bafw: cora groppo

(images via dmodas)

after a couple of seasons’ acquaintance with argentine label cora groppo (see f/w 2010 & f/w 2011), one begins to realize we’re probably not going to see themes like cute fifties girl, military uniforms, or english garden parties.  no indeed, instead, for the s/s 2012 range presented at buenos aires fashion week the designer opted to draw her ideas from, as the bafw site explains (trans.), “organic forms of fungi in all species, taking into account how the scales, overlays, textures, layers and skins are transformed over time.”

as ms. groppo told pulso after the show (trans.), “The fungus produces a recycling of the skin, a change in its surface as a result of a change in its structure. This leads me to continue with an exploration of textiles to add value to the garment that has to do with the sensitive, i.e. the user’s relationship with the garment.  In each of the garments designed there are subtleties that make a collection light, transparent and lightweight, responsive to the fragile skin of the fungus, and in turn to a broader and more flexible silhouette. It is the possibility of the coexistence of different materials, each with a different composition and structure, with the challenge to achieve this coexistence within the same garment and within the entire collection is spun under the same concept.”

noting that the materials used had to correspond to the show’s themes of textures, tendencias de moda explained that they included voile, leather, satin, and pointelle, with (trans.) “shiny, opaque to transparent” appearances.  the colour palette, dark-as-characteristically-ever for ms. groppo, was strong on the grays and blacks, with some lighter shades like mauve, lilac, and white finding their way into the lineup, while patterns were restrained to some abstract, smudgy, black-white-gray newsprint-y streaks (see additional images at dmodas & the bafw blog).

interestingly enough, though ms. groppo’s influences may be far-flung and (seemingly) diversified, when actually faced with another collection one realizes how similar the aesthetics tend to be.  working profusely with slashes of fabric and deconstructed, asymmetrical layers is her forte, as is making something that appears almost futuristic from what should have been an organic source.  in the past we’ve seen x-ray fish photography and elephants inspire her, but those rounded shapes on the minidresses feel much the same (see additional images at femeninas & fashion radicals news).

and that isn’t meant to be a criticism, or, at least, not an unduly harsh one.  her designs rather remind me of pure rick owens (that is, as he designs, not as, say, gareth pugh likes to re-imagine him).  that is to say, the deviations are there, but they’re subtle, and it’s perhaps more intelligent fashion than some of those well-received houses that like to put on lavish shows and crow about the differences they’re effecting for a season when they’ve suddenly decided they hated everything they did last (even though it’s just hitting the stores now); we just have to spot them.

so that meant, for us, lots of little above-the-knee dresses, at once structured-and-deconstructed jackets (usually in leather; some of the prime pieces of the range), slim trousers, tight minis, and flowing river-y tops. and it was good.  it takes a different kind of customer to go in for a cora groppo collection, and i’m not sure it’s fair to judge her work on the same scale as the other designers (again, much like rick owens or ann demeulemeester).  rather, it’s more like artwork.  slowly evolutionary, but with greater ideas in mind than just producing a ‘cute’ dress.  and, sometimes difficult as they are, it’s worth it to take the time.

(watch a short catwalk video here)

updated: with new images

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