Looking like an upturned kaleidoscope in his garish suit, designer Jordan Gogos is the abstract embodiment of Australian fashion’s increasing status as art.
Along with Anna Plunkett from Romance Was Born, wearing an impressionistic shirt that captures the beauty of a sunset more vividly than most paintings, Gogos’s brand Iordane Spyridon Gogos, and First Nations Fashion and Design, are shifting the focus of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, which begins on Monday.
The commercial emphasis of past programs, similar to New York Fashion Week, is giving way to the creativity that once characterised London Fashion Week with the groundbreaking work of John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. Attention previously given to brands such as PE Nation, Ginger & Smart and international labels Jonathan Simkhai and Emilia Wickstead at AAFW, has shifted to the collective of designers who actively incorporate art into their work, supported with residency programs at the Powerhouse Museum.
“It isn’t always just art,” Gogos says. “Fashion is political, cultural, social. There are so many ways to engage with it.”
To produce the first show to be held at the Powerhouse Museum in its 142-year history, Gogos has enlisted 56 collaborators. For AAFW veterans Romance Was Born, individual artists such as Kathryn Del Barton, Lara Merrett and Jenny Kee have kept them at the sharpest point of Australia’s cutting edge.
“Fashion is political, cultural, social. There are so many ways to engage with it.”
JORDAN GOGOS, FASHION DESIGNER
“There is a new breadth of energy with each collaboration,” says Luke Sales, Plunkett’s partner in Romance Was Born. “People having a visceral response to what we are trying to communicate is what defines success for me. There is definitely a feeling that we try to communicate and if people pick up on that we have done our job.”
In previous shows Romance Was Born have taken over the Art Gallery of New South Wales, commissioned paper engineer Benja Harney to create Pop Art-inspired sets and last year installed a carousel inside Carriageworks. Next week the duo will show their Resort collection at Ken Done’s gallery, curating a selection of the artist’s larger pieces as backdrops to their potential, wearable masterpieces.
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