865
  • Designing fashion

    The search for a pertinent and updated definition of fashion leads to the perusal of what architects, designers, philosophers and historians have had to say. The centrality of design remains a clear focal point in the complex relation between clothing and body  

    The word “design” is so omnipresent in our Italian lives, that we have stopped feeling the need to translate it. The English word design sounds like the Italian word disegno (drawing). Both terms share the same etymon, but while disegno refers to an action that places a mark or an idea on paper, the semantic field of design is not limited to the materiality of pencil and paper. Design means a project, and has no particular tie to the physical making of things (objects, buildings, structures). Rather it refers more to breaking down an idea into its constituent parts, and comprehending its real and potential developments. The route leading from ideation to production and consumption of fashion items follows a design logic that inserts fashion into the disciplines having to do with design. But being a complex system, fashion has its very own way of relating to the idea of design’s variations and forms.

    What makes the definition of fashion design unique, or at least gives it a crucial value, is its intrinsic connection to the body. The body is living material. It disobeys. It is subject to the passing of time and the fraught perception we have of ourselves. Fashion is the instrument we have to control the body and render its nature and culture. The first person to consider the relation between clothing and body from a design viewpoint was the architect and designer Bernard Rudofsky. He showed the results of his considerations in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1944. The title “Are Clothes Modern?” is a research question, a kind of academic convention required from everyone who embarks on a research project. The answer given by Rudofsky is not simple or immediately comprehensible. The exhibition, a three-dimensional representation of the designer’s thought process, shows that the body is the raw material that the clothes have the task of modifying, for better or worse. They must transport the body’s classical and natural forms into the contemporary instant.

    Bernard Rudofsky, "Are clothes modern?", MoMA, New York, 1944

    Bernard Rudofsky, “Are clothes modern?”, MoMA, New York, 1944 

    In a certain sense, when the garment is worn, it is the representation of modernity as an eternally present quality. According to Rudofsky, what transports clothing and bodies into modernity is fashion – with its unreasonableness, contradictions, arbitrariness, cyclicity, incomprehensibility and “profound superficiality”. If we consider the contemporary fashion system as a globally radiating field of forces, one of the virtual focuses that determinates its fluctuations and revolutions is the designer. The designer pinpoints the problems, acts on demands that require answers, and resolves the problems with creativity and intelligence.

Domus Moda!

Curated by Carlo Antonelli, the Fashion supplement on newsstands with Domus June issue,...

Read more

The new frontier of sustainable cloth

The book Neomaterials in circular economy – Fashion, is an updated overview of...

Read more

Let me entertain you

After gobbling up the record industry, television, print publishing, travel, transport...

Read more

Suspended Ensemble: AMO for Prada

For the Prada 2018 Resort Womenswear show, AMO reinterprets Osservatorio, Fondazione...

Read more

Marimekko Esplanade park, public fashion show

Marimekko holds its annual public fashion show in Helsinki’s Esplanade Park in...

Read more

Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) presents Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an...

Read more

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion 

The V&A opened the first ever UK exhibition exploring the work of Cristóbal...

Read more

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2017 exhibition, “Rei...

Read more
    1146 1141 1131
  • The Domus Moda supplement is available with Domus’ June edition

fashion after Fashion at MAD

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York presents “fashion after Fashion”, an...

Read more

Circular models

Creative reuse of the most abundant resource in the world – trash – has allowed...

Read more

Fashion 4.0 Digital materials and 3D printing: a mix of the extraordinary and the familiar

Usually, extraordinary and familiar are two adjectives at opposite sides of the spectrum....

Read more