Skin+Bones: PARALLEL PRACTICES IN FASHION AND ARCHITECTURE
MOCA Los Angeles
until March 5th, 2007
everything then is informed by everything else, or so someone told me.
But only the wily make the implicit connections for the rest of us to
enjoy, or unstitch,
or demolish, or blow up or savor or not fully understand or feel
indifferent to. Only technology advances it seems, everything else once
you've lived long enough to see it, drifts mostly in misty circles.
so on to the Museum Of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the
Skin+Bones show. Remember when your mom would say, "That's all Skin and
Bones that one." Irish house. That probably has nothing to do with
this. I was just feeling wistful for a moment. Full of wist. So, until
we have 'Skin+Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture.'
The premise being that Fashion Design and Architecture are up each
others arses in a big, big way and I'd guess, before you'd stage a show
of this magnitude, you'd probably be quite convinced of your arguments.
Happily in the midst of absorbing this and pondering that, a key, highly-credentialed East Coast Art Person (ECAP) came by for dinner. A simple Stroganoff
gone wrong was taking a little while to redeem itself so in the
meanwhile, East Coast Art Person asked the key question about the show's
precept that had been plaguing me. If contemporary fashion design and
contemporary architecture intersect, for reasons other than the
commercially convenient, does Skin+Bones beat home the details for us
relentlessly like with a stick?
Does Skin+Bones answer the
question it purports to pose? If it actually does pose a question, or
does this show begin with the answer?
Crist almighty. I can't answer that. People see what they want to see.
Amongst the "personally concocted" aphorisms of the Assimilated Negro,
is this, "The Knowing Pose Questions, while the unknowing answer."
At MOCA, I was wowed by the stitchery. Although the splendid, truly splendid Viktor & Rolf's (on sale now at H&M!) iconoclastic opening 'Russian Doll' salvo, sans legging, shoes and Edie Sedgwick
wig, was a portent for all that lay ahead. How come no wig? God I love
that sentence. I might go back into the band naming business. Yes, no
wig was a portent indeed, for the sort of minor details that began to
nag away at me. Alexander McQueen love him or loath him unerringly
creates a spectacle, but am I missing something if I wonder why all we
got was a washed out video. I couldn't see it and I had my Jhane Barnes specs firmly in place.
While the supreme 'Packing Dress' by Isabel
Toledo made me wish I wore women's clothes more often, particularly
say, after traveling. Toledo's threads travel well, their simple construction,
two pieces of woven silk with holes for the head arms and legs. Witnessing that
dress is probably worth the price of admission alone!
clothes on show are either breathtaking or boring in their precision
and lack of flair, depending on your taste. They're all defiant.
architectural facets are mainly represented by photos and models. The
models are cute and probably a balsa cut above what you saw at the
architectural school coming out party. There is a life-size section of
Greg Lynne's Blob Wall which adds to the drama; while I am not at all
an open plan person, I see the Blob Wall as difficult to dust. I'd
liked to have seen not only the outside of the Bull Ring's incredible Selfridges
store, but those exuberant crescent shaped clothing racks that are
bolted to the floor within. The first time I saw those racks, the only
time I'd let out a similar involuntary scream inside a store was when I
saw Prince signing autographs in Tower Records. And nothing else ever
in Tower Records.
On those racks couture and skin and bones are all together.
If anything most architects could do with being more influenced by
fashion designers, don'cha
think? Think architect and you think of
all middle management business functionaries. Polo shirt, beige
dockers, brown lace ups. Besides that, architects are forever at work
on something they want to stand. Fashion designers, I would hope,
working on something that will fall to the floor before the night's
Then I saw the one person at the show who was wearing drainpipes and I realized,
as they comeback once more, drainpipes aren't for everyone. Of course, they never
were. They're for the surviving Ramone. They're for skinny flat-arsed
kids. They're not for me anymore, they're for the not so pear shaped.
They look awful these days on the middle aged Beatle booted
kroq rodney types. They're unforgiving and they instantly made every other bedenimed
show-goer look like they're wearing SNL's
Mom Jeans. I began to notice that all the attendees really should have
spent more time worrying about their personal style and less far less
about the show. And in a second, the show was lost to me. We went over
to Tiara and had some mini cupcakes. Some respite at least.