Collections Paris, Spring 2014 ANDREW GN
By Pikke Allen
Andre Gn's statement about his collection is an homage to his favorite modern artists and were we to believe that the spirit of modernity was in the collection, then Mr. GN would indeed have been successful in his interpretation. I fear that he was only partially successful, in this, his first show in Paris, which was anticipated by everyone. I have always admired his work, but I fear that this concept for a spring collection may have been on the heavy side, so upon reading the designer statement, I was excited but perhaps a bit skeptical. His idea to use modern designers, a collection of both avant garde and modern artists was a clever one. But, it remains for the designer to put them together into a design that is not only conveying a message but also using a concept to its best effect.The "concept" was really pretty easy to understand: Take bold Modern graphics and Color blocking with color contrasts and put them onto the clothes that are beautifully crafted with a series of amusing surface patterns. But to do that alone, is not really the whole story and does not really do the movement justice.
The Modern Art Movement that Mr. GN has referenced was really a design movement which expressed itself in a variety of mediums: furniture, fabrics, paintings, sculpture, etc. and an entire approach to a way of living that has a structure that also drove the designs. What Andrew Gn did here was to do a replay of textures, some fabrics and colors, but only towards the end did he embrace what was at the heart of the movement: A new way of building structure into everyday life that would become in itself, the design idea. I think as I watched the collection this idea was in development and took the entire show to reach its apex: The last set of pieces were a modern "re-think" of how a dress should be shaped, based on classical forms, and then mixed modern ideas. The best work of Mr. Gn's was the last group of dresses that came down the runway in new forms, structures, and used slashes of fabric, pattern and contrast that were actually built into the way the dress was put on, worn and seen from a distance. These were gorgeous and wearable and truly modern designs.
So, having processed through his ideas, fully expressing both patterns on surfaces, texture and color contrasts, the most forward thinking of the designs were these final dresses that really used the idea of modern art to their fullest effect: They re-interpreted an old concept of "Modernity" into some thing much newer and more fresh.
The Collection while decorative, did not fully address the ideas of a bold new and modern approach until the end. Then, I could see how the designer finally emersed himself in the ideas. I am such a fan of Mr. GN and hope that he will take a moment to let go of his ideas of decoration and approach structure, which is is so good at, in a more concerted and serious way so that something like the "little Black Dress" has a new lifespan. If anyone can do it, he can.