Is fashion art? It's a question that has been served up by journalists, returned and volleyed by fashion designers, caught and re-examined by industry thinkers, but routinely hit out of the court by art critics as far fetched and fanciful. How can fashion be art when it's so inherently commercial they reason. But at its very base: isn't art meant to connect and inspire?
And on that foundational merit, Moncler's next chapter of #MonclerGenius—a disruptive project bringing together different designers to interpret, and thus create different collections for, the house that started in February this year—strides boldly into the realm of performance art, with video installations of five new collections (Craig Green, Simone Rocha, Fragment's Hiroshi Fujiwara, Noir's Kei Ninomiya, and the brand's vintage 1952 offering) presented in an industrial warehouse on the outskirts of Milan, and all without the physical presence of any clothes. Say what?
Listen to the audio review below—simply hit play or the 'Listen in browser' button if you're reading this on mobile—to hear our thoughts on the presentation and collections.
Favourite collection: We do love a bit of Craig Green here at Esquire Singapore, so it's no surprise that the Moncler Craig Green collection caught our eye. But rightly so. With a video installation directed by Dan Tobin Smith, Green's hyper realised Moncler garments—essentially distilled as exaggerated outerwear and capes festooned with capes and strings—was an examination of the role of garments to perform (heat insulation) and protect (against the elements). Colour-blocked in pops of sunshine yellow, fire-engine reds, acid greens and bright cobalt blue, Moncler's signature quilting was reinterpreted through the lens of kite-surfing. As a corollary, the video showed the collection—broken into its separate parts but held together by strings—like kites; spinning, flapping and blustered by gusts of wind at varying speeds. At once intoxicating and beautiful.
Favourite installation: How can fashion not be art when you consider the transportive, albeit eery, video installation of Simone Rocha's collection for Moncler? Produced by Sylvia Farago and directed by Tyler Mitchell, the installation dominated the main entrance hall of the venue with the video projected on both sides of a large rectangular wall erected in the centre of a larger rectangular pool; the black pool reflecting the images screened above. Rocha took Moncler's Longue Saison duvet and recast it as delicate flaps, pearls, flower prints and appliqué—all contrasted with hi-shine PVC, furry flippers, wellingtons, and large black hats tied down to the models' heads with matching black veils. The setting: A flowering garden and summer orchard. The impression: The Stepford Wives meets The Handmaid's Tale. Spliced visuals of girls running through fields, gloved hands pruning flowers, and models staring dead-centre into a zooming video lens. Haunting yet mesmerising.