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Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture

November 11, 2009

Hodge, Brooke.  Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture. Thames and Hudson: Los Angeles, CA

Despite the differences in scale, materials, or durability, fashion and architecture both start from the human body.  The same ideologies, theoretical foundations, technological innovations, etc. have influenced both; the parallels are the subject of this catalogue, which is from an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA.

Recently, architects have begun to pay closer attention to fashion design, because of 1) retailers of fashion hiring architects, which forces them to get to know their clientele, and 2) architecture has looked to fashion for inspiration with the dawn of modeling software.

There is much evidence of a convergence between the disciplines.  Similarities in structure and style have stemmed from similar techniques of construction and the spirit of the age.  There have been fashion designers, like Hussein Chayalan, who have blurred the boundary between architecture and clothing.  Is a table only a table, or can it be a dress?  The creative processes are also similar – both use models, although they are often at very different scales.  Methods of representation are also very similar.  One very good example of architecture and fashion teaming together is with Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser’s work into technical textiles.  The materials, including carbon fiber and prepreg tape are useful as both garments and in architecture.

Fraying the Edges: Fashion and Deconstruction

Deconstruction is characterized by an unfinished, loose look, sometimes appearing as poverty, devastation, or an affront to the normal, recognized appearance of the day.  There is a desire in this style for a break-away design that empowers the wearer to a new strength.

Deconstruction was seen as antifemale and antiestablishment in its premier years, and this is because of its lack of ‘beauty’ in the traditional sense.  Rei Kawakubo, however, finds the power of her designs in their rebelliousness, not in the beauty.  Indeed it is a push away from what many others find safe and normal, including feminists.  This style ranges from protest to poetry.

More to come…

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