Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Some random thoughts about architects and fashion designers

I recently had a walk with an old friend and instructor of mine, L. Being an architect herself, she is the wife of a world renowned architect Y and THE woman behind a successful design atelier. I helped the L and Y on some little projects in my junior year at college when they had just returned to China to start their own studio. We had some interactions now and then, including Y's instruction on a design competition I participated in and his recommendation letter supporting my study at MIT. We didn't get a chance to talk after I came to Boston, however, due to our busy schedules and the time difference.

We finally met again in Boston. This time around, they are back to America to develop their careers further. I was so excited once I heard that they were moving over. Years after our first project together, I still respect their work and I am so glad that we are now closer.

Here we are, walking down Newbury Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon. L was in her signature comfortable yet poetic outfit and I was in my combat boots and Doo. Ri coat. I never talked about fashion with Y or L before, but surprisingly, our little walk was all about fashion. Maybe she was too tired at work to talk about it, or maybe it's a common interest we never discovered before. Going through racks of clothes at Alan Bilzerian, we both were excited talking about our favorite designers and designs.

I saw a couple of Y's pictures in publications recently, and I was always curious about what he wore in those pictures. He was once in this wrinkled jacket made of cotton or linen that seemed to be some exquisite designer work. I asked L about it, and she laughed and told me that she only knew one more person who was into fashion as much as Y does. As a matter of fact, the couple is big fans of Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake.

Somebody on theFashionspot made a comment on Yohji Yamamoto's work: they look like those outfits that 1980s architects would wear. They are things that architects love to wear, but not only the 1980s architects. There is beauty in the designs that only certain people can grasp and understand. Architects are sensitive to the beauty and respect it. Today's Y and L look so similar to the Y and L from eight years ago. Their styles didn't change much over eight years. At the same time, looking at Yohji Yamamoto's work, it didn't change much over the years either. There is certain eternity in it.

There are people who do not follow the trends but develop their ideas over the course of their life. Le Corbusier fully used the new technology to develop a column and beam structure and set the walls free. Frank Gehry was inspired by the system and fully utilized it: getting rid of the wild surface, what people will see is still the simple system. Why do walls have to be perpendicular? Why do the turns have to be ninety degrees? Ideas start from there. Same process showed in Rei Kawakubo's work. Why can't clothes be twisted? Why can't clothes be asymmetric? Designers challenge the conventions and break the rules. They have to be brave or powerful enough to design things like that, and sometimes it takes their entire life to be fully understood.

Luckily Y and L's work are understood and recognized by most people already. They no longer need to struggle. But looking back, who didn't have those difficult days developing ideas and empowering themselves? I quit from design because of my impatience to deal with the reality, but I am so glad that there are people who stick to it, and make it shine.

3 comments:

The Prophet said...

suddenly, i don't feel lost. beautiful and heartfelt.

Lucida said...

Love this post very much. Beautifully written.

Review Fashion said...

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