Christina Morrison: Fash in the Time of Covid
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust
You won't even care about missing the (in-person versions of) the shows this year after you see this new offering from Armani's team. Take a look at this link and I'll wait here for you. Then? Let's. Talk. Fash. but with new eyes, with the Emporio Armani: Building Dialogues, Spring/Summer 2021 Collection in mind. Get ready to be WOWWWWED and in a GOOD way:
(above: "Arise!" Still from the video directed by Leandro Manuel Emede and Nicolo Cerioni.)
Back when I first met a budding new visual artist called Vanessa Beecroft in Sydney 1999, I interviewed her about her live-sculpture (VB40.070.VB.POL) for "Oyster" magazine. Italian-American Beecroft continued to WOW the art world with her formation-style live sculptures, which later caught the eye of a fashion designer/rapper known as Kanye West (whom, you may have heard of once or twice). JK. In all earnestness though, I developed a new found respect for Ye when I learned he'd hired Vanessa to collab on presenting his fash shows in NYC.
Beecroft and Ye have always been ahead of their time in terms of knowing how to create absolutely breathtaking, epic, large-scale assemblies that, for Beecroft, pay homage to the ballet and link with her fascination with the aesthetique of militaristic uniforms and formations / rows of individuals standing at attention and/or at ease. The effect was completely mesmerising and made an indelible mark on my memory that haunted me up until just now, when I saw the Armani team's solution to the Covid-19 question of how to present this year's fashion shows sans crowds.
The joy of movement, the thrill of a team moving as one and the hypnotic "Dance of Life" a la Matisse, are celebrated in the Emporio Armani: Building Dialogues, Spring/Summer 2021 Collection in a video of behemoth proportions which create a full circle linking back to the AGNSW where I first met Beecroft and when the trajectory in my mind toward tonight, 21 years later, was set.
(above: Spanish Eyes: "Blue Steel" home-delivery, courtesy of actor, Omar Ayuso.)
Can we safely venture that fash has grown up and, in a good way? Did it take Covid to get us here? Instead of traipsing to design offices, creatives are already in their natural habitats from dusk to dawn (in lockdown areas) so it makes sense that creativity is peaking sans time wasted in traffic jams. One is reminded of Sir Isaac Newton producing some of his best work DURING quarantine in the countryside. 2020's golden apples are gifted but yes, we, like Heracles, have to actively seek them.
(above: Stylist, model, DJ and taste-maker, Sita Abellan, features in the video.)
Can we offer Pina Bausch / Twyla Tharp style shapes from world-class dancers as a way of showcasing an impossibly well-finished French seam? I think so! By the time we get to the scene with the model with blue hair ("It-Girl," Sita Abellan) being lifted out of the water, I'm giving a (premature) standing ovation! What's not to love about the close-up on the belt for added sartorial soignee?
Meanwhile, can we TALK about Les TWINS? As in, the identical French twins (above?) Plus the drone photography and the avant-garde soundtrack? Is the teal ball at the end full of earth-healing, chakra-balancing light? Or green tea samples for all? Or is Giorgio himself going to step outside of it via a golden step-ladder with some kind of Covid-Safe remedy by way of a fash catalogue? Either that or it's the next series of "Black Mirror" or Part Two of David Bowie's "Black Star" video and we are loving absolutely every second of it. Bravo!
Emporio Armani, "Building Dialogues," directed by: Leandro Manuel Emede and Nicolo Cerioni.