Thursday, January 16, 2014

BEAUTY: Clothing--Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby

Raf Simons has known the American artist Sterling Ruby for nearly ten years and this collaboration for Simons' Fall-Winter '14-'15 collection at Paris Fashion Week was astonishing for its thoroughness and complete isolationism--the pair managed to imbue their collaborative collection with its own internal logic, separate and apart from any references or links to the "fashion world."

Ruby is a multidisciplinary artist working in bronze, ceramic, soft sculpture, painting, and collage... particularly something he calls "bleach collage" which played a large part in this collection. Atop the minimal lines of a typical Simons collection, Ruby placed his "bleach collages", strips and scraps of tattered and worn fabric, stained with bleach and paint. The strips served as bold slashes of chaos within the simplified Simons garments. Pants and jackets are splashed with bleach. Seemingly random words are pasted onto pieces of clothing like bumper stickers. One says "abus lang" which stands for "abusive language." Another simply, mysteriously, and ominously says "fathers," a rather charged word and concept. Ruby's monumental soft sculptures are referenced as well in red, white, and blue knits, echoed in his stuffed serpentine of the American flag that adorned the show space.

Of note are the fascinating, swollen, bulbous shoes, stuffed like one of Ruby's sculptures.

The entire collection has the energy, madness, and rush of creation in the studio. And this collection is creativity in clothing (fashion) at its best.

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