The Architecture of Fashion

Boffo, a New York City non-profit art and culture support organization, has been successfully running ‘Building Fashion’, a celebration of cutting-edge design in the form of a series of temporary retail installations showcasing the work of an architect paired with a fashion designer. Each of the five projects receives USD 20,000 towards construction costs, and three have been completed already with the two remaining projects taking place over the next few weeks.

A space on 57 Walker Street (south of Canal Street in Tribeca) has been transformed by the architects and fashion designers into retail spaces for designers who have never had their own freestanding retail space. With support from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Boffo chose five fashion designers to take over the space in two-week slots between September and December 2011. Prior to the gallery opening, and in order to form the creative teams, fashion designers submitted their creative briefs outlining the desired concept for their collaboration. Architects then submitted design proposals for the fashion designer of their choice. After this, a jury narrowed the list to between three to five architects for each installation, and presented those to the fashion designer for review.

After these careful deliberation stages, the schedule for the galleries was agreed as follows:
8 – 21 September 2011: Nicola Formichetti + Gage/Clemenceau Architects
29 September – 12 October 2011: Irene Neuwirth + Marc Fornes/TheVeryMany
20 October – 2 November: Patrik Ervell + Graham Hudson
10 – 23 November 2011: The Lake & Stars + SOFTlab
1 – 14 December 2011: Ohne Titel + Easton+Combs

The first display saw fashion designer Nicola Formichetti being paired with Gage/Clemenceau Architects. Amongst other things, Formichetti is the creative director for Mugler, stylist and creative director to Uniqlo, Fashion Editor for V Magazine and V Man, and fashion director for Vogue Hommes Japan and for Lady Gaga. The space produced by Gage/Clemenceau Architects for Formichetti’s space revealed an almost robotic cocoon of fractured mirrors with a smooth reflective floor.

Los Angeles jewellery designer Irene Neuwirth chose to collaborate with TheVeryMany. Marc Fornes of TheVeryMany worked with computational protocols applied to design and fabrication. His proposal for Irene Neuwirth’s space included an organic and almost lunar landscape shape that appeared to float in space, punctured by holes allowing different qualities of light to pass through.

Menswear designer Patrik Ervell’s space was designed by London-based architect Graham Hudson, who conceived an industrial looking space to showcase Ervell’s designs. Hudson’s vision included crumbling walls, rubble, and scaffolding as a response to the Ervell’s design brand of innovative materials and unconventional application throughout his collections.

The Lake & Stars, a popular and award-winning lingerie collection designed by Maayan Zilberman and Nikki Dekker, is pairing with SOFTlab of New York. Their proposed rendering describes a space with flat surfaces morphing into geometric extrusions, along with a dark red curtain hovering along one side.

Ohne Titel, a women’s collection by Alexa Adams and Flora Gill, is working with Easton+Combs Architects. The space proposal involves a series of images evoking a torus shape and organic, mechanic sensibilities.

For more information on Building Fashion, visit Boffo’s website.