Tuesday, 23 July 2013

UNDERCOVER

I'm sure that by now most of you are aware that I'm attracted to the more macabre aspects of high fashion - the mark of a true creative is to take an aesthetic which is traditionally seen as 'grotesque' and turn it into something strangely beautiful. Although not widely known, one of the most successful examples of this is entitled 'Guru Guru', and it comes courtesy of Japanese cult icon Jun Takahashi, founder of 'Undercover'. 



It is of course that Takahashi is not the first designer to use masks to make a statement on the runway - designers such as Viktor & Rolf have featured masks in the past and it is of course the signature look of Belgian fashion house Maison Martin Margiela, but the difference is that Takahashi's masks have been designed with horror in mind. Whilst Margiela's masks are often jewelled or made of chiffon, the masks in 'Guru Guru' are far more severe. Primarily made of leather, wool and suede, the hoods were pierced with various metal chains and spikes, underlining Takahashi's intention to establish an extreme, macabre aesthetic.
By contrast, the clothing in the collection was much softer - although there were elements of deconstruction in the designs, a lot of the looks were fabricated from cream chiffon and heavy furs. There was also little variation in terms of colour palette - hues ranged from grey to black and cream to white, but there was generally little room reserved for bolder, more cheerful colours.


Surprisingly, the combination of a lack of colour and overall identity did not result in a collection that evoked despair. Somehow, Takahashi managed to strike a perfect balance between melancholia and romanticism - there was something beautiful to be found in the layered pleats and detailed embroidery of the clothing, despite the 'grotesque' presentation of the models. The collection was a refreshing change in a world in which fashion editors were just as focused on the models as they were on the garments - by leaving his women faceless he managed to divert attention towards the clothing itself, as well as making a strong aesthetic statement that managed to endear viewers and garner (for the first time in his career) mainstream attention. 



No comments:

Post a Comment