Designing something simple is easy, but adding elegance and substance requires a subtle complexity that not everyone can access and achieve. Design of elgance product is easy, becasue they don't have to deal with the complexity just as some other products. When you want elegance, ability to handle complexity and substance, that's hard.
When it was first introduced in literary criticism, deconstructionism aimed to question traditional assumptions about certainty, identity and truth, asserting that words can only refer to other words. Novelist and philosophy professor Rebecca Goldstein notes that, “in deconstruction, there is no meaning to be found in the actual text, but only in the various, often mutually irreconcilable ‘virtual texts’ constructed by readers in their search for meaning.” In other words, language becomes far more than the sum of its scattered, severed parts. In architecture, the finished visual appearance of buildings that exhibit the many deconstructivist ‘styles’ is characterized by a stimulating unpredictability and a controlled chaos.
As the deconstructive philosophy trickled down to other fields, particularly art and design, it further demonstrated how destruction could be commoditized. The fashion house of Comme des Garçon, as shepherded by Rei Kawakubo, reinterprets this aesthetic by taking clothes to their undoing by strategically dismantling them and then putting them back together. The show, White Drama, presented in Paris provided an unforgettable sensory experience – Snow White meets Victorian Lace. Rei Kawakubo is one of the most influential fashion designers and master of what I like to call ‘simplexity.’
Her signature style of modern simplicity reflects how imperfect beauty captures the complexities of the relationships around us. Kawakubo begins by actually creating the fabrics for each specific collection. Many of her ‘broken bride’ dresses are made from bolts of silk that she printed with intricate trompe l'oeil effects, which enriched the texture and shape of her pleated skirts without adding extra bulky fabric or thread.
Her deconstructive approach in cutting and sewing fabrics is deliberately compromised by design. Hems are left uneven; yarn is dropped mid-stitch in her knitwork; and clashing color threads hold the seams together. Final pieces seem to be the blueprint rather than the final product. Even the patents that inspire her initial work are executed in unconventional steps in an effort to fully divorce form from function. Her design philosophy further sets her apart because she doesn't design for any specific body type, allowing those shorter than 6 feet and larger than size zero to access her clothing. A truly refreshing concept in the world of fashion. At the end of the show, Kawakubo explained her inspiration for the collection by remarking that “all of life’s drama in a white dress.” Each one embodies the complex and contradictory relationships in our lives.
I hesitate to even describe her pieces as ‘fashion,’ because they are so uninterrupted by time and trend. They are artworks that free us to consider, create and embody our passions. That’s when you know that the work appeals to more than just fashion followers, and it is not meant to épater le bourgeois, but anyone who appreciates postmodernist simplicity and visual intrigue.