FINAESTAMPA—ILLUSTRATION AND FASHION features the work of nearly two dozen artists, including François Berhoud, Blair Breitenstein, Jason Brooks, Helen Bullock, Gill Button, Cecilia Carlstedt, Jean-Philippe Delhomme, David Downton, Ricardo Fumanal, LauraGulshani, Mats Gustafson, Richard Haines, Amelie Hegardt, Richard Kilroy, Jordi Labanda, Tanya Ling, Jowy Maasdamme, InésMaestre, RosieMcGuinness, Aurore de la Morinerie, Hiroshi Tanabe, and Unskilled Worker.
The exhibition is complemented by a fully illustrated catalogue.
From top, left to right, artwork by Gill Button, Rosie McGuiness, Aurore de la Morinerie, Amelie Hegardt, Richard Kilroy, Laura Gulshani, Mats Gustafson, Richard Haines, FrançoisBerthoud, and Blair Breitenstein. Images courtesy the artists and Museo ABC.
One could question the location Rei Kawakubo chose this season to present her Comme desGarçons Fall/Winter 2019/2020 collection. She picked the hall of a neoclassical building on rue Cambon—though not the famous number 29! As always, Kawakubo intervenes with the space. Here she created a stage from the marble flooring, overlaid with strips of red-passé carpet. This small arena is enclosed by a few rows of benches and six long, lighted perches—the same machines that will later follow each model in an idiosyncratic ballet, giving the set a futuristic twist. As usual, the assembly is small, but one should know Kawakubo is not here to convince a large audience, but rather one that focuses.
Silence. The show is about to start. The lights turn off, the room is dark, and the ambiance feels quite enigmatic. Rei Kawakubo holds her crowd in a meditative state for one minute of silence. Strangely, this minute feels like eternity—long enough to understand the roles that gravity and magnitude play in this collection. Finally the show starts, with a discontinuous soundtrack from the back. One by one each model comes out to follow the patch of a square—making sure to pass by every corner—and meet at the center. Yet we feel a sense of disorder on stage, and in the air.
The ambiance is austere: each silhouette is uniquely worked with fastidious details and crafted in a range of solid black materials that echo throughout the space like shadows of knights stepping out of the nightfall. This season, Kawakubo envelops her women in a voluminous armor, dark and rigid. The collection recalls medieval and ecclesiastical themes reinterpreted in a raw couture spirit. One purple garment questions signs of royalty. As always, Kawakubo dazzles with radical strength and bold engagement.
Of all the Parisian designers, RICK OWENS is certainly the one who best captures the essence of the city. For Fall/Winter 2019/2020, he dedicates his prêt-à-porter collection to Larry Legaspi. “Larry who? Never heard of him!” That’s okay, and this is why we love Rick, a great mentor who told us, “Larry was the man responsible for the silver and black space-sleaze looks of LaBelle and Kiss in the 1970s.”
Rick is a man who strongly relates to history. Sixteen years ago, when he moved from Los Angeles to Paris, he located his atelier and boutique—perversely—in the historic, highly refined neighborhood between place Bourbon and the Palais Royal. Charles James—America’s first couturier—had a great influence on Rick, who shamelessly admits he “knocked off [James’] cocoon coat, and reinterpreted it in raw-seamed shearling, nutria, and duvet.” (This season Rick wrote the preface to Charles James: The Couture Secrets of Shape, a contemporary reading of the twentieth-century couturier, edited by Homer Layne and Dorothea Mink.)
Rick is a great innovator who likes to reinvent himself by mixing past and futuristic imagination in present time. This fall and winter, his women will follow a graver, more solemn path. At Palais de Tokyo, the room is troubled, almost opaque, punctured by single points of light emitting from the high-ceiling. The atmosphere is raw like in a temple, keeping the audience alert. One by one, enigmatic figures pass in a slow march, one that welcomes questions and doubts: goddesses draped whole à la Fortuny; hybrid women in subtle yet vivid-colored leather overalls; half-naked girls wearing razor-cut, high-shouldered, raw silk jackets. The rhythm is slow but steady, and this procession gives a feeling of change, of a weird mutation. Thankfully the warm voice on the soundtrack—Michèle Lamy, Rick’s beautiful wife and the love of his life—restores confidence. This binding relationship shared publicly reinforces the trust we feel in Rick’s fashion.
Rick is a wizard who reminds us that with love and dedication, we can find beauty in a fragmented and sometimes unwelcoming world.
From top: K8 Hardy, Outfitumentary, still; Andy Warhol, Tiger Morse, aka Tiger Morse (Reel 14 of****), still; K8 Hardy, How To: Untitled Runway Show book cover, published by DoPe Press in 2013, cover design by Madame Paris.
The opera-in-development THE PASSIONOF MCQUEEN imagines the last hours in the life of Alexander McQueen.
A staged concert of the forthcoming work—with music by Kentaro Kameyama, libretto by William Nedved, and direction by Diana Wyenn—will feature mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell as Isabella Blow, and baritone David Castillo as Lee.