Table by Alison Elizabeth Taylor
The second artist in my three-part lead up to Wednesday’s Brooklyn Artist Ball is Alison Elizabeth Taylor. Alison, like Njideka Akunyilli, is designing a table for the evening inspired by the “encyclopedic collection of the Brooklyn Museum.” She will be, “Riffing on various artworks, by abstracting details and fragments into minimal contours and forms.” Then, incorporating her trademark style, she will, “recreate them in marquetry, a medium that usually appears in a museum as a decorative flourish on a princely piece of furniture, in this installation it will be used to interpret a variety of works from many different cultures and eras into a common visual language.” Her admiration for the diversity of the museum’s collection is evident in her well thought-out design and inclusion of others’ works as part of her own.
Oftentimes the most refreshing, forward thinking designs have classical elements – take the fashion world’s revisiting of the single-sole pump, longer hemlines and a more tailored take on feminism; i.e. The New Look-esque construction as shown by Raf Simons at Dior. Just as Ms.Taylor’s use of a classic technique like marquetry helps in creating a unified vision across each of her projects, there are designers who utilize classics season after season to produce a collection that ultimately looks modern and fresh. For fall 2013 Belstaff, The Row and Hermès all utilized classic construction and shapes to produce collections that felt remarkable modern.
First, Belstaff has resurrected their four-pocket jacket in a big way, showing that the classic design has universal appeal for both men and women. Their fall 2013 show was all about elevating staples through texture, color and minute modifications.
Although The Row hasn’t yet amassed an archive similar in scale Belstaff, Mary-Kate and Ashley utilized the same classic tailoring techniques that their clothes will undoubtedly inspire a few years down the line. They challenged themselves in construction of common shapes like the blazer as well as Asian-inspired cuts that have found their way into their collections the past few seasons.
Lastly, Hèrmes – one of my favorite Fall/Winter 2013 shows – a house that specializes leather goods, utilized their trademark skin in every possible way on the runway. Hèrmes designer Christophe Lemaire looked to the brand’s history as masters of cut and craftsmanship to put out one of the most modern looking collections of the Fall/Winter 2013 season.