Thursday, 24 April 2014

Architecture and Clothing, Architecture and Fashion

Text : Nor Azua Ruslan

[ Dressing Architecture : Colour, Style & Fashion ]
In Relation With Architects and Clothing

Original works submitted to the Manchester School of Architecture for the Bachelor of Architecture dated April 2009. Received a commendation in Summer 2010.

3.0] Architecture and Clothing, Architecture and Fashion

Fashion is architecture. It is a matter of proportions.
Coco Chanel

Fashion and architecture are becoming more connected. Fashion has often become inspired by architecture. However, it is also turns up to being vice versa. Originally in architecture, some ideas derived from fashion, braid techniques, weaving and pleats add unique textures and interests to design details in buildings. There are also more complicated fabrics and structures are used in building’s facades for certain aesthetic functions.

Around 1900 the relationship between architecture and fashion entered a critical phase; from this time onwards the clothing theory was expanded by the notion of fashion’s pioneering role for architecture.[6]
In architecture, a good understanding about form and function shall have a good impact for an effort to design a shelter for body. A lot of shaping and building involves in fashion, it is also compulsory needing to know how to handle fabrics. In architecture, it is a matter of how to handle your eye on the attention to aesthetic details.

It is important for designer to understand as early as possible how garment grows form a two-dimensional concept into a three-dimensional object. A pattern is a flat paper or card template. From which the parts of the garments are transferred to fabric, before being cut out and assembled. A good understanding of body shape and how body measurement transfer to the pattern piece is essential. The pattern cutter must work accurately in order to ensure that, once constructed, the parts of fabric fit together properly and precisely.[7]

While architects thrive in being unique, they however, cannot be unique and trendsetter/fashion icon at the same time. Thus, the moment an architect becomes a trendsetter, he/she will look for something else, which is to be unique again. Often, architecture and fashion are similar in their own way of being design oriented and the design process too; however, there isn’t any direct relation between them.

Creative research is the secret or trick which underlines all original design.”
John Galliano, Creative Director, Dior

Research is vital to any design process; it is the initial trawl and collection of ideas prior to design. It should be an experimental process, an investigation to support or find out about a particular subject. Research is an essential tool in the creative process and will provide inspiration, information and creative direction, as well as narrative to a collection. Research is about a journey that can often take weeks or even months to collate and process. It is also a very personal activity, which through its manifestation, provides the viewer with an insight into the thinking, aspirations, interests and creative vision of the designer.
From in-depth and broad-ranging research, the designer can begin to interpret a series of garments or a collection. Silhouettes, textures, colours, details, print and embellishment will have their place in the process of design and will all be found in the research created.[8]

I tried to talk to the person whom I have gained my previous practising experience with. They shared the same thought about architecture and fashion. There a few history of architects who changed their path into becoming fashion designer. Tom Ford is one of them. The Parisian architect Laurent Buttazoni and a protegé of Andrée Putman also involves in fashion design as well. The eye for details is one of the similarity in both profession.

Author: Is architect a trendsetter or a fashion icon?
Zaini Mufti: I think not.
Ken Yeang: Don’t know

Author: Are you a trendsetter or a fashion icon?
Zaini Mufti: It’s not for me to say but most probably not. Too old to be that….I’ll be surprise if anybody would want to dress like me and I’m just really comfortable with myself, don’t need a groupie to fan my ego.
Ken Yeang: Don’t think so.[9]

Architects cannot be a trendsetter or a fashion icon because they have their fullest commitment towards their architectural career. However, involvement or participation in fashion designing is acceptable because they do have a sense in unique style. In the past, Le Corbusier himself do involve in fashion designing. In 2007, Ken Yeang, a bioclimatic architect also involves in designing bioclimatic garments as well. It is also acceptable for architect to be fashion-conscious regular human beings. This is because architects love trends.

Cast your eye over our skylines and it's like flicking through Vogue - or, mostly, the shopping pages in Take a Break. First a style appears - sported by some avant-garde Isabella Blow-a-like such as Rem Koolhaas or Herzog & de Meuron - next thing you know every architect in the country's copied it from the architectural magazines, run it up in their sweatshops and covered our high streets in it. One minute it's edgy, next it's your local Asda. Five years ago it was buildings shaped like wedges. Since the Gherkin, it's all curves. Once Rafael Viñoly's Walkie Talkie's gone up in the City, though, all skyscrapers will have to look like electrical goods.[10]

Hence, since the architects tend to have a taste, joint venture amongst fashion designer and architect in flagship store design are becoming trend nowadays. For example, Rem Koolhas is becoming Prada’s branding architect to carry out duty to design Prada flagship store around the world, and recently doing some projects with Miu Miu as well. Rem Koolhas has becoming the favourite fashion architect for the outstanding fashion label, probably because they saw him as an architect with a sense of high fashion. Another example is Tod’s flagship store in Tokyo, a remarkable RIBA Gold Medal Award 2006’s winner who started to gain trust from a high fashion label, Tod’s. These architects are excellent in design as excellent in their taste and sense of style somehow.

FIG.3.1: Prada flagship store, Tokyo           

FIG.3.2: Tod’s flagship store, Tokyo

How about the architect's personal style of clothing for themselves? If they can dressed their buildings in fashionable ways; unique material, structure and colours, we expect them to dress up as fashionable as their buildings are, aren’t we?

[6] Ruth H.(2006) Architecture and Fashion. In Absolutely fabulous! : Architecture and Fashion. Prestel: London, p 136
[7] Annette, F. (2008) Introduction. In Annette, F. Basic Fashion Design: Construction. AVA Publishing SA: Switzerland, p10
[8] Simon, S. (2007) Introduction, In Simon, S. Basic Fashion Design : Research And Design. AVA Publishing SA:Switzerland, p6
[9] Separate Interview between author and Ken Yeang , Zaini Mufti (Feb 2009)
[10] (accessed on April 2009)