This was a wedding dress I bought in an op shop last year. I wanted to explore with students in a design studio I taught some aspects of this dress I felt were particular to special occasionwear such as its weight and volume, as well as the act of dressing; actually getting into the dress and what this entails. I subsequently unpicked the whole thing with a view to using the fabric but before doing so put it on the mannequin to take a photo. When I took it off the shapes it made struck me as interesting and so I styled these pictures. I’ve enjoyed having them up on my wall because of the tension I feel when I work between pragmatic red carpet designing, where I sometimes fear I’m veering dangerously close to knocking off whatever Elie Saab did last, and pursuing a “truer” (what does this mean?) kind of creativity, that is influenced by a more “pure” experimentation, perhaps influenced by the form of the materials themselves, and that is not beholden to western conventions of body conscious design.
Below, a quote from The Cutting Class, Wedding Cliches at Comme des Garcons referring to the Comme des Garcons SS12 collection.
But as ever with Comme des Garçons, the rebellion is in the execution. Where you would normally find carefully hand bound edges and french seams on a wedding gown, there was instead roughly cut necklines leaving exposed slabs of wadding. When giant-sized, voluptuous silken bows were used, they were used in a strangely creepy way, binding the models hands together. When boning was used to give the gowns structure it was not hidden discreetly away beneath layers of fine silk, it was instead made into an exterior cage that seemed to be constructed out of plastic boning and wadding.
And below, my photos of that particular collection which is currently exhibited (in fabulous plastic bubbles of course) at Les Docks, Paris. The “rebellion in the execution” was further highlighted in this exhibition which has been deliberately paired with another exhibition of Christóbal Balenciaga’s archive, featuring original haute couture pieces as well costume references held by Balenciaga that served as inspiration.