18 December 2010

Swiss Textiles Award

Spring 2011
Competition Winner

London-based designer Mary Katrantzou won the Swiss Textiles Award last month, joining the ranks of highly-esteemed past winners including Alexander Wang and Raf Simons.  Taking her inspiration from fashion photography and the relationship between fashion and its surroundings, Katrantzou decided to use her dresses as the space for decoration, rather than placing her dresses into a decorative space.  Beautifully colourful digital prints, trompe l'œil effects that would make Margiela jealous, and with beading and fringing thrown in for good measure, her collection was technically stunning in its execution.  Her clever use of digital technology to create highly illusionary depth and the resulting collection, which was amazing to say the least, clearly cemented her position as the winner.

Hearing the individual designers speak in the video above, from Vogue Italia, I was fascinated by the varying approaches to their respective collections.  Just from hearing the designers talk, without consideration of the actual collections themselves, I found myself attracted to certain collections more than others.  A designer tend to be revered more for their vision rather than their actual work, however the work obviously needs to be of a high standard to be truly brilliant (although apparently Damien Hirst somehow seems to slip past that one - seriously man, just stop, for me, please).

Whilst the end product (or at least images of the end product) are what the majority of consumers see and consider, I have always been interested in finding out more - regardless of whether I am purchasing a jacket or a camera, I want to know as much as I can about what I am buying.  In terms of fashion I would prefer to buy from designers whose vision I respect and connect with, provided of course the garment suits me, fits me, and is well-constructed.  The design process is important, not simply the design, for in wearing the garment, you need to consider the garment as an object itself rather than just as an image or piece of visual design.  I would like to know how it was created, what inspired it, who the designer was, simply because if I am to use it as part of an intimate personal expression I want to choose carefully.    

I found Katrantzou's description of her collection interesting in its specificity.  Taking inspiration from "rooms" she created a very literal, yet highly creative and technical, collection.  Her use of prints and trompe l'œil effects (who could forget those dresses a while back that were adorned with printed jewels?) undoubtedly lend themselves to very literal interpretations of an inspiration point, and it certainly allows for coherent and interesting collections.  And yet I do wonder where her process will take her, in that she will inevitably have to create more and something more spectacular (or perhaps something understated).

Inspired by Snoop Dogg...seriously Mr Kimmel?  Thankfully the collection was rather quite nice, but Snoop Dogg?  The less said about that, the better.

Jason Wu?  Meh.

Duro Olowu?  You talk like a contestant from Project Runway.  Oh and "I love textiles" - wow, a fashion designer that likes textiles...my mind = blown.  I wish there was a sarcasm font.

Spring 2011

Movement and lightness were the basis for Juun's collection, which as you will know from a previous post, I absolutely loved.  I always find it interesting to consider the two ostensibly opposing ends of inspiration for collection.  On the one end you have a very specific idea and reference point, such as Katrantzou's inspiration from rooms, on the other you have general ideas around which the designer works, as was the case with Juun.  Of course in the latter instance there will always be a specific idea behind each specific collection, it is simply not as literal.  So the two approaches are not diametrically opposed, but merely different paths to an end.  Trends generally require the first approach, for replication and dissemination of an idea using a highly specific, yet seasonally interchangeable, reference point is easier than a specific designer's highly individualized aesthetic.

Spring 2011

My love of Damir's work is no secret, and although Katrantzou deserved the award, I do rather wish he had won.  Hearing Damir talk about his work always interests me, in that his process is organic and intellectual, which I really admire (click here for the scoute interview).  As with Juun, I like the fact that he does not create such 'literal' collections, for want of a better phrase, but rather expands on his own ideas and personality.  I am not saying that collections ought to be autobiographical in order to be good, but rather that I admire designers who have such a strong point of view and individual aesthetic.  His construction and fabric choices, from what I have handled, are second to none.  I just need to start saving my pennies for one of the infinity coats...

Currently playing: All Along - Kid Cudi 



  1. Such unique designs. Love the orange jacket the male model was wearing.

  2. The fabric and designs in the girl's dresses are so beautiful! The guy's clothes are pretty spectacular too! Hope you're well and happy holidays to you DK!!!

  3. I loved Katranzou's designs. So creative, yet wearable.

    Your writing style is very enviable! Haven't visited your blog in a while, but love it as always,