The Fashion and Art of Elevation
In the fashion bibliography this weekend I included a link to Nick Knight's Show Studio feature on the designer Faustine Steinmetz. One could conceivably spend hours with the feature as it included films of her sitting at her loom making denim, a shorter film where she is discussing her process and photos of the finished creation. It is a meditation on the intersection of fashion and art and her story of how she developed as a designer. She is notable for how in her designs she has elevated such an everyday fabric as denim. Her inspiration for this piece is the iconic denim jacket, invented by Levi Strauss and is a quintessential American symbol of change, spirit, ruggedness and rebellion. Since the 1950's women rebels have rocked denim and I continue that long tradition with my very distressed Levi's pictured above.
Inspired by art that transforms simple objects into something new, Steinmetz weaves copper and silk threads into the denim jacket she is making so that it is able to be sculpted on a particular woman's body in a way that allows her to make the piece uniquely and solely her own. This is the designer's approach to how one thinks about clothes: collectible pieces that can be worn again and again. Pieces that can elevate the more mundane everyday garments we wear for living and working. The designer talks about an epiphany she had when she was a young woman buying fast fashion and throwing it out; that it was far better to save your money, buy something unique and wear it forever even if you had to mend it one or two times. She is not talking about simulated marks of distress now all the rage in fashion, but rather real marks of age and wear. Her work shows that simple, humble and authentic can be elevated with some thoughtful creativity applied to the process.
So when I want the feeling of comfort as I did this past weekend, these soft raggedy jeans and low heeled Frye boots get that job done. A recycled Givenchy shirt, a beautifully crafted belt and some sculptural earrings and ring elevates the look just enough to show that distress that is not simulated but comes from authentic age and a life lived is actually rather beautiful. Perhaps that is why everyone today wants to wear clothes that are made to look old.
What do you wear when you want to elevate an everyday garment?