On each and every garment from Geoffrey B. Small’s “Logomania” collection, as they were displayed in his showroom at the last floor of the Espace Saint Martin, Paris, badges could be seen, of various dimensions, all representing the same nuclear symbol barred in red – an aggressive graphism, creating a violent contrast with the delicate fabrics they were pinned on. And this bold reminder of Geoffrey’s strong dedication to the antinuclear cause may indeed have looked, at first sight, quite outlandish amid all these illustrations of timeless refinement. But this was not the case, as one was progressively induced to admit ; because the barred symbol and the refined clothes were basically making a similar statement.
After goth_ik (FW10), neurbanvölker (SS10), canon #2 protection_ism (FW09), canon # possessed (SS09), Japanese designer Tatsuro Horikawa is back with a Spring Summer collection named Chaos ; ontological anarchism, which is his 5th collection to take place in Paris Fashion week (even if the brand dates from 2001). Ontological anarchy is a concept by Hakim Bey, an American writer (his true name is Peter Lamborn Wilson) whose most famous work is The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism (1991). In this book, Bey argues that chaos is primordial, chaos is life, and that, on the contrary, the vision of the world as an ordered whole (a very Ancient Greek viewpoint) is a sad illusion and a bad starting point to build a civilization. Despite the efforts of the states and other rules-makers to lock human beings in so-called ‘legitimate’ institutions and ‘natural’ normative frameworks, ‘chaos never died’, and free individual moves are still possible. It's about time, then, to celebrate the dawn of the main established values and rules, and to "wake up, and create our own day—even in the shadow of the State, that pustulant giant who sleeps, and whose dreams of Order metastatize as spasms of spectacular violence" ('Ontological Anarchy in a Nutshell', 1993).
Damir Doma has asserted his originality and established his reputation with two initial gestures : the introduction of oversized, egg-shaped cuts (“infinity cut”) in FW 09, marking his splitting with the dominant aesthetics inherited from the Hedi Slimane era, joining the line of designers playing with volume, such as Yohji Yamamoto – along with the spectacular introduction of color in SS 10, which once and for all dragged him out of the lineage of the “dark” stylists, with whom he does not in the least identify.
FW 10 has marked a manner of pause in innovation, at the same time as Damir was introducing a women’s line which was far from being limited to an adaptation of his men’s wardrobe.
For those interested in avant-garde designers, the Japanese brand Julius is commonly associated to the dark and trash, post-punk and post-industrial aesthetic often caricatured under the “goth-ninja” nickname. No doubt about it: Mad-Max and Edward Scissorhands wear Julius.
Besides, this reference is partially laid claim to by the brand itself, as illustrated by the FW 2010 runway show being titled [ goth_ik ; ] and the accompanying invitations being complemented by articles in facsimile devoted to the various significations of the word “gothic”, from its pictorial and architectural origins to its contemporary uses, notably in the field of music. This impression was reinforced by the runway show itself, which was held in the industrial locale of the old Turenne garage located in le Marais, in skilfully orchestrated darkness punctured by the heavy and powerful sounds of industrial-noise music. Models had their faces hidden by a long lock of black hair and their jerky, frenzies movement reminded the audience of robots on acid, one of them even came down the runway restrained in a kind of straightjacket.