Breast Dressed

Gianni Molaro and the Eurozone Crisis

If Caesar, Vespas or the Pope can’t get you to go to Rome, here’s something that can: AltaRoma AltaModa.

Each January and July, the capital of Italy hosts its own avant garde fashion week. This platform for emerging designers is intended (per a translation of its mission statement) as a “promotion of excellence to neocoutur and, as the definition of a new language, a meeting place for tailoring tradition and cutting-edge research in an international context where it combines art, fashion and culture”.

Cutting edge? Indeed. While July 2012 was ripe with fresh neocoutur, it is impossible to overlook one particular designer’s runway show from January of this year. For the uninitiated, let me introduce you to Gianni Molaro.

Breast Coy …and the reveal:

Breast RevealedWhy, hello.

While the dress was, ehem, hands down, breast in show… there was also a live musical accompaniment performed by an electric violinist, whimsically dangling from a bellhop trolley.

Electric ViolinistThere were bicycle tires and broken hearts, golden feathers, spikes and umbrella dresses.

Umbrella Corset

Broken Heart

Bicycle Tire & Wings

And another big reveal:

Black Zipped

Black RevealUnfortunately, I do not know much about Mr. Molaro’s point of view, or what, if any, statement is intended by his Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 collection. While it is clearly a warm weather/spring rain collection… its cohesion is not automatically apparent. It is the intersection of Rome, art and fashion, or at least one Roman’s art and fashion, but is it good, or merely provocative?

We do know that Moloaro creates with purpose. In June of this past year, Molaro designed a wedding dress with a nearly two mile-long train. (Believe it or not, his only ties the record for world’s longest train.) The designer described the garment as a symbol of peace and hope.

Molaro Wedding Trainbearers

“This is the hallmark of couture Roman, a restatement of the contemporary style, declined through clothes and accessories together with the city”…

And from the city that brought you Fellini and Caligula, here are other selected showstoppers from Mr. Molaro’s January show:

Yellow Spikey Shoulders

White Gown

White and Yellow

White Yellow Pink


Scary Beautiful

Scary Beautiful

Leanie van der Vyver is a recent graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and a nominee for the fine art and design university’s annual thesis award.

And I suspect, in an ironic twist, a major upcoming name in fashion.

Scary Beautiful

The Cape Town, South Africa-born artist’s Bachelor of Design thesis project, “Scary Beautiful”, is a pair of “shoes” fabricated by phenomenal Dutch shoe designer René van den Berg.

Scary Beautiful

As a commentary on the impossible standards of beauty, the backwards-facing, leather shoes have a massive front heel extending down from the shin. The toes are facing backwards at a sharp angle into what looks like a ballet pointe shoe. The objets d’art are accompanied by a video of a young woman strapped into the shoes, weirdly loping across a room. The result is sort of sexy, sort of S&M-y, but completely absurd.

From the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Award Jury report:

“One observes the design forcing the wearer to develop a new way of walking, leaning forward while refining a painfully fragile balance. The jury applauds the way aesthetics, ergonomics and prosthesis merge into an awkward choreography.”

Van der Vyver says, “’Scary Beautiful’ challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.”

Think that’s crazy? What’s your take on neon t-shirts, Ugg boots or the Kardashians?

Scary Beautiful

From her thesis “Playing God”:

“It is human nature to want to be more than what we are, and from the beginning of time we have gone to extreme measures to express on the outside how we desire to be perceived. On the surface, we are physically turning into ideal dream versions of ourselves. Being born a certain way is no longer a life sentence. We can choose exactly who we want to be. What are the possibilities of this new God-like control we have over our bodies?”

Born this way, what?

Van der Vyver confirmed to Yahoo Shine, “Yes, on request I did actually send them to Studio Formichetti for a Lady Gaga music video, but I could not get confirmation whether she actually used them. I did not charge for her to possibly use them. I would love to sell them to a gallery.”

I’m very sure she will. They are already on The Virtual Shoe Museum. But I’d also really love to see these in a dance video. Any stork-themed tunes being released?

Mother Monster in McQueen
The Gerrit Rietveld Academie Award 2012 ceremony will be held on October 25th at Intellectual Playground Castrum Peregrini, Herengracht 401 in Amsterdam. The [S]ELECTED exhibit at Castrum Peregrini features all of the award nominees, and is on display from September 20 to November 3, 2012.


Propeller Head

There are many reasons to be jealous of Dita Von Teese. Perhaps my most coveted was her front row seat at last month’s Philip Treacy show at London Fashion Week.

Philip Treacy at London Fashion Week

The show marked the avant-garde milliner’s first show in London in twelve years. Beyond the phenomenon of Treacy’s incredible art-for-the-head, there were a whole lot of notable points about this show: that it was opened by Lada Gaga, declaring Treacy “the greatest milliner of all time”; that it showcased some of Michael Jackson’s most famous stage outfits (and music); and that in a time when they often have difficulty getting work, Treacy’s runway was cast exclusively with black models.

As if that weren’t enough to leave the audience wide-eyed and giddy, enter collaborator Moritz Waldemeyer, an East German technology/art/fashion designer now living in London. Waldemeyer created two hats for the show: one in partnership with Treacy, the second, of his own design.

Philip Treacy Shroud Hat

Philip Treacy’s “Shroud hat” was developed by Waldemeyer using 6000 LED lights programmed with animated sequences. The structure fully cloaks the model but is supported only by the head. When the lights shine directly out onto the audience, the shroud appears to float.

Treacy-Waldemeyer Shroud Hat

The piece itself is an intricate mesh of threads woven around a specially designed styrofoam core. The threads are soaked in resin, which when dry are rigid, allowing the creation to be complex, but still lightweight.

Waldemeyer-Treacy Virtual Reality Hat

For Waldemeyer’s own design, he created the “Virtual Reality” headpiece. The “hat” is actually a propeller encircling the model’s head. The end of each blade is finished with LED lights. When in motion, the hardware disappears, giving the illusion of a wide, unattached, halo of light.

Waldemeyer-Treacy Virtual Reality Hat

Waldemeyer-Treacy Virtual Reality Hat

Waldemeyer's LED lights

Waldemeyer refers to his contributions to the show as “Millinery for the 21st Century”. On the merger of his lighting and fashion design: “It has long been my aim for the technology to disappear, to dissolve it into the surface of the work, so that the light effects themselves become the focus”.

Waldemeyer-Treacy Virtual Reality Hat

How long, I wonder, until Tyra Banks gets a wobbly second generation version of the “Virtual Reality” headpiece? I very much look forward to season 457 of “America’s Next Top Model”, when Tyra has the girls in 8” stilettos, centrifugally-forcing their way down a mylar balloon runway, bobbing atop a pool of dumpster juice.

Waldemeyer-Treacy Virtual Reality Hat

Fabulous, avant-garde hats off to Philip Treacy and Moritz Waldemeyer for a well-lit future.

Waldemeyer-Treacy Virtual Reality Hat