Sunday, December 26, 2010

musings on minimalism and the avant garde

Rereading the book “The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute: FASHION,” has lead me to start meditating upon the minimalism and how it, historically, evolved within fashion. “FASHION” features clothing from the 1700s all the way to the 1990s, all of which are kept in the Kyoto Costume Institute. So much of the fabric is incredibly colorful, with elaborate patterns in luxurious fabrics. Like the modern day avant garde, and while I am generalizing here, clothing from the early 1910s used bright fabrics, coordinating and clashing fabrics that mimicked the Japanese kimonos (pulling from the exotic for Western clothing) and the relaxing silhouette that would lead to the corset-less ‘20s and the bias cut jersey and silk ‘30s.

With the ‘60s referencing pop art and the ‘70s with psychedelic art, the opulence of the ‘80s, the 90s would create something completely different- dresses that were either slim simple silhouettes or avant garde clothes that completely obscured the body. Using a stark color palette of black, grey, white or navy, designers like Jil Sander used less to create more, with slim silhouettes and almost no color. This in turn led to Japanese avant garde, which disregarded the idea of enhancing the figure but creating wearable art as clothing. See Undercover, Yohji Yamamoto and Commes Des Garcons. Look at Yohji Yamamoto, so modern in creation but his design so obviously references the couturiers of the '50s.

Yohji Yamamoto

Junya Watanabe for Commes des Garcons

Consider this a minimalism look (for myself). A vintage chemise, white shirt, black tights and mayle black/navy clogs. I recently got stitches on my stomach, right where all of my high waisted skirts and belts hit. I’ve been wearing almost no color- really just black, white and grey, in flowing and unfitted outfits with interesting shapes.

Black white grey navy, uniform like, restrained only in color, but not in creativity or shape or design.

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