I t takes a very astute artist to work with the nuances of something such as material placement. Those unfamiliar with Japanese calligraphy might see a beautiful arrangement of strokes and sweeps to fill the page, but those who are more intimately knowledgeable with the art actually understand what one is appreciating: it is not the strokes created but the spaces left behind that makes the calligraphy into what is classified as art. In fashion, for the designer...especially the influential designer that borders on being a true artist...the art of placement is no small feat. What seems like simple asymmetry and layering, with a cut here and a slash there, is all very carefully conceived. Each component and its carefully chosen position rises to fulfill what the designer imagines should be when looking for artistic perfection. And each space, each part left naked or exposed, each portion left uncovered, is also carefully chosen. To the untrained eye it seems pleasing yet we don't know quite why,. However, the artist knows that balance and proportion are crucial to making it as natural as nature itself. Its execution is one that is well measured without being forced or contrived.
In our current world, fake news is combated with clarification and information. Our privacy has become a precious commodity that has been challenged and is now being fought over. To reveal or to not is the current debate. Should you know what i like and what I don't? How much of my opinions or personal life should anyone have access to? And on social media...do I want to know how many followers I have? Do you? And what if I don't want to follow everyone...or be followed? Issues of privacy and control of information and image have become a growing presence in our interaction when looking at our activities and persona, especially as we now are conducting more and more of our daily lives online. We now take more time to consider the impact of our exposure as well as thew implications when holding too much back. As we debate over what we can and should reveal, this becomes a new personal "art"; it is one of personal space. The quest to control, if you will. We've seen the discussion of sharing, oversharing, sharing false, curated profiles, playing with showing the "real" selves in response, and even calling out the falsities in our quest for authenticity and getting to the truth. We've seen celebrities oscillate between abandoning social media only to come back and regroup with a better plan of what to share to retain integrity. We fight for privacy and surrender ourselves as a commodity as part of contractual obligations for web-based trade without even realizing how prevalent it is. But this "art" is so natural, it's become a normal part of modern living. We have all become editors of our existence. And (you guessed it) fashion seems to tap into this, finding symbolism that responds materially and appropriately. But it is on purpose or subliminal? Is it that automatic, that we create art so harmoniously and universally without even realizing it?
Well, when it comes to shapes, colours and forms, we as a social animal tend to be rather typical in that regard. So, whether it is conscious or not, fashion is showing the art of curated revealing in collections that have been out for the past several months. It can be expressed in the use of degrees of sheer, in the way something is purposefully revealed or not in cut, and how much is revealed when playing with cuts and opaqueness in layers. So many variations but the key theme is careful, measured placement (and what is not covered), and we see this in a lot of what has been shown in fashion so far. We see it in 2020 Resort collections from 3.1 Phillip Lim (here, middle image), Balmain (here), Christopher Esber (here), David Koma (here), Dior (here), Juanjo Oliva (here and here), Karla Spetic (here and here), Lorod (here), Monse (here), Nadya Dzyak (here), Sid Neigum (here), Stella McCartney (here) and Threeasfour (here). In 2020 Spring Summer collections, this was seen at A Cold Wall (here), ACNE (here and here), Alexander Wang (here), Automatism (here), again Balmain (here), Barbara Bui (here; first image), Craig Green (here), Daniel Rozsahegyi (here and here), Feng Chen Wang (here), Ji Oh (here; first image), Kenzo (here), Loewe (here), Louis Vuitton (here), Ludovic de Saint Sernin (here, here and here), Mowalola (here), NIHL by Neil Grotzinger (here and here), Ozai N Ku (here), Peter Do (here and here), Phillipp Plein (here), Sacai (here), Stefan Cooke (here) and Y Project (here). It was seen at Fall Winter 2019 Haute Couture from Antonio Grimaldi (here), Fendi (here), Iris Van Herpen (here), JP Gaultier (here), Maison Margiela (here and here), Maria Aristidou (here) and Ronald van der Kemp (here); from recent custom work by Elena Velez (here) and Ottolinger (here) ; from ready-to-wear offerings by Gelareh Designs (here) and Pirosmani (here); from 2019 graduate collections by Cansel Alil (here), Celine Zara (here), Jacob Arkell (here), Jessica Semple (here), Ji Hoo Kim (here and here) and Meemi Akthar (here); and on Project Runway from up-and-comer Sandhya Garg (here and here).
Across the internet from all levels of fashion the unified play finds collective understanding of a world we are struggling to find a place in. It's a carefully choreographed, well-thought-out, measured and yet inviting place at that, and with this a delicate balance that speaks volumes of the two worlds we inhabit: one being the virtual world where our personas are crafted with earnest, and the other the actual physical world where the consequences play out with trepidation.