Can you believe it - we're down to the final challenge. And this challenge, like all the others, is quite a doozy! Here's the challenge:
Well this is a mash up!!! Start by thinking Goth, then take a step back and think of how an avant garde designer would approach it, then take a further step sideways and make it enter the realm of couture. There you have it, Avant Garde Goth Couture. This style is not just for Marilyn Manson and the emo kids anymore...this is runway Goth.
Your challenge this week is to make an AG Goth design and keep it couture, so no costumes, no post apocalyptic (although this may still be in) styles, no witches and no warlocks. Make it couture, and make it work, designers.......have fun with this one, but do remember this is not a costume contest, it must be couture!!!
I can only tell you what I would do if it was my challenge. First, I'd rule out doing anything that even whispered costume! Then I'd consider what Goth might be to me:
Goth fashion is mostly a dark, sometimes morbid, eroticized fashion and style of dress. The specific styles are often borrowed from the Elizabethan, Victorian or medieval period and can express pagan, occult or other religious imagery including pentacles, ankhs, and crosses.
Then I'd look at what notable fashion designers have done. Here you'd expect me to look into the stylings of Alexander McQueen or John Galliano, two designers who have been described as practicing Haute Goth. However, since I've seen their styles almost "done" to death by others lately, I'd turn my attention to some new blood - puns intended, dahlings!
The Avant-Garde Ann Demeulemeester/s 2011 Paris Fall Show revealed this hodgepodge of Goth, punk and what some were even calling ... Goat Hair Couture! Armed with beautiful finishes, the Belgian designer peppered her tendency for black with vibrant bolts of red and striking prints.
Creating a poignant showing, Demeulemeester’ reached a new point of elegance with sharp defined edges and a distinct season must have–gauntlet gloves. An expert at romance, Ann Demeulemeester has managed to elevate her craft to a new level for one of Fall’s most refined collections.
Prisca Vilsbøl and Pia de Arce joined forces after graduating from the Copenhagen Fashion & Design School to create the twice eponymous label Vilsbøl de Arce. The Danish design duo creates projects ranging from avant garde fashion and interior decor to performance art costumes. Perhaps that is why Lady Gaga and Rhianna are rumored to be big customers.
Their dreaml ike designs are recognizable in their mastery of cut and drapery. And, while wildly experimental, the clothes are entirely functional. This is high art that can be worn. Their incredibly sculptural shapes combined with the exquisitely detailed leather work, and the contrasting qualities of drama and subtlety, make their outfits phenomenal.
Gareth Pugh is an English designer known for hard edged, highly structured designs. He surprised the fashion world with his soft, diaphanous, even romantic designs for his Spring/Summer 2011 collection at Paris Fashion Week. Of course, his romantic vision is otherworldly. Not surprising at all as he describes his designs as being "about the struggle between lightness and darkness." From Beyonce to Rihanna to Lady Gaga, designer Gareth Pugh is making a name for himself.
Pugh's trademark is his experimentation with form and volume. He often uses "nonsensically shaped, wearable sculptures to distort the human body almost beyond recognition." He’s the quintessential bad boy - dark, edgy, and unapologetic. His recent collection had severe, sculpted cuts, part alien/part cyber armor. There were even a few looks that had thin, dripping, web-like fringe. Pugh, always the rebel, didn’t even present the traditional runway show; rather his collection was shown as a video on a giant screen. But, no matter how you view his work, most would conclude it is definitely mind-blowing!
Guo Pei is known as China's grande doyenne of haute couture. Her clothing and accessories are truly works of art. They are all about fantasy with an emphasis on embroidery and really wild shoes. The shoes are absolutely architectural, sculptural, brilliant as objets des art, and are something most of us could not walk or even stand in. Is it any wonder Lady Gage’s designers will be incorporating them into future Gaga outfits?
Then, after having this overload of eye candy from jetting back and forth through many websites, I would begin to dissect the EXACT explanation Larraine always gives for a challenge: Start by thinking Goth, then take a step back and think of how an avant garde designer would approach it, then take a further step sideways and make it enter the realm of couture. There you have it, Avant Garde Goth Couture.
Okay, got my examples of Goth and can relate to how designers could make it avant garde. I know they are doing avant garde by the fact that their work is unconventional and ahead of its time. But avant garde specifically is not exactly what I think I am to design, as it would be so over the top, and wouldn’t fit in a real person’s collection. I also note Larraine is asking for couture – not haute couture. Haute couture would be designed for just one specific person (diva doll), be pain staking to produce, and would carry a verrrrrry expensive price tag. Haute couture might have been ruled out, I think, becuase it might not be produced in my short time frame and leave me caught up short. BUT - knowing Larraine and her judges with such impeccable taste - I also knew she is not necessarily calling for anything that is remotely ready to wear!
So I would decide to stick with my own definition of couture which would be something sewn well using rich fabrics – preferably my beloved silk. Everything must fit impeccably and all, including accessories, must be in scale. Then I’d search through my stash for rich Goth colored fabrics...remembering what I’d seen I’d use the ones I like specifically honed down. I'd recall designs I'd seen for this challenge as an example only. Then I’d give it all my incomparable spin – and voila’ – after a good pressing and scintillating photos, I’d be ready to deliver it all to Larraine’s email just in time for the judging. And now it’s time for you to decide. What path will you take to capture the essence of the challenge perfectly? Am I correct or way out in left field? That’s for you to ponder and decide as you go through your own process. Whatever you do, prepare to WOW the judges – as you know, that is what it has taken for a win for each and every one of these challenges.
Now let me get on with telling you a bit about your guest judge, David Buttry, so I can return to my world of fashion mags and bon bons – boy this ‘splaining stuff can be tedious, Lucy!!
David Buttry from Integrity has been nice enough to serve as a guest judge in the last two CDDCs, so you can imagine how happy we are to have him back again.
David has always been a doll collector, specifically of fashion dolls. He is also a graphic designer who is well known for his logos and other fashion doll illustrations. Illustrating was the original job he snared at Integrity Toys. While it is true he has worked under Vaughn Sawyers and Jason Wu, David definitely has a style all his own.
He has also designed ads and packaging for Integrity Toys. But the general public probably knows him better for the doll lines he's worked on that include Misaki, Dynamite Girls, and most recently, Poppy Parker. He likes to work on doll designs that include loads of personality. David has been published in Fashion Doll Quarterly, and other popular doll magazines, so every once in a while we get a glimpse into his amazing talent.