One of my favorite web magazines Ping recently interviewed fashion designer Kosuke Tsumura. They talked about his most recent work where he designed 9 ensembles for 9 specific women, as opposed to designing for the market at large.
Now Ping described the project as "Tsumura would interview 9 women. Afterwards he would fantasise about them and would project things onto them – and create a dress based on these fantasies for each of them. Then, photographer Hiroyuki Matsukage would document the women wearing the dresses." But when I looked up the gallery's site, they described it as "he suggested to create the clothes exclusively to women who appeared in his mind. Based on the imagination, he selects the model. Having presentation and discussions with the models, he expands imagination and the fantasy more and creates a dress just for the model." To me, those are two very different scenarios.....but I guess, either way I find the project quite compelling.
I was surprised I'd never heard of Tsumura before, this project seems so relevant and interesting. But when I poked around his website and looked through his FINAL HOME work, I wasn't so surprised. It's a line meant to dress people up for urban survival. Sort of a practical take on the refugee/apocolyptic/natural disaster scene, without the power of Lucy Orta or the vulnerability of Hussein Chalayan. I'm not saying it's "bad", just that it's aim seems to be to really sell the work and reach everyday people and sometimes things like that don't get lots of press.
In some ways this project, I hesitate to call it a collection, felt flat to me by the way it was seemed more of a shallow fetishization of the female subjects. It was a bit too surface, in some ways. Tsumura said he only chose women because he couldn't "expand his imagination" on members of the same sex. Eh, I like someone who's not so afraid in that way. That said, the basic idea is a sound one that I won't forget.
The project is available in book form Fashion Mode to Order as well as being shown at Nakameguro’s Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo
In my explorations, I also found the bilingual art magazine ART iT (that origiinally commissioned the project and am in love!