Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Deconstruction, Reconstruction

   Recently Atelier Versace presented their Fall 2014 couture collection, and it sparked a thought in my head about re-visiting such collections, taking the elements apart and looking at all of it again with a more critical eye.  Surely there are many who tend to dismiss Versace as a brand with a pretty vulgar aesthetic, but much went down the runway this time that was worth serious consideration.

    I want to start with this piece, which presents a jacket of a new shape that could easily translate into the real world; just lose the overly tricky and obvious cut out with straps, and that jacket could be rendered in myriad fabrics and colors.  I won't even about the skirt.  This in essence is what buyers are doing when they go to shows of this sort. They aren't looking to do the outfit presented in its entirety, but rather to pull notions that can be made up in ready to wear effectively.
    This next piece I think succeeds completely.  The use of that particular fabric for the unusual pant/skirt maintains enough reference to its origin to make it witty, without being overt. The smooth shape of the bodice with its ombre'd micro-sequins blends smoothly with the bottom; and the two straps look integral rather than tacked on.
   The third look is exemplary of how too many good notions can crowd each other out, creating visual confusion.  One of the things we all look for, whether we realize it or not is a consistent through line of thought.  Even when we are intending a look to be challenging in one way or another, it still must have an essentially rational process in evidence.  This look which contains so many good notions, ends up muddying all of them by using too much at once. Take any two design elements and remove them and we get a far more coherent voice from the garment. I have no objection to the idea of a one sleeved top, in this case it is a distraction, not an advantage. Two sleeves or none would instantly improve this.  Lose the graph paper grid train and it gets downright awesome looking.  Which elements would you remove?
    Sometimes the success or failure of the presentation of an ensemble rests on the pairings done.  In this case, both pieces are individually terrific. The dress, for all its sheerness is lovely, and the embroidered pattern is interesting, in great colors.  The coat too, is delightful for its blend of color and texture. But put them both together and the eye has nowhere to rest, and both pieces suffer.
    I love the color combination in this piece. This dusty violet paired with black is terrific.  But there are, again, far too many ideas in play here.  The workmanship is admirable, and the bodice idea, paired with a simple black version of the pant/skirt theme would've been a slam dunk. What happens in cases like this is we become visually exhausted trying to sort through everything. The notion too, to have a clear idea of whom a piece is designed for is lost utterly in the crowd of competing concepts.
    Here is another piece I think is just fine and dandy as it is. Allowing the complexity of the bodice structure to be balanced against a dead simple white skirt creates a near timeless look. The viewer can fully appreciate the work and detail up top, without distraction.
    And bringing up the rear this piece is another too much of too much set of ideas.  The mauve and black combination is great, and I love the volume of the skirt balanced to the minimalism of the bodice.  The idea of the emerging satin pieces is a good one, as well.  For me, I would lose the metal straps, and close the center front of the skirt.  What do you all think?

    You see, what we can get out of this, apart from simply dissecting a couture collection is a lesson in how to edit in our own lives, and present ourselves in a clear voiced way.  If we see someone on the street and our eye cannot rest anywhere, then something too much is going on. I don't mean that anyone should stop expressing themselves fully, merely that expressing oneself fully, also means with clarity.

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