We continue our Art & Culture articles casting a glimpse on what is occurring in modern stream of fashion and analysing how and why it resounds. In the ocean of the second millennium “avant-garde” art form emerges as a huge wave, which has nearly provoked a typhoon or revolutionary tsunami in many spheres of everyday life. Through poetry, music, literature, art, sculpture, cinema do we see the echoing scream of this Avant-guardian, who seems to guard the anti-logos, abolish the classics of harmony and undermine the boundaries, which though perceived as constraints have led to the creation of many harmonious, inspirational and simply beautiful “chef-d`oeuvres” that appeal not only to the small “cohort” of people but to many of Us, to the human beings in general.
Avant-garde spurs many other “waves” – such of interest, disapproval, acceptance or critique. Their appearance is normal and natural in ever-moving and unstable society of today. With its ebbs and flows of the tide, the ocean of the Mankind is never still. Many new cultural phenomena are emerging on its surface as a result of constant “oceanic” movement and activity.
In the following article our columnist Bekbolot Asanakunov introduces the Avant-Garde movement to the Readers of Cyprus Observer.
We are to ruminate on this peculiar phenomenon of contemporary world and question: Can the “avant-garde” appeal to people who are within the classical and conservative stream? Does it correspond to our perception of harmony, beauty and elegance? Or was it just created to give a room for creative outburst of certain artists who, however, do not always aim to get the positive feedback and recognition from the masses but rather impress people, and even shock them, or get the acceptance from the publics with similar tastes and viewpoints. In any case, the submission of “final verdict” is left to the “degustators”, to the human beings whom such art is always addressed to.
It`s our prerogative to decide which wave to follow and in which direction to surf. So, let`s move forward, making choices freely and wisely….
Foreword by Taliya Khafizou
Avant-Garde in Fashion
Fashion Far from Sense? Or Art out of Fashion?
by Bekbolot Asanakunov
In the field of arts there have always been “opposites” that could not exist without each other. It happens in films with three-act script structure against David Lynch’s art-houses, we witness it in music with Celine Dion on the one side and some punk rock groups on the other, but nowhere does this difference pulsates and causes as much conflicting opinions as it does between classical fashion and avant-garde one.
When we see “avant-garde” suits, the first thing that comes to mind is that designers simply ran out of ideas or they just chose the wrong profession. Even Salvador Dali, who was breathing with Avant-grade and spontaneity, said: “Before developing your own traits and style, you need to learn to paint as the masters of the past”. However, avant-garde masters of today are acclaimed and considered as “recognized and prolific”: these are Paco Rabanne, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, to name just a few who all work in Avant-Garde flow. And the only reason behind their “fashionable” attires is that They want to make them, and more importantly – it appears that they can do that.
The rise to Olympus of fashion is however sometimes marked with very awkward and mind-confusing “creations”. Such things are not always familiar to the human eye, though “avant-garde” artısts often collaborate with well-known brands. For instance, Yohji Yamamoto produced famous franchise “Y-3” in collaboration with Adidas.
Avant-Garde (Anti-Fashion) to the modeler is the platform for an absolute creativity which can embody the most courage ideas, fantasies and fears. Models are canvases, materials represent paints and sewing machine is the brush. We have to remember that fashion-shows consist not only of clothes, but also of the lighting, music and “entourage”. Among these works are the particularly impressive collections of Hussein Chalayan, who creates outfits that are changing before your eyes.
- Example of Hussein Chalayan fashion that changes in front of your eyes
Moreover, these experiments find their owners in the form of collectors who are willing to pay big sums of money. Sometimes, they find practical applications like in 1972, when the famous people of the time visited the ball in the Rothschild mansion, where the surreal and shocking costume was a through ticket.
But the question is: “How far avant-garde and modernist ideas can lead us?” And what is the reason for spending good deals of money for the art which sometimes appears as being on the verge of “nonsense”? Pictures hereby show the beginning of this fashion that found itself throughout the world. It got second wind out of Pierre Cardin’s hands who had gone through all stages of fashion designer. He was creating all possible things from clothes to water. Cardin said: “I’ve done it all! I even have my own water! I’ll do perfumes, sardines. Why not? During the war, I would have rather smelled the scent of sardines than of perfume. If someone asked me to do toilet paper, I’d do it. Why not?” In other words, in search of new discoveries avant-garde outfits appeared, which always present interesting style, color and the effect of such popular movements as cubism, in which, for instance, Pablo Picasso worked.
Fashion has always carried a social commentary. Elite society of people has been dressing up expensive and sometimes very uncomfortable clothes, developping a line between “rich” and “poor”. About the same time, the division into male and female was well emphasized. Coco Chanel was the first to erase those lines by “proposing masculine attire for women” (Lavinia Bam, Anti-Fashion, 2014). Later on, clothing was not only self-expression of your style, but also a way to convey your political and cultural views.
For instance, popularity on punk and grunge was rising when youth generation of Europe began to deny any involvement in capitalist world by recasting their clothes, making more holes in them or just taking the old clothes of their parents.
By some quırk of fate, the departure from the canons of conventional fashion was invented by the same capitalist designers as Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. What began in the 80s and ended in the 90s was a desire to change fashion rules, which were introduced by the same designers, to move away from the general canons, traditions and folklore…
However, in the 21st century, there is an impression that avant-garde appears for avant-garde. And there is one significant disadvantage: It is not stable. Avant-Garde implies something beyond the usual or normal, and when something that was considered as vanguard loses its originality due to the truly gained popularity or as a result of the fame imposed on the masses by media, it becomes ordinary. And the next step of Avant-Gardist artist is, in fact, a response with vanguard to vanguard of the past. Which leads us more to simple reactions, rather than important statements…
by Bekbolot Asanakunov