especially inspired this fall ‘10 by the ‘09 fall/winter’s comme des garcons collection. that is to say that i think it is one of the only things that i thought about for an entire 3 months. One thing kawakubo (the designer) did that inspired me to the point of wanting to copy were these ghostlike coats of flesh colored tulle, where all the seams were made visible by the sheerness of the fabric. Brought to my attention one of the reasons I love sheer fabrics so much, is because when the light shines through it’s the seams that really become the focus.
I also love kawakubos sense of utility/fragility that screams survival in this collection—there's the sheer ghostly flesh colored tulle but then there's also military nods of army/navy type fabrics, even ethnic blankets, jacket facades, all collaged together, and I love how she uses what looks like twill tape (that you use to draw on dress forms normally) but she uses them to draw on her garments—completely brilliant! also there are toes painted on the oxfords...

When I was working at Berkeley rep, I learned from the tailor kathy that there are so many innards inside a men’s jacket, and I have been thinking for a while about making a coat where all these 'guts' (interfacing, padding, stitching, etc.) are visible. Or what if there were commercial patterns encased inside? I’ve always thought of the patterns/instructions as being just under the surface of clothes, as if you go back a step and they are revealed. I wonder if I could play with this idea, make the metaphor literal. There is something about sheer fabric covering things, like a haze, or veil, that really gets me; there is a little suggestion of time, or presence, without full disclosure.

[etymological side note again--the word apocalypse comes from Calypso from the Odyssey (there is the Odyssey again, should I re-read?). Calypso is the nymph who hides Odysseus away for years, and the ‘calypse’ part of the word means to hide of cover, and apocalypse originally meant revealing, disclosing, uncovering, which I just am so excited by in the context of clothes, or knitting/unraveling, or getting dressed.]

I wrote before about clothing as protection for survival of change, of being uncomfortable, of the harshness of the world. immediately I think of the convertibility of tents, bullet vests, forts, childhood forts. Lucy orta’s costumes. When I was in philly I found these ‘shelter halves’, (these buddy system ponchos), and I was thinking about rei kawakubo, and this fall winter ’09 collection in specific, mostly just about clothes as cocoons to protect people from the harshness of the world. This was when I was screen printing onto fabrics and found objects at the Fabric workshop and museum where I was an apprentice recently. I was focused on refashioning flat patterns, printing on lots of different fabrics ranging in sheerness/thickness from organza to canvas, even printed on army tents and army jackets that I found at the army surplus store. I even printed on an Indian silk sari. But I printed instructions to make a freaky tankini for siamese twins onto these shelter halves, these buddy system tents, that they actually used in world war II, called Zeltbahns. I love the implied convertibility (from poncho to shelter, the fact that there is this buddy-based assembly that needs to happen, that they are so readily garments and also architecture. Plus there is something so astro turfy about camo. something very nature v. culture in a sneaky way that becomes uber deep. Through some handy internet research, I found these diagrams for set up, that are so incredible I keep thinking of replicating them in some way. I am scared of making 2 dimensional work again, but I think i would be able to if it was disguised as instructions. I will post pictures of the shelter ponchos once i finish sewing together the printed clothing that will emerge from the side, but today i just finished this pixelated camo screen printed siamese tankini (that wont be the title don't worry.) i plan to epoxy it so it will be more like a stiff body shell, so i have to make a mold for that. but you can see in the detail how i screen printed directions for its making directly on the fabric itself. the pixelated camo was really exciting to me, especially when i found out that it is harder to detect a person wearing it than regular camo, like on cameras the pixels hide the wearer better. another bonus about the epoxy that i learned from my prototype is that it will actually tone down the brightness of the camo and the screen printing i did just sings out, louder than pictured here. hawt.

On another note, here are some possible show titles for portland:

universe, cloth, map
ordinary vestiges
instructions and extroversions
seams and extroversions

any favorites? or other suggestions?

{photos: 4 comme des garcons fw09 photos from, lucy orta's refuge wear intervention london east end (1998), u.s. 1943 army photo from olive drab, , my own screen printed pixel camo siamese tankini (currently untitled, prototype)}

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