What would a garment say to a building?

The correlation between architecture and fashion has long since been a core interest of mine. In a shared session with the spaces and participation studio and ours [fashions and embodiment]  for the masters in design I am currently perusing at goldsmiths, to develop our fashion system maps, we were tasked to create a mind map of our interests and there after pick characters from which to orchestrate a conversation with. The parameters of this exercise were to pick the actors [it could be anything from our maps], set the scene and describe the hypothetical conversation.

At first, the very thought of doing this was quite daunting given the short time frame [the tutors’ disclaimer of having never done this before didn’t help either], but we all pressed on like consenting guinea pigs on wheels.  I must say, having gone through this exercise, there is a freeing quality to creating dialogue where one had never thought to do so. Definitely, applying this technique in  my other projects.

From the mind map of  things I find most interesting, an encounter between the Barcelona Pavilion [BP] and the Tweed Jacket  [TJ], two iconic pieces of design by Mies Van der Rohe and Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel respectively was formulated.


The scene is set at the Goldsmiths campus during orientation week, both BP and TJ are freshmen and meet for the first time…

BP: Hi, I’m Barcelona Pavilion, what’s your name?

TJ: Hello, I’m Tweed Jacket, my friends call me TJ.

BP:  Sweet, where do you come from?

TJ: Originally, the closet of the Duke of Westminster, but I moved to the House of Chanel, I found the air fresher there.

BP: Oh, how quaint!

TJ: What about you?

BP: Surprised you can’t tell, I’m kind of famous. I was at the helm of a whole new shift in modern architecture, “less is more” Haven’t you heard?

TJ: Enlighten me.

BP: Well, I come from a long line of great architectural practice. I lived in the mind of Mies, a great architect and my father and later relocated to Spain for a grand unveiling in the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain. Many came to see me and described me as my father’s greatest creation; the voice of a new era.

TJ: Interesting!

BP: Really, it was a whole spectacle and still is. It probably has a lot do with my freedom of movement and the simplicity yet  surreal nature of my composition.

TJ: Ah yes, I might have heard of you.

BP: I’m sure!

TJ: Since you mentioned, I have always considered us similar in a sense. We both seek to create sophistication through simplicity. You with the clean lines and I with the ease of functionality.

BP: I don’t think so!

TJ: And why is that?

BP: The sheer scale at which I’m made, makes you seem minuscule. The marble, red onyx and travertine which lines my walls has stood the test of time to date. I am living design an architecture fashion can’t compare to. A building, you’re just a coat.

TJ: Funny, my mother always said fashion is architecture!


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