Accidental Icon: Conceptual Fashion Advice for Minimalists


It is no secret that I am a fan of conceptual designers. Recently I have showcased Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Issey Miyake and Aganovitch to name a few.

As the 2016 Couture shows passed by in the usual flurry of images my eye was caught by the shapes of the technical piqué designs of Victor and Rolf. The 3-D construction process the designers used looked rigorous to say the least and stark white put me in mind of sculpture. Most likely because I often look at the intersection of fashion and art and because I also like to push limits, the challenges conceptual designers pose to the notion of “wearability” makes me think differently about what “wearability” might mean to me.

Conceptual fashion designers regard the body as the site for the communication of ideas. They often consider the role of clothes both on and off the body. Loving conceptual designers creates a dilemma for those of us who view the function of clothing the same way but live and work in the everyday world. As much as I would like to wear one of the more incredible looks from CDG S/S 2016 at my next conference presentation, that might push the envelope a little too much. I love the process of translating the ideas behind a conceptual design into something that I might wear in everyday life. Victor and Rolf actually started their collection with a minimally adjusted tennis dress that became progressively more and more outrageous. My process is just the opposite; I move from outrageous to minimal. But let's just say I always start with outrageous.

The coat I am wearing is by the designer Nika Tang who is based in San Francisco and London. I consider this coat my version of conceptual fashion because when I am wearing it feels like it is curling and unfurling. In my version of conceptual design the clothes feel alive, they move of their own volition, they breathe, they articulate and when I move they create different shapes and silhouettes. This coat gives me the sensation of being covered in ruffles and bows yet it is architectural and beautifully tailored, evidencing a steady hand with balance and control, keeping it right on the edge exactly where I love to play. 

Click here to view Nika Tang’s S/S2016 collection and find out more about the coat I am wearing.

What does “wearabilty” mean to you?



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