Monday, January 24, 2011

Visual Overload

Holy moly Batman, the spring Haute Couture shows began in Paris today and we haven't even entered into Canada's coldest month yet! I'm all too ready for temperatures above zero, shorts and sandals, especially because I've had nearly three months to pore over the upcoming spring trends. I really would like for Canada to stop sucking out my tan because I worked hard for it at training camp, I'm not kidding; after four hours of swimming a day you get a really really really bad training suit tan. 
Sketches from some of the couturiers for all of us in anticipation of the shows: Valentino, Armani Prive and Elie Saab. Red carpet ready?

So today is my version of sensory overload... bet you never thought I'd say that eh? How could an art history student and a self professed color magpie of my calibre have a visual overload... 
It's simple. I recently spoke of the British Trinity of digital prints in my post about architecture and fashion and I dredge them up again to throw your senses out of whack. To reiterate, the three designers that do psychedelic prints better than any other are: 
  • My prince of darkness and his successor in light: Alexander McQueen and Sarah Burton
  • The 'pixar of clothes' duo: Basso and Brooke
  • And Swiss Textiles Award winner and Central Saint Martin's grad: Mary Katrantzou
'Bring it on' you say? My reply: 'At your service'.

McQueen Spring 2009 - 'Natural Dis-tinction Un-natural Selection'
The acid trip I will never go on would probably look like this... While the show was about Darwin, the natural world and global warming, these looks were heralding in the new era of man's dominion over all things natural. Kinda sad, but if I get to wear a pantsuit like that every day, it might not be as bad. The prints are bright, crystalline and completely headache inducing, in the best possible way.

A page from my IB Higher Art workbook (my pride and joy), Swarovski crystals, the standard Jumanji scene and the Earth Hall of the Natural History Museum in London. Betcha these were on his mood board fo sho!

McQueen Spring 2010 - Plato's Atlantis 
One of his most well known shows and the last one before he died, this is his legacy... absolutely mentally, heart-wrenchingly, brilliantly spectacular. The name gives it away but I saw it as reptilian beings who make their way back to the water and morph into these people of the sea: inhabitants of the lost civilization of Atlantis. We're seeing these digitally engineered prints that look like Rorschach inkblot tests on acid, and again, only in the best possible way.
From lizard women and amphibians to the eerie love children of sea creatures and Atlanteans.

Basso & Brooke Spring 2009  
I love me a good dose of color. I feel like Wassily Kandinsky was resurrected except was entered into foster care in Japan. There can be no mistaking the Kimono-esque dresses and obi belts. They're Harajuku girls after a photoshop experiment went terrifically right. Up the contrast and the saturation and you're golden.

Right-o lets deal with the imagery here: Barbie meets the Brighton Pavilion, tries her hand at origami and falls in love with Sesshu and then undergoes an identity crisis and becomes Kimono Barbie. I've already mentioned Kandinsky who was a major player in the Abstract Expressionist movement and whose work keeps your eye extremely busy. And finally we have a Mr. Gerhard Richter whose color-sheet inspired work influenced my own IB art piece... now that I look at mine, I get a kind of Orientalistic vibe. Or it could be my brain turning to mush?

Basso & Brooke Fall 2010  
The boys stuck with their eastern influences, this time channeling the Silk-Road and Joseph's Technicolored Dream Coat with every color and fabric under the sun. They don't really adhere to the minimalist trend that was in circulation last season and it makes this collection all the better.
Alrighty, I see the shapes and colors from Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory in the middle look... there is just something about the browns and the texture of that dress that is completely Surrealist. And I was thrown back to my family trip to Vietnam where we went to a market and were accosted by some of the most beautiful colors and embroidered fabrics I've ever seen. Oriental enough for you?

Mary Katrantzou Fall 2009 and Spring 2010

Inspiration... is it not obvious? Ornamental glass perfume bottles, duh! The imagery is alittle more obvious in the first show where the women actually look like walking perfume bottles and then the next season she delved even deeper into the glass and the way it reflects light and creates patterns, becoming more abstract and illusionistic.
So, perfume bottles yes... I thought of ones I'd seen in Egypt as a kid as they're very curvilinear and womanly and then I dug up some really brilliant geometric examples too. And I returned to Gerhard Richter who demonstrates here that he's very well rounded, first we saw painting and now he's dealt us photographs. I love his use of paint on top of the photo as if he's trying to perfect nature and possibly imitate it. The shapes and negative space created by the paint are what I drew to Katrantzou's work.

So, have your eyes had it? Wierdly mine are doing ok. Anyhow, that's all for today folks, off to review the Couture shows.

- Life is good

Listening to: Well actually I'm watching Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, what a throwback to last decade
Observations: The return of the housemates with the largest abundance of food I have ever seen
Craving: A return to my health kick and this time without interruption

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