A strong modernism…

9 Mar

… may no longer be a sign of a healthy society. It has been once the clearest symptom of confidence in our own values, in so far as they were projected towards a future under construction. But I fear it turns out to be now a kind of innocent passeism, a nostalgia for long gone utopias when the good life was to be sought for in Eames, Saarinen or Koenig’s architecture. It was about reading books from Salinger or Kerouac, listening to records from Coltrane, and the technological revolution was happening.

Case Study #22, Stahl House By Pierre Koenig.

In this Paris shipwreck of a fashion week, there was an insistent trend to provide the clothes to match this aesthetics and way of life. To wit: structure first, texture being just a support to it. Sculptural strength out of simplicity. Honesty. Future.

Costume National

Giambattista Valli

Case Study #8, Eames House by Ray and Charles Eames.

Chloé

Valentino

Celine

Richard Neutra's Kauffman House.

Akris

Costume National

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3 Responses to “A strong modernism…”

  1. Ruby March 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    QUITE MODERN Take some time to check out a-lookbook

    http://a-lookbook.blogspot.com/

  2. aurumgirl March 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Maybe it is a kind of nostalgia fetish, as you say–but my experience of “modernism”, where clothing and architecture are concerned, has been problematic.

    I’m just going to ramblethink out loud, if you’ll let me, so here goes: When I look at those models and their expressions, I’m reminded of life in those Eames/Kauffman/Koenig style buildings–great if you’re on your own and you use the place as a bedroom. Add other people and the reality of dynamics between them, and oh my, that “space” becomes fraught. It seems to create disharmony and dissatisfaction like no other type of space can. I know all models lately look angry enough to eat you, but I’m convinced the severity of the design demands that kind of emotional response. Even when there is texture and colour there, its presence functions like a sardonic wit. A tiny bit of visual fleeting joy, just so you can say you’re laughing on the inside. It’s never conveyed “confidence” to me–just an ascetic renouncement of the sensuous.

    So I think the Valentino is the exception in this group of photos–those boots betray a lot more than a sardonic wit (I do love a reptilian print, if it’s artfully used) and it has a lot of curvy, flaring lines that accentuate the female curves and flares. Whereas that grey suit with the hip flaps does the same thing for me as those buildings–it may look great and stern in it’s super-pressed theory, and you can even appreciate the whole idea behind it (every thing straightened up, flattened down, buttoned in)–but in the end, you’ve got all these extra bits of angular, flapping fabric on your person. That suit says “irritated, underpaid, secretaryschoolmarminsurancesalesgirl” like nothing else can; and when that tweed and silk flappage bends and twists and curls and wrinkles like good tweed and silk do, it is going to look like hell.

    • Miss Eliza Wharton March 12, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

      Hey AuRum! Long time no see!
      Thanks for sharing.

      I will not try to advocate Akris’ pantsuit. Your interpretation seems a little severe, but I can really understand where it comes from. This particular outfit interested me because of its striking visual proximity with the way concrete is used in modern architecture.
      To me all those propositions share a certain ‘structure first’ attitude, aiming at simplicity and making a strong statement at the same time.

      As for the architectural space’s ability to accept actual (social) life, it’s a complicated matter. I’ve spent most of my recent years in a variety of ‘open space’ flats, and I’ll say it will not suit everyone. But then, I don’t buy at all the idea of a ‘one concept fits all’ architecture.

      Those spaces work well if you don’t care too much about privacy, and in general about the segmentation of space in very programmatic units.

      And the whole point was: anyway modernism is dead. It converted in a form of nostalgic mannerism.

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