I’ve been spending all my time lately being a giant nerd, obsessing about textiles and my thesis, so I decided to do a really nerdy, textiley post today, just for consistency between my real life and my procrastination-driven internet ramblings….
Exhibit A: Céline coat, Spring Summer 2011 Collection
This coat caught my eye because of the unusual weave structure (a wha?!!!), which is as much textile art as it is fashion. Why do you care? You probably don’t. But it IS interesting because, well, sorry for the diabolical pun, textiles are literally the fabric of clothes, and too often these fabrics underutilise the amazing potential of textiles to create texture, volume and touchyfeely deliciousness. Even though fashion & textiles are sisters, designers rarely veer away from the most plain knits and weaves. Most people don’t even know that textile art is a thing, because it is largely seen as a craft activity, and generates very little attention. For some reason people don’t take sculptures made of fabric and yarn as seriously as ones made of metal or wood. Same-sies with wall hangings and paintings. Places like Etsy.com are starting to change people’s minds about craft being a dirty word, but in terms of gallery art, textiles artists are still pretty thin on the ground. The art vs craft debate is an ongoing hot topic, and I’m not here to weigh in on it, so I’ll leave it at that and get to the point… With the under-representation of artisan textiles in mind, it is noteworthy that a brand like Céline included a piece as textile-y as this one is. Given that they are famous for their clean lines and sleek, sexy minimalism, this coat is really special.
It reminded me a lot of the work of Sheila Hicks, a famous-if-ur-into-textile art artist. She has done a lot of white on white work focusing on different textures and yarns and the like. Working with just one colour she creates blocks of texture to create variety and interest within the surface. Much like the above coat. Even if you couldn’t care less about textiles and craft and things that are handmade, I think people always like to see where designers find their inspiration. And I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Phoebe Philo was flicking through Sheila Hicks’ book when she was designing this collection.
So now you know.