Concept/words by Vésma Kontere McQuillan
In the last few years, there has been an increasing number of books about architecture and fashion published, books on fashion shows in particular. One of the first publications on the topic Fashion Spaces in English, was the article “Framing “Saints and Sinners” Method of Producing Space in Fashion Shows. Michael Michalsky’s Fall/Winter 2009 Collection” by Alicia Kühl (in Gaugele E.(ed.) Aesthetics Politics in Fashion. Akademie der bildende Künste Wien, Sternberg Press. 2014)
In this article, the author proposes her understanding of Fashion Spaces, which appealed to me. After doing deeper research on Kühl’s writing, that is mostly in the German, I came to the conclusion that the English translation is not precise and does not accurately communicate the meaning of Fashion Spaces.
I asked my German-born student Mareike de Boer, an exchange student from HSD Hochschule Düsseldorf to do a precise translation of the article “Alicia Kühl “Positionierung der Modenschau im Gesamtprozess des Modezyklus” (in Lehnert G. 2011, Räume der Mode), and reflect over what was lost in translation of Fashion Spaces.
The preview of Mareike’s article, that is a part of the bookazine Fashion Spaces, you can find here.
Therefore the idea to explore Fashion Spaces in its different aspects such as architecture and fashion and bring clearness in its terminology was born. To start the process, the conference Fashion Spaces Westerdals took place on October 17, 2018. The conference will be followed by a printed publication, produced by professors and students of Westerdals Faculty of Communication and Design, The University College Kristiania.
There were three aspects to Fashion Spaces discussed:
Location, Site and Imaginary Space.
Fashion Space Nr.1: Location (geographically speaking) – a country or a city. Milan is an example of a city that is a fashion capital.
Fashion Space Nr.2: Site – the particular site and building where a fashion show is to be held. For example: An industrial space via Foggazaro 36, Milano in the headquarters of Prada.
Both of these aspects are defined by a designer’s creativity, brand strategy, economical possibilities and general trends.
For instance, Gosha Rubchinskiy presented his F/W 2017 in Kalingrad, and the show “Centre of Youth Culture” followed Rubchinskiy’s target audience strategy, catering to the youths that are not a part of the establishment. Both of the aforementioned Fashion Spaces follow a bigger trend of implementing street fashion into a luxury fashion sector.
Both of the Fashion Spaces reveal in great depths the vision of an artist (FASHION)
Fashion Space Nr.3: Imaginary Space – which is imagined by a fashion designer and created in collaboration with an architect or set designer (ARCHITECTURE) and is supplemented with light and sound (MUSIC) while a fashion show is taking place.
According to Kühl, the moment the fashion show is taking place, the Metaraum (Kühl, 2011) appears, which is the main topic to research around the phenomenon of Fashion Spaces. The Metaraum is directly connected to the time and the fact of being in the moment at a particular location, site and imaginary space.
While the show is live, there are factors like online streaming and social media that are reproducing Fashion Spaces in images in real time, and after the show in print. (IMAGE)
If one were to miss a show, online and printed media can provide an Imaginary Space in the form of text. This Fashion Space exists within the borders of fashion journalism, criticism and theory. (TEXT)
To get an insight as to what Fashion Spaces are about and bring clearness in terminology, exploratory projects should be established and curated. (CURATOR)
The conferance, Fashion Spaces in Norwegian context: Rom på moten, was an attempt to create this type of project through the invited speakers:
FASHION: Fashion designer Admir Batlak
ARCHITECTURE: Astrid Rohde Wang, Architectural firm Gartnerfuglen Arkitekter
MUSIC: Sound artist and music producer Frédéric Sanzhez
IMAGE and TEXT: Fashion journalist and editor Ida Eritsland
CURATOR: Professor and architect Vesma Kontere McQuillan