Wednesday, September 27, 2006

the runway shows of laura & malan

& early 20th century fashion

Two of the Project Runway designers, Laura Bennett and Malan Breton, have talked about being inspired by fashion icons and images of the early twentieth century.
Specifically, both designers have mentioned Josephine Baker as a fashion icon and Malan described his show as being inspired by the Folies Bergère.

I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at this topic. It is important to note that inspirations for collections are not the same thing as recreating an exact replica (see my earlier post on Jackie O: “stuck in the past”). For this reason my approach to this subject was to look for the ways that the collections “quoted” or alluded to the fashions of the first three decades of the 20th century.

A note on how I’ve organized my material : I have three different layers of information depending on your level of interest:

First, I have created a type of collage that is comprised of fashions that place images from Laura and Malan’s collections side by side with images from the early twentieth century. These are grouped around three interrelated themes: flappers, follies and feathers. This form is a more instinctive and unstructured way of considering the various connections. Click here or just read down to the post that follows this one (below).

Second, I have written a post that has a closer examination of Laura and Malan’s use of a particular fashion item: the harem pant. Click here or read down to the second post that follows this one (below).

Third, if you are interested in getting a more detailed history (e.g., Who created the harem pant? What inspired it? Where does it fit into fashion history?) you can click on links that will take you to more in-depth entries that define and discuss specific terms, topics, and people.

You can click on the above items to read each topic separately. If you wish to read these entries continuously click here to go to the kora in hell | arts section.

Take a look and see what you think. What kinds of connections do you see? What is allusion and what is replication? What's interesting -- or not -- to you? How much does this really have to do with Josephine Baker and/or the Folies Bergere? How do you see them updating fashions that are now nearly a century old?

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