In this era of social media where people try to copy someone else’s style based on an instagram post, designers, especially those involved with fast fashion, cater to the market by presenting different iterations of the same style ideas.
Thankfully, there are still those who buck the trends in a big way. There are designers who present fashion from a different point of view, crafting outrageous ensembles that, while not easily wearable on the streets, serve as a reminder that fashion is an art.
One of these reminders came in the form of the Rei Kawakubo Commes de Garcons exhibit at the Met, where the designer’s outlandish style came into full view in a retrospective that highlighted the gargantuan grotesquerie of the Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body Collection for spring 1997.
In this “Lumps and Bumps” series, she distorted the body through misshapen attires, and she distorted it again with 2 Dimensions in 2012 where she flattened the silhouette. Her political satire in Blood and Roses of spring 2016 featured faux blood. While her designs were not particularly present in the streets, they trickled down with the messages that she tried to convey.
The late Alexander McQueen was designated the enfant terrible of the fashion word, bucking trends and actually starting them. His 2009 spring/summer collection was the first to use digital print on fabric. He featured S&M styled clothes in autumn/winter 2002, and send out models with cutouts on their pants that exposed the derriere back in 1996 – akin to a trend that we are seeing now. Lady Gaga wore his creations on numerous occasions as his design aesthetic fit into the electrifying shock value that she brought in her earlier years.
In the summer 2018 Paris Fashion Week, we are introduced to Anrealage, a brand founded by Japanese designer Kunihiko Morinaga. What makes his “unreal” avante-garde designs very interesting is that they harness modern technology that is accessible to the young designers of today. His female silhouettes remain classic, but the cuts and fabrics he uses are designed to blow the mind. One of his catwalk creations featured glow-in-the-dark hoop rings.
On the local front, we have Kermit Tesoro whose international fame blew up when he designed shoes for Lady Gaga. His fancy footwork can be described as movable installation art. In fact, one of his most famous creations, the Polypodis, became an attraction at a museum in Germany. His most fetishized works are the ones constructed with human bones.
Hermino Tan is another local designer who likes to work with the remains of the day. His accessories are made with bones, transforming the calcified material into wearable forms of art that is not for the faint of heart. These make bold statements and start conversations for those who choose to don the creations.
They are but some of the men and women who bring a break from the copy-cat street styles by bringing in something new. Fashion needs rule breakers like these. They are the ones who provide the jarring incongruous jolt in the safe spaces that the catwalks have become.
They spur the energy and electricity of the industry by pushing the limits of expression and imagination. They inspire the next league of designers to create and to keep on creating. The mavericks are the ones who ensure that for every 20 Kylie Jenners, we have at least one Iris Apfel.