The slow mo has finally got there in the end! After yesterday's post on the winners of Hyères 2008, and myself having preferences for the other designers, it seemed silly not to post about the other contestants seeing as there were so many different elements from each collection that were quite impressive in vastly different ways...
Titipon Chitsantisook // Thailand (Ed. Instituto Marangoni) – The one designer who I spoke to in depth about his extraordinary collection that was painstakingly crafted. ‘Never Ending Story’ is a theme that he has applied to his fabrics to breathe life into something that is supposedly static. My eyes nearly popped out when he said he hand cut 50,000 pieces of fabric to construct a skirt that had to be mathematically calculated to make sure the tiers were properly in proportion. He also reminded me that I need to invest in some sheer leggings.
Isabelle Steger // Austria (Ed. Applied Arts School of Vienna) – This was the collection that brought out the most curiosity in me as soon as the first model walked out and it turned out to be a 50 yrs+ lady (with exceedingly long hair!). ‘iTrue’ wants to turn people’s notions of the normal protocols of daily work attire. So the suit becomes oversized and more geometrical giving simultaneous comfort to the wearer but also a powerful swagger. It was quite an odd combination to see these stately and dignified ‘elderly’ men and women walk about wearing these odd proportions. That was probably the intention of Steger and as a result you ended up understanding the clothes better because of the way they were presented.
Stella Valentic & Julie Kéchichian // France (Ed. Studio Berçot) – I wasn’t immediately keen on this collection but actually the ‘cool’ factor of it all took over and I ended up quite liking it! Hip hop shapes meet visual imagery from the Ndebele people between South Africa and Zimbabwe. These people might mix in branded modern t-shirts with their traditional costumes or redecorate trainers so it’s tha cultural mix-up that formed the basis of the collection. Embroidered rucksacks, dropped crotch pants (which both designers wore extremely well off-catwalk too!) and a beautiful, heightened interpretation of ‘streetwear’. A mish-mash that worked to their favour even if all of it wasn’t to my taste. Somehow they managed to get tartan, a fabric which I’m constantly dubious about, in the mix too.
Graham Tabor // USA – An American entry in the competition is a rarity and so I was eager to see Tabor’s work. To a slow Nico soundtrack, his models with plaited hair fixtures intertwining over the face and brokwn down, almost decaying silhouettes walked. Certainly not something that I was expecting but Tabor has spent a lot of time in Paris learning his craft so an appreciation for the ‘avante garde’ was expected. Translucent fabrics, torn stitches, holes and general fragmentation makes for a perfect uniform for performing some sort of ritual that only Tabor understands.
Miriam Lehle // Germany (Ed. Pforzheim) – At first glance, from the pre-photo, I was quite excited by the texture that Lehle created by burning synthetic fabrics. Crinkled, flocked, like moss or fungi, the effects were brilliant. However, I thought it was a shame that she didn’t take those ideas further and used these textures to overlay much simpler garments. Perhaps the contrast between the complex and the simple was what she was going for and some people may like that pairing but in reality, for me, whilst I loved all the fabric effects, the supporting garments just didn’t do it for me.
Olivia Borde // France (Ed. ESMA, Montpellier) – Probably the most ‘ready to wear’ collection out of all the entries. A solid menswear collection that grappled with proportions and conventions but never so much as to become ridiculous. Borde was trying to capture the wardrobe of someone who still thinks he’s a rebellious teen. Rebellious not in the clichéd way but with thought and melancholy too. A very ‘complete’ collection.
Titi Kwan // France (Ed. Studio Berçot) – A fellow Hong Kong-er who has lived in Paris for the past 25 years indulged a simple form of origami in his collection. The models did ‘flow’ in the clothes to a soundtrack of Faye Wong’s version of Cranberries’ Dreams (Titi was also Faye Wong’s stylist..). A believer in draping the fabric on the dummy without sketching, his was about a beautiful selection of fabrics and colours. I did think however there was some lack of coherency in the collection despite some nice details.
Lucia Sanchez // Argentina (Ed. St. Martins College) – It’s pretty obvious that Sanchez delved into her Argentine routes and there’s a line where she is dangerously dancing between tacky and tasteful with the lacework transplanted over silver plastic, bull’s horn heels, traditional knit patterns and an affiliation with plastic, inspired by recent travel rules (those annoying plastic bags you need to take for toiletries...). It’s a mix of modern and folky but somehow the mix-up didn’t work so well for me as it did in Stella and Julie’s collection.