Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Weds 11th Aug: The story behind a dress

I fell in LOVE with David Koma's work when I saw his S/S show last year. As the spectrum glass accessories emerged down the runway I was levitating from my seat to witness the heavenly apparition. I dashed backstage to see the graphic mosaic appliqued mini dresses and super slinky separates. Every single colour bead is specially made to fit the seams which swirl round the figure ............
Little did I know that Niki de Saint Phalle was the reference point for this aesthetic interpreted by David into his trademark dynamic design. I found out this golden nugget of information from David himself when I visited his studio last week to borrow a couple of the pieces for a shoot. He explained that the basis of his work has a cultural origin for discerning enthusiasts to appreciate but equally his emphasis is to create garments that can translate to any eye. He puts together harmonious structures that result in instantly pleasing and progressive pieces. If a fashion editor can detect the initial inspiration and a non fashion related female can fall for a dress purely for its purity, then he feels that he has fulfilled his own enforced protocol.
David has a fine art training and his work practise still witholds elements from this discipline and perspective. When initially putting together a collection he designs each look to formulate the entire running order knowing exactly how the final result will materialize. When he later consults with his stylist he sees it as a relationship between an artist and curator.......... his canvases need framing and hanging..........which results in the casting, makeup / hair and then onto the final edit and arrangement.
So it comes as no surprise that the starting point for his S/S 10 show came from another artist Niki de Saint Phalle who herself was influenced by Gaudi. The skirt here with the circular eye panels took shape from the architectural elements Niki built to look like a face. In hindsight, David wonders how he managed to orchestrate sourcing and producing the glass components let alone transporting the delicate accessories around and keeping them intact. Each season he takes on a new challenge to conceive unseen constructions that will be a perfect combination of radical invention and progression from previous developed patterns. Apparently this multicolour combination may be something unique and not revisited for a while in the evolving chapters of his course. Although that saddens my little colourful heart to hear such a thing, I know that David's propensity for textures will always keep me satisfied and surprised!
It was a magic experience discussing the industry with a vision like Koma's - listening to his very particular stance on experience and expectation. His absolute consolidated honesty and pragmatic approach was very refreshing and awakening. He had great admiration, affection and gratitude to share in relation to Louise Wilson who he has loyal companionship in continuing mentoring. To hear a personal account of how Louise operates was an insight into the OBE and the world of the CSM MA that gave David his first platform. Sitting amongst boxes of his archive that had just been delivered back, I would have liked to rifle through the rails......... but was pleased as punch to be leaving with these 2 personal favourites! I cant wait to see his next S/S show...............!

(top two images dragged from Niki's website.........)

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