Alison Gill: " Fashion & Power".

Point of View: Deconstruction Fashion, which should not be defined as a negative critique of the fashion industry, serves to change the discourse of fashion away from its established, seemingly intrinsic, codes.


My new fashion/textiles project will be based on deconstructing a garment and reinventing it. I am really excited for this project and I thought that maybe doing some research now, would be quite useful in order to get a head start. Firstly I wanted to research the artists or designers, who used deconstruction and putting their own twist on already invented items. I stumbled up on Alison Gill's "Deconstruction Fashion: the making of unfinished, decomposing and re assembled clothes" describes the theory of deconstructionism as it relates to fashion. She begins with a history of the term "deconstruction," describing its original terminology as a philosophical theory used to critique language and codes. Deconstruction was then practiced by architects and graphic designers in the 1980's when Martin Margiela began designing deconstructionist fashion. Margiela would take apart the linings from vintage dresses and sell them with the darts, seams, and zipper entirely visible, rethinking the role of fashion to hide its magical construction to create a suitable garment.

Gill then goes in depth on the term "deconstruction" and its named critique by creator Jacques Derrida. Derrida claims that deconstruction should not be linked to a negative critique (it is not to be called 'destruction') on society, or in this case the normalized fashion industry, but rather the introduction of a new discourse in the way we view the working of social codes. While this type of thinking may be related to post-modernism Derrida is also skeptical to place this label on the term in fear that it creates a temporal confinement that is aligned with a movement rather than a new way of thinking and rethinking.

Deconstruction is also a living critique of the fashion system. Decontructivist designers reveal fashion’s charms with in her collection– ornament, glamour, spectacle, illusion, fantasy, and exclusion. Importantly however, the designer is not just not destoying. It is instead a simultaneous “forming and deforming, constructing and destroying, making and undoing clothes.” The design and anti-design are equally essential.

In my opinion the way that Gill thinks is especially relevant in our society because it makes us question what is right and what is wrong. Why do we wear these clothes the way that we do? Is it because we are tolled by others how they are meant to be worn and that it is the right way to do so? I can use these questions and Gill's opinion, to investigate and scrutinise the per pose and form of " The Jacket", forgetting about it initial use or shape and just focusing on the body and how the shape of the jacket may be moulded to it. 

( info found -


" Deconstruction" by Alexander McQueen.

Maison Martin Margiela.

After reading through Alison Gill's discussion about deconstruction and people who really inspired her: I decided to research Martin marginal and his concepts with in his work. 

Martin Margiela is a designer whose work occupies a unique position in the contemporary fashion world. The consistency of his vision has made him one of the most influential and iconoclastic designers of the last decade. Born in Limbourg, Belgium in 1959, he establish his own brand in 1988, Paris. Margiela staged his first collections in unusual locations such as an abandoned metro or a circus tent. The fashion press labelled his fashion mood 'deconstruction' - an attempt to disclose the process and craft of making clothes. Martin Margiela eschewed the cult of personality that surrounds many designers and instead fostered a 'cult of impersonality', a further deconstruction of the conventions of the fashion industry. This is why this designer links well, with my " Jacket" project, he questions the boundaries with in the fashion industries and tries to push them.

( info found - ).  

Margiela uses recycling and raw finishes, in an intelligent and sleek manner, his ideas provoked, shock and intrigue. In a rejection of mass media culture, Margiela became an anonymous design hand and has hardly ever been photographed or interviewed. 

"It was really a shock for everybody to see Margiela's first silhouettes... you realised that he was much more advanced than everybody else," designer Bob Verhelst, told Icon in 2009.


Again, this designer has influenced the fashion world by remaking and reconstructing the items that have been labeled and dictated the uses for. 

( info found - ). 

Viktor & Rolf, ss2011.

I continued to look for designers who took garments and using deconstruction re-made them into a totally different garment. Viktor ( Horsting ) & Rolf ( Snoeren ), two Dutch designers, born in 1969, whose spring/ summer 2011 collection was dominated by deconstructed. male shirts: crisp white, embroidered with feathered cotton stripes of blue or orange fabric, their huge shoulders and triple cuffs down the arm a suggestion of the exaggerated in proportion. The duo have stated inspirations are drawn from dreams which are brought to fruition through the art of fabric and design. Renowned for their concept-driven shows, Viktor & Rolf's runway presentations deliver incredibly intricate designs through the deconstruction of fragile fabrics such as tulle and chiffon. The duo is also quite keen advocates of a-symmetrical designs.

Wild eccentricity worked into the conventional imagery of mens' shirts and bridalwear was compelling, entertaining and beautiful: pearl-beaded collars that were stretched off one shoulder, they came in crisp, white with bibbed fronts or in fine stripes of blue and white with tails so long they flowed out of the legs of little tailored shorts. The fact that shirts may also be associated with business mens' wear contrasts well with the fact that the designers strived to reconstruct it into a bridal gown, which probably is the most soft and feminine garment. Also some were morphed into gorgeously, shapely, silk dresses that had jersey panels suddenly cut against the body in a great display of Viktor & Rolf’s play on proportions. There were a lot of garments that  consisted of voluminous shirts sucked tight to the body and others that blew up over exaggerating the body shape. 

I think the key to deconstruction and transformation is to go very dramatic, some thing bold and interesting. I think a tailored jacket, is something very structured and stiff: so it will be interesting to play around with lines and maybe aim to create something futuristic or something totally different: soft and feminine. 

( info found on -

                        - ).

Viktor & Rolf, ss2011.

History behind the jacket.

Fashion has been at the heart of culture and socialisation: if shows the differentiation between groups, social statuses and even the ethnic heritage. 

" I treat fashion as a cultural practice as well as a symbolic product". 

( book used - " Fashion-ology, an Introduction to fashion studies" by Yuniya Kawamura ). 

Personally i agree wight he above statement, I feel like fashion has brought many cult pieces, which are now referred to a symbolic since they may carry history with them. For example the jacket has been a staple piece through the first world war, whine it has been associated with strength and masculinity, all the way to the eighties to nasa days, where you can see women wearing it, and it has been evolved not only aesthetically, but the meaning that carries has always been adjusted. 

Eighties and Nineties was cultured, strong and asserted, women have take-over in a traditionally-male-dominated environment such as the workplace and, more specifically, in business. From its origins to today, the world of the jacket carries history of the changes taken place in peoples and cultures, and to the particular concepts of masculine and feminine of a society: a jacket has an anthropological value every time you wrap your body in one. Today, it is a versatile garment: super-feminine and elegant when decorated with jewelled detailing, like an evening jacket as a chic alternative to a dress, or sexy and casual.

( info found - ). 

The jacket has become a cult: an item from men’s fashion that has slowly progressed through various social circumstances and the ideas of visionary designers to end up as part of the female wardrobe. It is a constantly-changing symbol of social revolutions, be they silent or loud, like the First World War or the Eighties, and is redesigned from year to year, deconstructed and reinvented. Designers such as Chanel, Armani and YSL, played a big role with in the jacket industry, evolving not only its shape but giving it a new meaning and status allowing it to become more feminine. I am excited to start out project, since I will be able to manipulate such a cult piece and come up with something of my own.

 From its origins as a development of Renaissance military-wear, the jacket has been part of the narrative of social and cultural changes and, above all, has fully reflected the evolution of the image of women over the years.The jacket was first known as a frock coat, and then as a tailcoat, among the pampered fashion- conscious aristocrats of Versailles. It was then transformed into a dress coat by the English gentry during the Industrial Revolution. Wearing a jacket to work started in the first half of the 19th new all-male hedonism, started to make its presence felt: a business jacket was worn by bankers and senior officials, and it continues to be a cornerstone of menswear today.

During the First World War, things have changed: men left for war and women not only took over their roles but also adjusted their wardrobe to become more masculine and borrowed the jacket as one of the new pieces. The female form has been changed: broad shoulders, sinked in waists, strong and simple silhhuetes were ruling the world. In 1929, the Jacket has made an appearance, becoming more relaxed and elegant, Coco Chanel, has adjusted it's form, mekong it a staple. 



Military Jacket, of the Russian ( St. Petersburg, 1850s) imperial, Alexander II.

Russian Military Jacket ( image found in a book about" Russia, royal, costume", from St Petersburg.

First World War period, women adjusting the jacket.

Coco Chanel, The Little Black Jacket.

First created by the label's eponymous founder, Coco Chanel, the item was intended to free women from the constraints of the cinched-in silhouettes of the Fifties.

Chanel wanted something that would free women from 50s stereotypes, she didn't want them to feel restricted or imprisoned in a costume. Although now days it may not be unusual, to adapt something from mens wear, Gabriel Chanel took a revolutionary step, transforming not only a woman's wardrobe but the whole style of the society. 

"The hardest thing about my work is enabling women to move with ease, to move like they're not in costume," she says in the film. "Not changing attitude, or manner, depending on their dress - it's very difficult. And the human body is always moving."


Coco Chanel, The Little Black Jacket.

" Knitwear, Chanel to Westwood".

Although I have finished my " Jacket Project", as soon as I found out about the Knitwear exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles museum, I ran to see it, because it linked well with my project. I have incorporated knit within the structure and it worked very well, adding texture and detail to the over all composition. In addition, I have attended the short knitwear workshop and have done a few finger knitting samples, so having a stroll around such a great exhibition wouldn't be of any harm. 

The exhibition introduced Knitting as one of the most fundamental textiles techniques, produced from a continuous yarn and simple needles. Early examples of knitting, dated from Coptic and Egyptian culture, that still exist, along with with hats, stockings and knitted undergarments from the sixteenth century. Knitted items retain an immediacy and an association with those who wear or create them. I think, because knitwear is so ancient and is associated with your grandma sitting in front of the fire and knitting a sock, makes me want to incorporate it within my work and explore it. Push it to the limit and use it in various ways that would actually disguise it's origins

The examples on display are taken predominately from the private collection of Mark and Cleo Butterfield, whose passion for knitted garments co-exists with their work as some of the most important collectors of antique and vintage clothing and accessories. 

I have been to the Fashion and Textiles museum before, and it is generally quite small: but this time it was even smaller. The way the work was curated, the space grew upwards but still being a little crammed. At the entrance there was a room containing a couple of student works. I was so fascinated to see the modern approach to knitwear and even more excited after finding out that a couple of student were actually from Central Saint Martins. Made me proud. 

I moved through the exhibition, which began from vintage knitwear and finally progressing toward more modern approach, which is something that fascinates me. Nothing get's me more angry that someone describing knitwear as a " jumper" or a " scarf". The were some fascinating works from Mark Fast and especially Julian Macdonald. His work compelled me towards it, the variety of texture and material defiantly played  huge role. Macdonald's work was exhibited under the title of " A New Era", he revolutionised knitwear in the 1990's. His virtuoso use of knitwear machines and experimental application of unorthodox materials changed the industry's perception of knitted garments, electrified fashion and led to jobs with Chanel and Givenchy, in addition to creation his eponymous label. 

Julien Macdonald, AW 2012 collection, " Broadway".

Julien Macdonald.

Straight after I attended the " Knitwear Chanel to Westwood", at the Fashion and textiles museum, the garment by Julien Macdonald couldn't leave me alone. It looked like it was made out of scales, the intricate, beading caught the light and made the garment irresistible. 

Julien Macdonald studied fashion knit wear at The University of Brighton, which lead to him receiving a scholarship for the Royal Collage of Art. After Macdonald's rowdy graduation collection in RCA in 1996,  Karl Lagerfeld was so impressed with Macdonald’s craftsmanship and genius with knits that he promptly made him head designer of all knits at the house of Chanel and his own label from 1996-98. As well as being a creative-director for Givenchy in 2001. Three years later Julien returned to London to concentrate on his own label and his continued high profile presence in London ensures his is the hottest ticket at London Fashion week.

( info found on -,-julien ). 

Every time he designs the new collection he keeps fresh new inspiration and woman in mind, he develops his work side by side with the fashion trends. He says he tries to develop his style of knit for each season but one thing always remains the same: GLAMOUR. It is fundamental for the designer to the woman wearing the garment feel sexy and fabulous. The designer collects his inspiration from everywhere : 

" It is hard to define what inspires me, as my inspiration could come from anything- from an exhibition I have visited at the Royal Academy of Art to the colours in a market stall in Marrakech! Art galleries are always a key source for my research and London has some of the best exhibitions in the world. I also like to keep track of new interior and art books, as they are full of innovation and creative ideas". 

Working with a mixture of old and new lace techniques and super-strethcy yarns, he produces knitwear with an ope-knit stitch effect that fits beautifully to the figure. All of his knit is made in-house at his London atelier and is created on all different kinds of knit machinery, depending on the techniques being used in each garment. 

The designer always starts by developing prints and textiles rather than working straight on the body or sketching, although he does state that colour, texture, pattern and silhouette, all play a very important role in developing collections, 

" I have a passion for decorative arts and textures. Surface design and knit are what my collections revolve around". 

( info found in - " Fashion Knitwear", book by Jenny Udale). 

I love his work, it is so inspiring and full of innovation. The fact that Macdonald doesn't stop discovering and evolving his techniques is what I mainly appreciate within his craft. He moves knitwear from to the next level. 

Julien Macdonald, "42nd Street".

The " Renaissance" dress and the " Vdara" jumpsuit.

Dion Lee, Woolmark Collection.

I was searching for another designer or an artist who's work would link well with the jacket project. I seem to look for deconstruction in fashion, material manipulation or something relevant to structure, containing bold shapes, curves and sharp lines. When I stubbled unto Dion Lee, I wouldn't exactly say he " deconstruct" garments, but for this collection he had to use specific material ( wool ) that he had to manipulate and come up with suitable garments. He's designs are very futuristic and the reason why I have researched into him was because the sillhuets of his garments are over exaggerated: for example the shoulder or neck line are extended, as well machine cut, delicate but yet modern details at the back or the side of the garments. 

Sydney based Dion Lee was selected to represent Australia for The International Woolmark Award, although he didn't win - Belgian Christian Wijnants took out the major prize - the 26-year-old womenswear visionary produced a collection that showed off his extraordinary gift for pattern-making, construction and detail.

His remarkable talent for pattern making combined with his hands-on approach to collection development support his intricacy of vision. Lee’s skill is accompanied by an already established consistency of aesthetic which has made his rise in the fashion world each season seem steady, whilst simultaneously meteoric.

He has created a stunning collection of sculptural creations showcasing his signature contemporary, architectural aesthetic. Lee proved the versatility of Woolmark wool by incorporating unspun roving, merino knit yarns and needle felted mesh into his designs, which were inspired by Danish architect Jorn Utzon – the man behind Sydney’s Opera House – as well as Max Dupain’s stunning photographs of building constructions and Australia’s 

( info found on - 

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Jørn Utzon .

After researching a designer Dion Lee I was fascinated by the fluid lines and curves present within his work. Looking into his inspirations, I found out that he was influenced by the famous architect Jørn Utzon, who is mainly known for the Sydney's opera. I have seen his designs before and can definitely relate the shapes and silhouettes not only to Lee's work but also the curves of plastic that are in my work. Therefore researching deeper into the architect would be very beneficial since the shapes that are frequently present in his design mirror the drapery and curves within my jacket. In addition looking the Sydney opera building I can reflect to the jacket manipulations on shoulder and how the layers of material. 

Jørn Utzon was born on April 9,1918 in Copenhagen. He grew up in the town of Aalborg, where his father was a naval architect and engineer and director of the local shipyard. A keen sailor, Utzon originally intended to follow his father as a naval engineer, but opted to study Architecture at the Copenhagen Royal Academy of Arts. He received his Diploma in Architecture from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.

The architect of Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon was a relatively unknown 38 year old Dane until January 29, 1957 when his entry, scheme number 218, was announced winner of the ‘International competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point, Sydney’. With his vision the City of Sydney was to become an international city.Utzon’s competition entry was a schematic design, clearly explaining the concept for the building. The sketches and “geometrically undefined” curves of course needed to be developed for the building to be built. This is quite normal for competition projects. Utzon himself was sure it could be built and in the pioneering spirit present in Sydney at the time, construction went ahead. The design was influenced by the early exposure to shipbuilding provided the inspiration for the Sydney Opera House ‘sails’ and also help him solve the challenges of their construction. From his travels to Mexico, he had the idea of placing his building on a wide horizontal platform. I always find it quite interesting, what are artists influence: numerous things trigger ideas, not necessarily art work, but fabrics, materials or places. Me being as an inter nation student, I find my self picking up the pieces both from back at home and London. I usually pay a lot of attention to the buildings since they tend to reflect the ethnicity of the country. No wonder our tutors always tell us that we need a variety of sources and research. Vide range of research and inspiration always helps to come up with more creative ideas. 

( info found on - ). 

For various reasons, Utzon resigned as architect to the project in 1966, but the Opera House, which is considered to be one of the most important 20th-century works of architecture, made Utzon world-famous and resulted in his being given commissions far and wide, including the Melli Bank in Teheran (1963) and the parliament building in Kuwait (1978-85). Looking through the images of both these buildings, I feel like they are so different. The Melli Bank seems much more boxy and heavy, the core structure of the building is much more solid in comparison to the parliament billing, which has the beautiful curvy columns, and lines similarly. But say that, the building still has those lines which frame the building and curve round the structure. 

In Denmark Utzon has only been responsible for a small number of buildings: in addition to some of the country's earliest high density low buildings from around 1960, there is Bagsværd Church (1977) and Paustian's furniture store (1987) in the Nordhavn district of Copenhagen. 

( info found on - ). 

I found it quite fascinating to look into an architect because I feel very strongly towards this topic. I tend to absorb my inspiration from things that surround me: therefore things such as structured shapes and buildings have a big influence on my work. 

Sydney Opera House

Jacket manipulation, mirroring the sails of the Sydney opera.

parliament building in Kuwait

Melli Bank in Teheran


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