We are what we choose to ob­sess, col­lect, and wear this season.

VOGUE Australia - - News - By Zara Wong.

We are what we choose to ob­sess, col­lect and wear this season.

Striding and tricked out with trin­kets of minia­ture books, keys and roses, it was as though the Prada women were so ob­sessed with these found ob­jects they had strung them around their necks, off their belts, on and around their clothes. “Ev­ery­thing is sym­bolic. It is like a col­lage of what is happy or painful, of whether you are feel­ing beau­ti­ful or hor­ri­ble, when you have love or no love,” says Mi­uc­cia Prada back­stage at the Prada au­tumn/win­ter ’16/’17 show. “I thought of some­one who has all the clothes she’s ever had on the floor in front of her in the morn­ing, and she must choose how she’s go­ing to as­sem­ble her­self.” These vagabonds, as Mi­uc­cia calls them, might have un­cov­ered these trin­kets on their way­ward trav­els, ar­rang­ing their col­lec­tions on their bod­ies to tell tales of their adventures.


Col­lect­ing is about more than mere stuff. “The artist is a col­lec­tor,” ex­plains Austin Kleon, adding: “Hoard­ers col­lect in­dis­crim­i­nately, artists col­lect se­lec­tively.” To­day, the col­lect­ing of im­ages hap­pens on In­sta­gram, mu­sic on smart­phone playlists. The cu­ra­tion says more about us than sin­gle choices. The great col­lec­tors of his­tory in­clude Ru­dolf II, the Holy Roman Em­peror in the 16th cen­tury, whose Kun­stkam­mer had ar­chae­o­log­i­cal relics along­side fur­ni­ture and an­tique manuscripts (he also col­lected ex­otic plants and an­i­mals for his gar­dens) – a broad ex­panse of taste and knowl­edge. And col­lect­ing need not be exclusive to the aris­to­cratic or wealthy. Dorothy and Herb Vo­gel – a li­brar­ian and a postal clerk – amassed one of the most im­por­tant col­lec­tions of mod­ern Amer­i­can art in the 20th cen­tury, stored un­der their bed and around their one-bed­room New York apart­ment.

It is the act of se­lect­ing, gath­er­ing and or­gan­is­ing that sep­a­rates col­lecta­bles from things. Tak­ing a leaf from the Alessan­dro Michele-for-Guc­ciMichele- book of pas­tiches and re­con­tex­tu­al­is­ing (for au­tumn/win­ter ’16/’17 he looked to graf­fiti street art and Cather­ine de’ Medici, for starters), the woman this season as­sem­bles her­self from her col­lec­tion of ob­jects from art and trav­els. There were Egyp­tian relics and iconog­ra­phy at Givenchy, trans­lated into geo­met­ric pat­terns lay­ered with the Eye of Horus, and at Loewe, mod­els wore over­sized resin cat pen­dants, as though they were hang­ing choice pieces from their sculp­ture col­lec­tion around their necks. All the bet­ter to go with their metal and leather bustiers. Just as at Prada, Ni­co­las Gh­esquière’s women at Louis Vuit­ton were also trav­ellers in­spired by finds. “We had an idea of this trip, of a woman who could be a dig­i­tal hero­ine, like Tomb Raider, when she dis­cov­ers an ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site,” he said after the show. Burberry’s en­er­getic tex­tu­ral clash suited the la­bel’s sig­na­ture Bri­tish quirk, as if Christo­pher Bai­ley had ri­fled through a trea­sure chest of old fab­rics, draw­ing upon rec­ol­lec­tions of the past. The juxtaposition of tchotchkes that evoke the past and the present, here and away, cre­ate the com­plex weave of fash­ion to­day.

Mix­ing up what is found – fab­rics and ves­tures – is a pas­tiche of sym­bols and rec­ol­lec­tions; it’s the mean­ing we im­bue ob­jects with. And hav­ing own­er­ship of these ob­jects is an act of re­mem­ber­ing. As philoso­pher Wal­ter Ben­jamin best sur­mises: “Every pas­sion bor­ders on the chaotic, but the col­lec­tor’s pas­sion bor­ders on the chaos of mem­o­ries.”



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