I was very lucky to be invited to attend the Daydream Nation show an alternative catwalk show for London fashion week at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on friday night. This is the first ever fashion show that I have attended and I was really not quite sure what to expect. I was sure it was not going to be the usual type of fashion show. The invite stated that it was a unique fashion-theatre storytelling. I was quite puzzled and intrigued.
From the moment I arrived at the ICA the whole show took on an element of surrealism from the actors loitering in the bar dressed as what I think were Victorian vagrants, to the band, 'Naked with Horses', dressed in strange furry animal hats and theatrical make up playing some very good and quite eaery music. At first I struggled to work out what this all had to do with fashion. The story which is depicted in dance and combined with clothes being shown on the catwalk, was about a hunter who wakes from a kill one day and found himself transformed into the deer he killed. It was all quite dark and sinister. I wasn't really sure what to make of it but decided as with most art, everyone will take away something different and see something different in it and this is encouraged by the vague statement in the programme "Who's the hunter and who's the prey if you are your own curse"
Daydream Nation is the collaboration between brother and sister design duo Kay Wong, textile graduate of the Royal College of Art and Jing Wong, theatre design and directing graduate of Central St Martins. The clothes are devised through play and manipulation with old clothes. Through play they create new myths for the clothes each season, resulting in visual catwalk narratives.
When, I woke up Saturday morning, it was all starting to make sense. The whole theatrical side of the show took the audience into an almost trance like state almost where they allowed themselves to begin to daydream. Whilst this gave the audience a good idea of how the clothes came about it also gave the audience a real feeling about the clothes not just a quick look at them. As stated in the programme "Theatre is the platform where the transcend from the everyday to the other wordly".
I think the theatrical show really did what they intended, the clothes did seem to take on a dream like quality and afterwards I felt that I really wanted to see them again. The clothes were effortlessly stylish. With the mix of rich deep colours, varied textures from glossy to matt and the simple but interesting shapes, the collection had an understated elegance and definite wearability about it.
If it all seems a bit strange and far fetched way of designing clothes, these techniques of play/ storytelling are nothing new and are often used as a way of increasing creativity for a wide range of reasons. In fact the training company that I work with uses all sorts of types of play inlcuding sandplay, storytelling and drumming with executives as a way of coaching them and coming up with solutions to problems. I think the real talent of Kay and Jing Wong is their ability to translate their creativity and day dreams into such gorgeous and desirable clothes, presented with such entertaining and clever theatrical performance.
I also really love the concept of the brand . Inside the cover of the brochure it says:
Daydream Nation is an attitude
It is a way of life in which people see boats in buckets and hear waves in radio glitches.
We believe that the daydreamers are the lost children in the society, and that the creative potential of society depends on them.
Daydreamers are the missing link to the poetics of life of which our society is slowly neglecting
If you are really not quite sure what I am warbling on about then perhaps you should try going along to their next show and see for yourself.
Pictures from http://kaysnotebook.typepad.com/daydreamnation/ - unfortunately my camera is not great and none of my pictures came out. I will post more pictures as soon as they are available.