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A new book pays tribute to the power of, and need for, col­lec­tive in­ge­nu­ity in fashion.

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By Lind­say Tap­scott

Writer Lou Stop­pard’s new book sug­gests the future of fashion lies in col­lab­o­ra­tion.

CLOCKWISE (FROM LEFT): A SHOT FROM THE AN­DREAS KRONTHALER FOR VIVIENNE WESTWOOD SPRING 2017 CAM­PAIGN FEA­TUR­ING THE HUS­BAND AND WIFE DUO; RIC­CARDO TISCI AND MARIACARLA BOSCONO ON THE COVER OF DAZED

& CONFUSED, OC­TO­BER 2011; JEW­ELLER SHAUN LEANE AND THE LATE ALEXAN­DER MCQUEEN

In fashion, we tend to re­vere the star de­signer, the star model or the star pho­tog­ra­pher. But in her new book, Fashion To­gether: Fashion’s Most Ex­tra­or­di­nary Duos on the Art of Col­lab­o­ra­tion, 27-year-old Bri­tish jour­nal­ist Lou Stop­pard does a deep dive into some­thing we’ve for­got­ten to up­hold: col­lab­o­ra­tion. “Fashion doesn’t work like that,” says Stop­pard of the one-star sys­tem. “You can’t do any­thing in fashion with­out a group of peo­ple; ev­ery show is team­work, ev­ery photo shoot is team­work, ev­ery col­lec­tion is team­work.” As the ed­i­tor of SHOWs­tu­dio, the Lon­don-based fashion film and broad­cast­ing web­site founded by pho­tog­ra­pher Nick Knight, Stop­pard has spent years cov­er­ing col­lec­tions and con­duct­ing in-depth in­ter­views with fashion’s most fa­mous. SHOWs­tu­dio is de­voted to re­veal­ing the cre­ative process—lit­er­ally “show stu­dio”—and Stop­pard’s work for it, she says, in­formed her book. “I’m in­ter­ested in how peo­ple get to the fi­nal re­sult—all the work and ef­fort that goes on be­hind the scenes. Of­ten it’s just as in­ter­est­ing as the com­pleted gar­ment or pho­to­graph.” This is also what makes Fashion To­gether so rich with in­sights from the 18 de­sign duos Stop­pard spot­lights. Says Jonathan An­der­son, of readyto-wear la­bels J.W. An­der­son and Loewe: “You can be the most genius de­signer in the world. You can make the most in­cred­i­ble cloth­ing and come up with the most in­cred­i­ble sil­hou­ettes, but if you’re un­able to col­lab­o­rate, it will never grow.” An­der­son works closely with stylist Ben­jamin Bruno. Other cre­atives in­ter­viewed for the book in­clude Jack McCol­lough and Lazaro Her­nan­dez of Proenza Schouler and jew­eller Shaun Leane on his re­la­tion­ship with the late Alexan­der McQueen.

It’s also fas­ci­nat­ing to see how each pair de­scribes team­work as in­dis­pens­able to their process; it’s what pushes them for­ward, in­spir­ing them to grow and in­no­vate. For ex­am­ple, Dutch de­signer Iris van Her­pen, whose cut­ting-edge cre­ations rock fashion’s bound­aries each sea­son, has worked with some­one com­pletely out­side fashion’s sphere: Cana­dian ar­chi­tect Philip Beesley. “Col­lab­o­ra­tion can help fashion move for­ward be­cause some­times it’s so iso­lated,” she says. “I think it’s very beau­ti­ful when it’s more in­ter­ac­tive with the world around us.”

The in­dus­try is tak­ing no­tice, too. Vete­ments, the col­lec­tive that saw in­stant fame with its 2014 de­but col­lec­tion, com­prises seven de­sign­ers (Demna Gvasalia, his brother Gu­ram and five friends) who take pride in work­ing to­gether. “It has to be demo­cratic,” says older brother Demna. “It’s the most ef­fi­cient way to work.” And in late 2016, global trend fore­caster Lidewij Edelkoort spoke at The Busi­ness of Fashion’s an­nual VOICES con­fer­ence (think TED Talks but for fashion), de­tail­ing the ma­jor changes she thought the in­dus­try needed to make in or­der to re­main a for­ward-think­ing agent of change. Among them was a call to rec­og­nize the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­hind ev­ery col­lec­tion. “It’s un­be­liev­able that in ev­ery movie we see, at the end…all the names of the peo­ple in­volved in the film­mak­ing are there. In fashion, there is only one name.” She joked, “It’s very un­fash­ion­able, I think.”

As for what’s next? As younger de­sign­ers emerge, Stop­pard says we’ll see even more part­ner­ships be­tween peo­ple work­ing in to­tally dif­fer­ent fields. Mil­len­ni­als are more fluid in terms of how they de­fine them­selves and their roles. “They’ll try new things and work with peo­ple who aren’t nec­es­sar­ily from the same dis­ci­pline. I think that will lead to more in­ter­est­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions.”

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