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28-11-2006
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Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture - MOCA exhibition
moca.org

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SKIN + BONES: PARALLEL PRACTICES IN FASHION AND ARCHITECTURE
11.19.06 - 03.05.07

This exhibition explores the common visual and intellectual principles that underlie both fashion and architecture. Both disciplines start with the human body and expand on ideas of space and movement, serving as outward expressions of personal, political, and cultural identity. Architects and fashion designers produce environments defined through spatial awareness—the structures they create are based on volume, function, proportion, and material. Presenting the work of international fashion designers and architects, the exhibition examines themes such as shelter, identity, tectonic strategies, creative process, and parallel stylistic tendencies including deconstruction and minimalism. The exhibition is curated by MOCA Curator of Architecture & Design Brooke Hodge and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.


Shigeru Ban
Curtain Wall House
1995
Shigeru Ban Architects, Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan
Photo © Hiroyuki Hirai


Viktor & Rolf
Multilayered Blouse, jacket, and pants from One Woman Show
Fall/Winter 2003
Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute
Courtesy Viktor & Rolf
Photo Courtesy of Peter Stigter


Testa & Weiser
Carbon Beach House
2006
Courtesy of Testa & Weiser
© Testa & Weiser


Yoshiki Hishinuma
Inside Out 2way dress
Spring 2004
Polyester
Courtesy of Yoshiki Hishinuma
Photo © Guy Marineau


Herzog & de Meuron
Prada Aoyama Tokyo
Project 2000-01, realization 2001-2003
Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron
Photo © 2003 Todd Eberle


Hussein Chalayan
Tulle Dress # 2 (from Before Minus Now collection)
Spring/Summer 2000
Photo © Chris Moore

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newyorker.com

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FROCKS AND BLOCKS


Fashion meets architecture in Los Angeles.


by JUDITH THURMAN


Issue of 2006-12-04
Posted 2006-11-27

The fashion world is commonly accused of taking itself too seriously. An ambitious show that opened last week at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art suggests that it may not be taking itself seriously enough. “Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture” is the first exhibition of its scale and kind—more than three hundred contemporary works by forty-six mostly avant-garde architects and designers, chosen to represent what Brooke Hodge, MOCA’s curator of architecture and design, calls the “increasingly fruitful dialogue” between the two disciplines.

Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown, the architects who designed the installation, reconfigured MOCA’s cramped galleries as a spacious labyrinth. “Architecture supplies the gravitas, and fashion delivers the big bang, so that’s where we start,” Tsao told me. Mannequins, fashion videos, and a small stage set of Hussein Chalayan’s wearable living-room furniture (a telescoping wooden coffee table that becomes a skirt, and slipcovered chairs that convert into suitcases and dresses in case you have to leave town on short notice) introduce the general themes of “body,” “shelter,” and “identity.” Visitors then thread their way through exhibits of increasing complexity that compare the “tectonic strategies” (i.e. construction techniques) of both disciplines. “The clothes have a visceral impact that the buildings don’t,” Tsao acknowledged, “and only in part because they’re physically present, while the architecture is represented by models and graphics. Our profession tends to be too hermetic. It has a lot to learn about relating to actual human beings.”

An apparent likeness between human beings isn’t proof of an actual, or even mimetic, kinship, and the same is true of their creations. Do the “cables” that hoist the skirt of Yeohlee Teng’s poetic Suspension Dress relate, except semantically, to the structural engineering of Bernard Tschumi’s suspended walkways at the Parc de la Villette, in Paris? Do the pleated façade of Winka Dubbeldam’s Greenwich Street Project and a pleated day dress by Alber Elbaz have anything in common besides elegance? What about the lacy skin of Toyo Ito’s Mikimoto Tower, in Tokyo? Is it conversing with Tess Giberson’s abstract crochet work? The beauty and invention on display in “Skin + Bones” dispose one, perhaps too readily, to nodding in compliance at the alleged parallels between Martin Margiela’s disjointed patchworks and Frank Gehry’s anarchic jigsaw puzzles, or between the shard-like angles of Zaha Hadid’s Vitra fire station and the jaggedly cantilevered shirt collars by the Dutch partners Viktor & Rolf, and I was willing to suspend—or cantilever—my disbelief to perceive, in the arboreal spread of Yohji Yamamoto’s wedding gown, an effort to unite the party tent and the chuppah in one ensemble. But is one really looking at the skin and bones of a new hybrid species, or the anatomy of a metaphor?

Architecture critics have already started to grumble about the tenuous nature of the connections made in “Skin + Bones,” but the fashion world is well served by it. On the runway, inspired feats of virtuosity are all too often quickly forgotten by blasé audiences rushing to the next show. Here they are treated with informed reverence, beginning with the Russian Doll ensemble by Viktor & Rolf, which greets visitors in the first gallery. Eight mannequins on a round platform display the nesting layers, each a masterpiece of couture, that were originally fitted on a live model during Paris fashion week in 1999. In a video of the performance projected behind the clothes, the designers dress an immobile girl standing on a lazy Susan in successively heavier and more ornamental robes, transforming a nubile waif wearing the barest scrap of a jute shift into a royal mummy shrouded by a majestic cloak that seems molded of clay. It is an act of self-mockery and, perhaps, social criticism as much as an advertisement for the label: fashion as architecture entombing woman as it enshrines her.

The fashion retrospectives mounted by major art museums like the Guggenheim and the Met have typically been celebrations of a style, a period, or a couturier (often lavishly subsidized by its subject). The Frick examined the relations of costume to portraiture, and to changing standards of propriety, three years ago, in “Whistler, Women, and Fashion.” A number of specialized institutions here and abroad, including the Cooper-Hewitt and the Victoria & Albert, have entertained contemporary fashion in the context of other visual arts—and Hodge acknowledges her debt to “Intimate Architecture,” an exhibit of conceptual body-housing curated by Susan Sidlauskas, in 1982, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Hayden Gallery. But “Skin + Bones” stands to attract, if not reconcile, two camps that rarely converge in a gallery: the followers of fashion, who prefer their nests feathered, and the austere draftsmen in Bauhaus glasses, who may privately relish the charms of a scarlet woman such as fashion but balk at entertaining her in polite company. “Ten years ago, I couldn’t have organized a show like this,” Hodge told me. “Many architects would have been leery of lending their work to it. They didn’t know what avant-garde designers were doing, or assumed that it was frivolous. But the younger generation tends to know more about fashion than designers know about architecture. They’ve grown up with its influence, and the question of legitimacy doesn’t arise.”

“Skin + Bones” starts with the unexceptional premise that fashion and architecture are, if not equals, cognates—related languages with a common root. They both translate a two-dimensional pattern of abstract shapes into a seamed, three-dimensional volume. It is probable that birds’ nests and spiders’ webs inspired the first weavers and thatchers, and most of the garments ever made have been fabricated from some sort of loomed or knitted textile. Their archaic function was to provide a substitute for the scales that mammals left on the shore. The clothing of early humans (and of many contemporary nomads)—skins draped over a bony frame—was a trimmer version of their tents, though almost anything we wear could be construed, as it is in this show, as a “portable shelter.” Bikinis and burkas, in that respect, both mediate between the public and private zones of a body the way that a wall or a screen does—inviting or denying access to strangers.

Durable edifices are rarely, at least in the West, constructed of fragile materials, but “hard” and “soft” are no longer the defining properties of either architecture or fashion. The British designer Alexander McQueen is represented in the catalogue by a one-piece molded “carapace” with a metallic pony-hair fringe that resembles a yurt. Shigeru Ban’s Curtain Wall House is literally that: a Tokyo residence with a curtain wall of white drapery. Carbon Tower, a high-rise by Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser, gifted partners based in Los Angeles, is still in the planning stage, but they hope to construct it from a braided, carbon-fibre helix, which resembles a fish-net stocking. Theirs is a cityscape made sensuous by technology, rather than brutalized by it, although nothing may be more old-fashioned about visionary architecture than its utopianism.

In nearly every culture that covers its nudity and lives under a roof, fashion and architecture are vested with the power to confer status and encode identity—services that, of late, they have performed conspicuously for each other. It is almost de rigueur for a big luxury clothing brand to commission a flagship store or corporate headquarters from an architect with a museum, civic monument, or Pritzker Prize on his résumé, and the competition among the would-be Medicis of fashion to outclass one another architecturally has come to resemble a medieval joust. The French mogul Bernard Arnault reportedly enlisted Frank Gehry to design the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation’s contemporary-arts center after Karl Lagerfeld warned him that Tadao Ando, a knight high on Arnault’s list, had been tapped by an arch-rival, François Pinault, of P.P.R., which owns the Gucci Group. The Prada boutiques in SoHo and Beverly Hills were designed by OMA/Rem Koolhaas. But Prada, for its six-level emporium in Tokyo (don’t call it a department store; it’s an “epicenter”), jilted Koolhaas for the Swiss firm of Herzog & de Meuron. Their five-sided, diamond-faceted, nib-shaped edifice with “bubblewrap” windows has become a landmark in Tokyo’s Aoyama district, and Hodge includes it with two other starred attractions on a shopping tour of that city: Toyo Ito’s Mikimoto Tower and his retail space for Tod’s—a lyrical trellis of concrete and glass on Omotesando Avenue that mirrors the Japanese elms on the sidewalk. Architecture has bequeathed to fashion marketing the notion of an aesthetically coherent—though one might also say micromanaged—environment. It sometimes makes one nostalgic for the chaos of the souk.

The disparities between fashion and architecture are, if anything, heightened by proximity: one trades in ephemerality, the other in permanence; their cultural prestige is grossly unequal, but inversely proportional to the name recognition of their stars; a great building might take a decade to build, a great collection takes at most six months to make, and it isn’t paid for up front. Even the most cerebral garments in the show—Isabel Toledo’s ingenious, circular Packing Dress; the digitally designed origami Bellows dresses by Yoshiki Hishinuma; Junya Watanabe’s Objet collection; Ralph Rucci’s exquisite couture mosaics; the seamless sculptures by Miyake Issey and Nanni Strada (an undeservedly obscure Milanese industrial designer in her sixties who “loves fashion and hates the fashion world,” she told me)—are constructed by methods that a civilian can comprehend. But the distorted “oblique projections” that produced the elevations for Preston Scott Cohen’s dream-like Torus house, planned for Old Chatham, New York (“a doughnut shape generated by revolving a circle along a coplanar axis”), or the theory behind Peter Eisenman’s unbuilt Rebstockpark residential and commercial development in Frankfurt (based on “the idea of the ‘fold’ as set forth by the chaos-theorist René Thom and philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s examination of Gottfried Leibniz’s monad”), might as well be rocket science.

Revolutions in construction and fabric technology have made it possible for architects to incorporate techniques like folding, pleating, wrapping, printing, braiding, and draping, though none of these are new to fashion, and, with a few exceptions, the designers work with the traditional tools of tailoring and dressmaking, putting them to wildly playful or subversive use. Conventional high fashion appeals to a client who finds a designer’s style congenial to her body and her life. The clothing in “Skin + Bones” is perhaps most akin to architecture in its appropriation of the body as a site. On it or around it, the designer constructs a singular and demanding conceptual garment that attracts notice for its own unsettling distinction. You wear it less because it suits you than because you are proud to uphold—literally—its principles.

The architects and designers in the show represent twenty-four nationalities, though the Japanese are proportionally the largest contingent. Their prominence is not an accident. They are less beholden to Western canons of design, and their tradition doesn’t discriminate between the fine and the applied arts. Hodge began thinking about the parallels between the disciplines six years ago, when she organized an exhibition at Harvard of Rei Kawakubo’s radically warped and distressed work for Comme des Garçons. Kawakubo and the companion of her youth, Yohji Yamamoto, have never collaborated professionally, but they are the Eve and Adam from whose loins the contemporary fashion avant-garde was born. Their first shows in Paris, like Gehry’s buildings, changed the urban landscape—though in both cases you had to be in the right neighborhood to see them.

Most of the architects in “Skin + Bones” emerged at about the same time, the early nineteen-eighties—a period of experiments with “deconstruction.” Jacques Derrida coined the term in his writing on linguistics, and parallel essays in the show’s catalogue—on architecture, by Hodge, and on fashion, by Patricia Mears, of the Fashion Institute of Technology—treat that pliable theory as the show’s intellectual bridge. As Mears notes, references to “deconstructed” clothing appeared in fashion criticism in the early nineteen-nineties, to describe the next, and predominantly Belgian, wave of iconoclasm—in particular, Martin Margiela’s fusion of structure and ornament, and his mythical vestiary of mutant garments. Like Kawakubo, and, indeed, most of the participants in “Skin + Bones,” he dismantled, ruptured, fractured, or fragmented, then reconfigured, not only clothing or buildings but the traditional logic behind them, which suddenly ceased to seem inevitable.

For anyone who can’t get to Los Angeles between now and March, when the show closes, the catalogue, “Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture” (Thames & Hudson; $50) is worth the investment. Some graphic designers now call themselves “information architects,” though Tracey Shiffman, who laid out the catalogue, isn’t one of them. She deserves the title, however, if for nothing else than for giving such innovative thought to the ergonomics of reading. The text is set in parallel columns separated by a channel, where the footnotes and captions are printed in contrasting ink. It spares the eye tedious travel back and forth or up and down to fetch its references from a well. And the catalogue, like the show it documents, proposes a definition of shelter that includes a habitat for experiment where a family of ideas—unsimple and rivalrous, like all families—can dwell.

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calendarlive.com

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MOCA's 'Skin + Bones' ends up feeling thin


By Christopher Hawthorne, Times Staff Writer

On the evening of Sept. 10, 2001, Frank Gehry had dinner at a restaurant in Lower Manhattan with the Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, for whom he'd just finished a boutique nearby, and Herbert Muschamp, then the architecture critic for the New York Times. Gehry and Miyake were just one of many creative pairs emerging from a new collaboration between architecture and fashion. Muschamp was at the height of his influence as a kingmaker in architecture.

But the terrorist attacks of the next day began a chain of developments that exposed a fundamental myopia at the center of the alliance between celebrity, fashion, architecture and the media. The rebuilding process at ground zero slowed to a halt as celebrity architects proved far better at proposing dazzling pieces of architectural fashion for the site than forging productive links with planners or politicians, and as Muschamp and other critics failed entirely to clarify key issues for their readers. A similarly disheartening process has unfolded in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. And many of the buildings produced by the fashion-architecture juggernaut — particularly Rem Koolhaas' Prada store in SoHo — now look like gaudy relics of a distant, carefree age.

"Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture," which opens Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary Art, represents a curious return to a Sept. 10 view of the world and architecture's place in it. The exhibition, organized by Brooke Hodge, MOCA's curator of architecture and design, is keenly arranged and ambitiously large. Taken on its own terms, it's a rich investigation of the ways fashion and architecture have inspired one another since the early 1980s, when an interest in the deconstructionist literary theory of Jacques Derrida and others — and related themes such as fragmentation, mannered imperfection, tearing and splintering — sparked new creative energy in both fields.

It is also visually stunning: Perhaps taking a cue from the Darwinian aestheticism of the fashion world, the architectural models here, by firms including Zaha Hadid, Foreign Office Architects, Office dA and Bernard Tschumi, are sleeker and better looking than the ones populating a typical museum show. And the clothes, by Alexander McQueen, Isabel Toledo, Rei Kawakubo, Olivier Theyskens and Yeohlee Teng, among many others, come straight from the cutting edge of contemporary fashion.

But for all its narcotic gorgeousness, "Skin + Bones" is marked by a curious blend of innocence and self-satisfaction — a preening, let-them-eat-cake hermeticism that suggests it would prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the ways in which architecture has been forced in the last five years to reshape and redefine itself in response to external forces, not the least terrorism but also environmental destruction and rapid urbanization. For a show about interdisciplinary creativity and hybrid practice, this one is oddly sealed off from the world at large.

It opens with a display of dresses by the Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf, from their 1999-2000 "Russian Doll" collection, arranged on a circular platform. The dress facing the entrance is a simple, sack-like design in jute. It is a smart choice to kick off a show on architecture and fashion, suggesting, as it does, the idea that at base both fields are concerned with sheltering the body. The dress is the equivalent of architecture's so-called primitive hut.

The dresses on the platform grow more elaborate from one to the next, gaining ornament, color and pattern. By the time you get to the last one, the fabric has grown bulky enough to swallow the head of the mannequin it's displayed on. (The dresses were designed to be worn one atop the other, hence the "Russian doll" reference.) A trip from minimalism to mannerism and back again, the installation offers an effective summary of the cycles that both architecture and fashion spin through — and of the complicated relationship both fields maintain with the idea of function.

From there the exhibition opens up into several thematic sections, pairing dresses and architectural projects under rubrics including Identity, Folding, Wrapping, Geometry and Draping. Some of the connections Hodge draws between the two fields are aesthetic — Koolhaas' public library in Seattle is wrapped in a steel-and-glass facade that has been compared to fishnet stockings — while others grow from experiments in new materials and technology. The L.A.-based architects Peter Testa and Devyn Weiser are at work on a new structural system that would weave buildings out of carbon-fiber strands.

But there are many fascinating threads that Hodge simply never picks up. The return of ornament and decoration in architecture, reflecting trends in fashion as well as furniture and product design, is among the most obvious. A dress by Theyskens for Rochas, for example, has a black-on-black pattern that is uncannily similar to the walls of the auditorium in Herzog & de Meuron's expanded Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, a project finished last year that is not included in the exhibition.

Another connection never made concerns the intense interest in craft among many young architects and designers. The crochet-chic work of New York designer Tess Giberson is represented here, but the other side of the equation — notably Droog, the Dutch product and furniture design group, and the DIY aesthetic that inspires Readymade magazine and Alabama's Rural Studio — is missing in action.

The bigger problem lies at the very heart of the show's thesis, with the notion that deconstruction has been a liberating, generative force for architecture. In the show's catalog, Hodge writes that it opened up "new ways of thinking about and building the architecture [of] the future."

At the time of its arrival, in the mid-1980s, it must have seemed so; the Postmodern architecture of the era had begun to grow soft, Disneyfied and superficial, and the toughness of work by Gehry, Thom Mayne, Daniel Libeskind, Hadid and others represented a new avenue of exploration and emphasis for architects, critics and clients alike. A similar process occurred in fashion, as Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto — and, later, European designers including Martin Margiela — brought a bracing, anti-nostalgic sharpness to dressmaking, though their work probably owed more to Johnny Rotten than Derrida.

At least in architecture, however, that avenue turned out to be a dead end. Rather than opening up new means of communication between architects and the world, what came to be known, after a 1988 Museum of Modern Art show on the subject, as "deconstructivism" — still decon for short — took the field in a solipsistic, esoteric direction. Architects such as Tschumi and Peter Eisenman and leading scholars became mired in purely academic debates and produced a few forbidding buildings to go with a steady supply of impenetrable critical essays.

The result was a field willfully isolated from the real world, real clients and real cities and increasingly obsessed with listening to itself spin out tendentious Francophile theory. It wasn't until architects such as Gehry — and a new, younger generation — discovered digital design tools and rejected the decon school's prohibition of beauty and clarity that architecture began to thrive again.


Rem Koolhaas’ library recalls fishnet stockings.
(MOCA)


Testa & Weiser’s “Carbon Tower” (2004), from the MOCA exhibition “Skin + Bones,” opening Sunday.
(Testa & Weiser / MOCA)


Alexander McQueen’s multicolored dress from “It’s Only a Game”; behind it, Greg Lynn’s bright-red “Blob Wall.”
(Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)


Peter Eisenman’s model for the Max Reinhardt Haus, left, and Yeohlee Teng’s “infanta skirt/bodysuit.”
(Lawrence K. Ho / LAT)



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A glimpse of the Skin + Bones exhibit.


style.com

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29-11-2006
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ah...DV...you and I must be on the same wavlength as I was just reading about this the other day but couldn't find pics so I can post...

thank you for this

I think this is great! I really believe as constructivism/tailoring is a tremendous part of the design process in fashion,architecture is a perfect relationship with fashion.

was there any pics with Tess' work or any of the Belgians?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott
ah...DV...you and I must be on the same wavlength as I was just reading about this the other day but couldn't find pics so I can post...

thank you for this

I think this is great! I really believe as constructivism/tailoring is a tremendous part of the design process in fashion,architecture is a perfect relationship with fashion.

was there any pics with Tess' work or any of the Belgians?
My pleasure

I posted most of the pictures I could find. The only ones I didn't include were from the gallery guide (pdf format) and none were pics of Tess or the Belgians.

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i don't have time to read through all the articles at the moment but from what i briefly skimmed and from the pictures you provided this looks very interesting..

thanks for the thread

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i higly recommend checking it out if you ever in the area, i was really impressed

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very intersting!
thank you Dos for posting!

yes yes..architecture influences fashion and vice versa. i, like scott also believes in the great connection between these two different types of design.

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This is an interesting article. Pictures are impressive and inspiring too. You've made me yearning to visit museums.

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I just got back from this exhibit, it was phenomenal. The entire MOCA was dedicated to the exhibit, it was huge! and it was so creative and innovative and helped me think about fashion and architecture in a way i hadn't before.

the way they compared things like draping and pleating, i cant even put it into words, maybe its too soon after but it was great. As a fashion lover it was great to see things like the Chalayan skirt/table in person, but again, it helped draw parallels between things you wouldnt even think of, an Olivier Theyskins dress and a Frank Gehry building. They even had every single piece of the Victor & Rolf Baruska doll collection and accompanying runway videos when needed

If you are in the LA area or will be by March 4th, please go to this exhibit, its soooooo worth it.

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guardian.co.uk

Quote:
Foundation garments

Jonathan Glancey
Wednesday April 16, 2008
The Guardian


Minimal, elaborate, excessive - and then back again. This is the pattern that architectural fashion, which the most earnest disciples of modernism in the 1920s hoped to abolish, has tended to follow.

Architecture might be slow-moving compared with fashion, yet in its epochal way it can move in similar cycles. Decoration is the vogue one moment, minimalism the next. Just occasionally, architects let rip in the most unexpected ways, as Antoni Gaudí did with his modernismo a century ago, and as Daniel Libeskind and Zaha Hadid did with their deconstructivist designs in the 1990s. And as Marc Jacobs has, with a pair of unexpectedly heeled shoes for spring/summer 2008. Is this Jacobs' take on deconstructivism - 1950s shoes that appear to have been ripped apart and reassembled?

Many of us will remember with relief the time when the flamboyant, vulgar postmodern architecture of the late 1970s to mid-1980s gave way to a refreshing, pared-down form. Around the same time, shoulder-padded "power" fashion was ousted by the sleek cut of designers such as Jil Sander and Helmut Lang, as well as the more obviously "architectural" clothes of Miuccia Prada. All three designers were very much the choice of fashionable young(ish) architects of the time.

The connection between the two disciplines is age-old. At a time when Europeans sought to construct the very highest spires to crown their churches, so French and Burgundian ladies took to wearing improbably tall, coned hats. And when chaste Palladian design gave way to rococo excess in the mid-18th century, so fashion - particularly in France - went ever so slightly over the top. Portraits of grand French ladies, notably of Marie Antoinette, display enormously wide, extravagantly decorated dresses that look like the facade of a flamboyant contemporary building. Young English dandies took to wearing absurdly high wigs, as decadent as the flounciest rococo architecture.

Shortly after Marie Antoinette lost her head once and for all, French fashion slimmed down to a kind of architectural size zero. In swept a form of Greek Revival dress - white muslin, high waistlines and little sleeves that made women resemble classical columns. Perhaps that was the point: rows of Greek columns were the nouvelle vague of the Napoleonic day.

Modernism sought the ultimate paring-down of buildings - along with clothes, music, art and what-have-you. The trouble is, once everything has been reduced to an absolute minimum - architecture by Mies van der Rohe, the littlest of little black dresses - where else is there to go?

Take a look at Hussein Chalayan. Highly structured dresses from his autumn/winter 2007 collection open up and out like drawbridges; a nylon tulle puffball from 2000 might be a freestanding sculpture. Chalayan also designed an "aircraft" dress from hi-tech materials, with flaps - ailerons? - to vary its look. His provocative clothes are part of a new trend in architecture, art and engineering, one that explores advanced geometry, new materials and radical structures - and has some fun while prodding the future.

· Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture is at Somerset House, London WC2, from April 24 until August 10. Details: 020-7845 4600

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The relationship between fashion and architecture is not a particularly oblique one. Both are based on structure, shape and prettying up basic necessities - clothes and shelter. The relationship between fashion and architects is less discussed. Yet even a glance at your garden-variety modern architect proves this is a group who are just as style-conscious as fashion designers. Hadley Freeman dissects their fashion choices:

Here we see Zaha Hadid proving that her aesthetic inclinations with regards to buildings are echoed in her wardrobe. In this photo, Hadid is standing next to a sculpture she made for the Serpentine Gallery in 2007. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg question: which came first, the dress or the artwork?
Photograph: Frank Baron


Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius established the look that has become Modern Architect Chic. Here we see the I-don’t-work-in-a-proper- office jackets and the I’m-a-bit-artistic bow ties that originated with this duo. Gropius’s bow tie is a little floppier than one would expect from the founder of Bauhaus (right), but Le Corbusier’s pulled-together look is surely what one would expect of a man who used to design whole cities for a giggle
Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis


Golly, do you reckon this chap gives much thought to his look? It’s just so insouciant - if I’m right in thinking insouciant is French for ‘more obsessively cultivated than a bonsai tree’. From the tips of his spiky hair to the heels of his trademark cowboy boots, Daniel Libeskind’s outfit couldn’t scream MODERN ARCHITECT any louder if it stood in the street and bellowed through a megaphone
Photograph: Sarah Lee


Richard Rogers’ look rocks. The laid-back holiday style might seem at first a surprising diversion from standard Modern Architect Chic. But those of us in the know see a man who dresses like his buildings. I once bumped into Rogers in the Pompidou Centre, which is a plain structure encased in primary coloured detailings. Rogers wore a white suit with a bright yellow jacket: he was the human embodiment of his work
Photograph: Eamonn McCabe


If ever anyone wanted to prove that architects are more style-conscious than fashion designers, here’s the evidence: Future Systems’ Amanda Levete (left) competely outshining Stella McCartney. Where McCartney has gone for her usual all-black tailoring, Levete goes for a more interesting look that echoes her work. Note the precision with which she draws her black cuff s over the sleeves of her white coat. That schtick ain’t accidental, you know
Photograph: Dave M Benett/Getty Images


Nigel Coates is a rare thing indeed: an openly gay architect. And, as sure as night follows day, he is by far the most fashionable of the bunch. Look at him here, all the way back in 1998, working that Doctor Who look almost a decade before most of us had even heard of David Tennant. In classic architect style, he clearly cares about details: note how his cuffs peek out of his sleeves at exactly the same length on each side and tie perfectly matches jacket
Photograph: PA


Bravely ignoring US Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s recent diktat, Norman Foster embraces the matchy-matchy look. Devotees of Trinny and Susannah will applaud the way Foster lengthens his leg by matching his trousers to his shoes. Every one else will muse distractedly on whether he has a different pair of shoes for each pair of trousers. Some may be surprised by his traditional attire. But as his full title is Baron Foster of Thames Bank, one feels it is a look that suits the man
Photograph: Graham Turner


Peter Eisenman is quite possibly my favourite of the lot. With the tie, the braces and, of course, the circular glasses, Eisenman's most obvious inspiration is Le Corbusier, but, with his penchant for Richard Rogers-esque bright colours, he sometimes looks a little more like a Technicolour Magritte. Most delightful is that, no matter how bright the tie and braces, his facial expression is always one of steadfast solemnity
Photograph: Louie Psihoyos/Corbis


Mike Davies has been having a hard time. Two words: Terminal Five. So who can blame the man for feeling the need to cheer himself up by wearing head-to-toe red, his signature style? You may not be surprised to hear that he works with Richard Rogers. But he is more hardline than his boss and sticks firmly to his beloved scarlet
Photograph: Dan Stevens/Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

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I saw this exhibit! It was stunning.

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All frills: Dresses by Junya Watanabe and Hussein Chalayan, above, parallel the design of the Forum for
Music, Dance, and Visual Culture, in Ghent, Belgium (unbuilt), by Toyo Ito and Andrea Branzi, below. (top photo: Richard Bryant/Arcaid; bottom: Toyo Ito & Associates)


themoment.blogs.nytimes.com
Quote:
...the Embankment Galleries of Somerset House are currently home to “Skin and Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture.” The exhibition, which originated at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and was organized by Brooke Hodge, its architecture and design curator (and a new addition to The Moment’s roster of bloggers), examines the relationship between the two disciplines, in an installation designed expressly for Somerset House by the noted London architect Eva Jiricna. Organized by themes like shelter, folding, and pleating, the exhibition juxtaposes clothing — by designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, and Vivienne Westwood — with models, plans, and photographs of buildings by architects like Shigeru Ban, Foreign Office Architects, and Herzog & de Meuron. Seeing only representations of buildings can put them at a disadvantage next to the clothes, but sometimes it works perfectly, as when a model for Toyo Ito and Andrea Branzi’s sculptural design for the Forum for Music, Dance, and Visual Culture in Ghent, Belgium is displayed near a cocoon-like dress by Junya Watanabe, and another, by Hussein Chalayan, that looks like a topiary of tulle flowers.

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