When times get tough, the tough buckle up. Studs, spikes, metallics, shields, shoulder pads...things seem to be referencing armour. It seems as though since the infamous Loubouitn for Rodarte heels, studs and spikes have been embraced as an embellishment for the modern pallette, with designers experimenting with various arrangements and stud styles, from Alexander Wang's planar approach (as demonstrated by the amazing Wang bag, Mary Kate is carrying below) to Sandra Backlund's knitted comfort armour. It is almost as though those in the know are protecting themselves from the world, and looking fantastic doing so.
This influence, however, is not always so startlingly apparent. While under a scrutinizing gaze, I came to the conclusion that armour, in reality, is really a form of deconstruction. This is no more obvious than when we look at "traditional" armour suits (the kinds your parents have in the corridor at the manor). Limbs are reduced to metal tubes, while elbows and knees are given the luxury of either being exposed of encased in glistening metal pleats, and lets not forget that elegant face grill.
Prada toyed with ideas of deconstruction and emphasis on certain areas of the body visible jockstrap straps (which i guess could be thought of as a kind of sports armour....of sorts?)
, secondary collars (possibly a play on office armour, being a status symbol?) and chest plate/bib, again juxtaposing the primitive nature of armour with fanciful high society. Even more recently they played with studs.
And how could we ever forget the appropriately weathered fabrics Ms Kawakubo sent down runways in Paris in the early eighties in opposition to the decadence of the decade. Perhaps, after so long on an upward climb through the late 90s and first decade of the noughties, a reality check was overdue...but don't worry, it's here now.
Diane Pernet's Hyeres Festival recently saw Simon-Pierre Touissant his collection that explored the struggles of growing up as a boy from a 16 years old until his early to mid twenties. This manifested itself in pure white undergarments beneath playful clothes and pieces of armour varying from full wooden armour suits to perhaps one of the most comforting pieces of armour, a sleeping bag.
At the same festival, Marite Mastina and Rolands Peterkops topped models' heads with oversized helmets of hair. The protection of a fringe.
Robust fortress like, architecture has always had a place in and around cities all over the wolrd, and is similarly symbolic. Used by governing bodies to display strength, heavy, masculine buildings encapsulate the street scapes of our favourite cities. Their walls large planar surfaces of stone provide a feeling of security to those that reside inside their cavernous bellies.
In other examples, singular planar walls provide more private buildings with a distinct sense of separation from busy city streets, allowing the user to feel worlds away by simply passing through a single door way.
Deconstructivism also has it's palce in archtecture as it does in clothing the body. While often taking on a lighter structure and cladding than it's more robust, fortified counterparts, these buildings often appear segmented and somewhat disjointed, at times cubist in nature. unnecessary space is eliminated leaving only the crucial spaces to define the form of the building. Architects such as Peter Eisenman, whose often controversial designs verge on the chaotic, nay for a single axis or coloured line that runs through an entire project restoring some sort of order.
As technology continually progresses, the variety in structural solutions and cladding opportunities continually expands, allowing for freer architectural expression.
Here's for the day of a Backlund clad army inhabiting the Wexner Centre for Arts:
(feel free to ask if you want specifics on any of the images, just as always)