How much “inspiration” can fit into a collection? And what exactly does it mean? Sometimes one wonders in amazement—or disbelief—at the mysterious process that many designers rely on to give conceptual depth to their work, and through which a conglomeration of ideas and images morphs into the tangible reality of an actual shirt, skirt, or pair of pants.
Goga Ashkenazi had inspiration in abundance for her Vionnet Pre-Fall collection. A cornucopia of references spilled out as she gave a passionate explanation of the clothing. Standing tall in front of a detailed mood board, she elucidated the following themes: contradicting realities, fake reality, still movement, light in the dark, wise/grown-up child, limited freedom, silent noise, naked but dressed. It was interesting, if a bit overwhelming. All this intense thinking was condensed into a believable collection by her capable team, which the indefatigable Ashkenazi brought on a trip to Iceland, where it was transfixed by the wondrous optical phenomenon of the aurora borealis and otherworldly landscapes. Hence the shades of almost fluorescent greens and purples on corrugated, fractured yet tactile surfaces in the collection. Starry patterns, embroidered or woven in wool and silk jacquards, were evocative and whimsical yet geometric; lines were pure and softly architectural; the ritual homage to the house-signature fluid draping and pleating was handled lightly. The circle and the rectangle were the starting points for shapes and volumes. And, as if the density of stimuli weren’t enough, Ashkenazi’s 6-year-old son was put to work: Already a talented miniature artist, he interpreted the Vionnet logo with a spontaneous drawing that was translated into embroideries for short chiffon tunics and elongated evening dresses.