a few weeks’ back, the lovely ladies at handmadelife did me a favour and recommended two fashion shows, currently on at the NGV: draped and together alone. i managed to pop along to draped and boy was it ace!

i am pretty damned daggy, when it comes to my sartorial credentials. this has been confirmed by my flatmate, orri henrisson. and he should know.

however, i have developed a love of fashion processes and codes, through my friendship with the curator and orri. in the last few years, a lot of my work has embraced a lot of the gestures of fashion (measurement, wearable architecture, decollete adornment, etc) and i’ve developed a heavy-breathing-type fashionation with roland barthes and his fashion system.

so it was with an eager step that i popped along to see draped – a show which touched on the trends of drapery in fashion over the years, separated into two main types – clinging and elevated. one which is all dignified and ancient, the other about gettin’ it up in there.. (my words, not theirs).

honestly, i would LOVED to have seen this as a seriously extensive thematic survey at somewhere like the V&A. but, for the smallish show in the textiles gallery at the NGV, it was still pretty rad.

there were stunning works by versace, lanvin, D&G, paco rabanne, along with some small ancient draped figure sculptures, to put the concept into an historical framework. however, i gotta say, my love attack was for three works that are by my favourite designers and fashion rebels:

Hussain Chalayan at the NGV, yo_webJPG

the galliano for dior boned inside-out dress – one of my favourite and one which i spent a lot of time drawing and studying; rei kawakubo’s black ‘tornado dress’ for commes des garçon and of course, my main man, hussein chalayan. his show was so amazing at the london design museum – changed my life and seeing just a small piece of his here reminded me of his relentless and prolific practice.

1990s vs 1890s bodyshape
one interesting thing i noticed was how different the shape of mannequins have changed through the ages, reflecting the desired body type. note the difference between 1990s Versace decollete, and the 1890s Victorian shape. And i guess, as an institution, somewhere like the NGV has to keep and keep up with the mannequins of the time period – can’t fit a Versace dress onto a Victorian model, it’d be all wrong.

so if you need your fix after seeing this week’s couture run from paris, head to NGV. it will be just enough to satisfy until the loreal melbourne fashion festival kicks off in march.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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