Can fashion and architecture speak the same language?
Apparently they can, if one were to consider that fashion satisfies the body’s need for clothing, while architecture covers space to accommodate the requirements for shelter. However, one must go beyond mere functionality to appreciate the design disciplines for these two distinct forms of art.
Last October 22, a traveling exhibit dubbed “Trend Spotters: The Essential Names in Spanish Fashion” opened at the School of Design and Arts Campus of the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde. Organized by the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines and the CentroCentro in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes-Manila and DLS-CSB, the exhibit features 67 photographs and 20 audiovisual documentaries on the featured designers, with highlights on industry giants that include Balenciaga, Loewe, Agatha Ruiz dela Prada, Pedro del Hierro and Pertegaz.
Curated by sociologist, journalist and fashion critic Pedro Mansilla, the show, which is ongoing until December 5, gives an intimate look at the last 100 years of the Spanish fashion industry.
Top freshman Architecture students of CSB responded to the traveling exhibit by mounting a separate showcase where they reinterpret fashion to produce an architectural object.
The necessity of the two design disciplines as forms of art transcend functionality as the two provide aspirations for distinction and identity. The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts Architecture Program demonstrates this goal by responding to the exhibition Trendspotters: The Essential Names in Spanish Fashion through a reinterpretation of fashion to produce an architectural object.
The 10 best architectural objects by students taking the theory subject Architectural Design Principles are exhibited separately but adjacent to the main gallery for the Trend Spotters show.
Each of these students selected a work by a Spanish fashion designer to explore in an attempt to find a common thread that exhibits intelligence in producing a “design language” that has two components: appearance, and the knowledge that produced them. Appearance refers to the visual elements where a variety of shapes, patterns, layers and geometries are distilled, and can serve as a collected vocabulary of design.
The exercise however does not encourage mimicry but to enable students to recognize the principles that govern a composition, similar to what syntax is to language. It is meant for the students to rebuild elements by using the discovered parameter to produce an architectural object, in the form of a sculptural pillar. The sculptural pillar is not structural in function but a conceptual massing that could potentially enclose, define and identify space.
In essence, the exhibition’s main goal is to demonstrate the inter-relation between these two design disciplines through the display of a variety of form-spatial expressions. The chosen pillars possess distinctive identities that may be similar, or an evolved iteration of its fashion counterpart. Through this activity, students are taught to read design and recognize that Fashion and Architecture can, indeed, speak the same language.