6 December 2009

Thinking fashion four (Matthew Ames)

Some 'facts': Matthew Ames is a designer from the USA. He was born in 1979. He has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2003). He has worked at the ateliers of Jurgi Persoons and Miguel Adrover. In 2004 he was selected as a finalist for the Festival de la Mode à Hyères. He showed his first women' s wear collection in 2005. This year, he won the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award for women's wear design. He is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Some 'feelings': A wonderful friend of mine, artist Mary MacDougall, spoke to me recently about the kind of clothes she wanted to wear but could not find. She spoke of Vionnet and Valentina and how she would love to wear clothes like theirs but could not find modern equivalents or didn't know who would/could make something similar. She was referring to (and provided visual reference of) these incredibly simple-looking, but incredibly finely-designed dresses, capes and coats, which seem simultaneously voluptuous and minimalist in their use of fabric, cut and draping.

Vionnet (by Steichen):

Mary found a young American designer, Matthew Ames, who she'd come across while researching such fashions, and whom she felt encapsulated a similar vibe for today. Knowing my interest in fashion, she mentioned him to me and now I've become somewhat obsessed.

Recently I've been doing my own research (read: Googling) into Persoons and Adrover, who Ames assisted. Both are new to me and both make total sense in terms of Ames' current direction. It is really hard to find information about Persoons - I believe he was forced out of business for financial reasons around 2002/03 (i.e. pre-web craziness) - but am totally in the dark in terms of what he's been up to since (there was mention of Bless somewhere, but that could be a red herring). If anyone has more information, please point me in the right direction. Especially if you know of a book that features him.

Adrover, however, is much easier to track down. There is a video on his website of two of the most beautiful fashion shows I've seen (the 'Meeteast' and 'Utopia' collections). I found them mesmerising in a way most fashion shows fail to be these days. Plus the craftmanship in each garment and the cut and precision of fabrics and lines is just beyond (apologies for these shifty collages, decent pics are hard to find, but at least you get the idea).

So, to return to Ames, it is thus logical that his pieces should be some of the most interesting on the runways of 2009. I am particularly enamoured by his AW09 collection. The shapes he is creating are so refreshing. They are at once exotic, impossibly chic, and perfectly executed. They conjure a taste for simplicity with a simultaneous appreciation of refined yet unusual shapes.

I think Ames is doing a style like no other right now (and I love that he's working out of New York, of all places). You can tell he is thinking (beyond 'trend'), and he is learning (beyond fashion). And he is so young - it makes me excited to see where he will go and encourages me to believe there is a future in design. A future that uses historical references in a way that makes them relevant now, rather than as endless recycling material for 'eighties-versus-seventies' trends or as nostalgic rehashings of 'post-War chic'.

For more beautiful pictures of Ames work, see the current Encens magazine.


Blogger doctork said...

I love these clothes! So timeless. K

07 December, 2009 09:50  

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