Monday, May 16, 2011

Antonella Petraccaro

When I saw the video for Antonella Petraccaro's BA graduate presentation, I was instantly impressed that a) a BA student would have a collection so completely different from those of her peers at the Institute for Fashion Design Basel (a.k.a. the Swiss school whose name knows no end), and b) the concept of said collection would be so well developed and executed, while having a lot of potential to be developed further in future collections/graduate studies. According to Antonella, the point of her collection, entitled '1-2-8' (i.e. one-to-eight), was "the concept of the collection, which was finding a link between performance and fashion design." This concept is seen right off the bat when you see the material Antonella works with, for all of the pieces are constructed from one very long rectangular piece of very stiff and paper-like double-sided fabric that is white on one side and black/grey on the other. This fabric is first wrapped in succession around the eight models standing in a line to create a chain of semi-covered models.

The fabric is then cut between the bodies so that each model has one coil of the fabric around them. Antonella then goes to each model in turn and molds the fabric into shapes resembling garments (some more loosely than others) with snaps and markings on that model's cut of fabric.

Antonella recognizes that her pieces are more prototypes than actual garments, but she wanted to stress the process of creating fashion. I do think that a couple of the shapes created could be worn as-is, at least if the wearer would be able to recreate them themselves from the flat piece of fabric (perhaps aided by Ikea-like instructions). However, I would be interested to see if Antonella could further develop these pieces into more ready-to-wear garments that still retain a bit of the intended concept, as we don't all get dressed like Daphne Guinness. Just imagine the closet space you'd save if you could just buy one long piece of fabric and still get eight different garments out of it...

To digress, I think runway presentations would be a whole lot more interesting if they were more performance-like, demonstrating both how the clothes are made and how they are/can be put on and worn. Especially as runway shows will need to continue to develop, given that the sudden popularity of fashion video presentations will likely grow old quick, and Internet audiences will want more of a show than ten minutes of models precariously walking, particularly in the event that the Internet becomes more of a pay-per-view source in the very near future. And we have already seen a little bit of this with Julian Roberts and his subtraction cutting lectures, and Gareth Pugh's live creation of a dress online. So, designers, how about some more conceptual goodness? While my brain is whirring away, I for one think Heather Martin could put on a good show with pieces such as the mono Scarf Dress. But, then again, maybe I'm just bored with the Internets (and fashion) right now, and don't want to wait until Antonella's next step in her fashion career to be entertained again.

(Runway photos by Shoji Fujii via, others are my screen caps of Antonella's videos)

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