Tuesday 5 July 2016

The Art of Fashion: Henrik Vibskov's New Collection in Paris

A model circles a central installation of butchers and fabric salamis at Henrik Vibskov's Spring/Summer 2017 men's collection. Cover picture and all photographs by Elli Ioannou
One of the highlights of Paris Men's Fashion Week was the whimsical show of Danish artist and designer Henrik Vibskov. Set amid a surreal kitchen of fabric salami and white-coated butchers, the models wore a signature baroque and folkloric collection, making an interesting alternative to Scandinavian minimalism, reports our special correspondent Elli Ioannou
Henrik Vibskov with his "salami" installation
HENRIK Vibskov's menswear show in Paris was like an invitation into the designer's creative mind. As guests entered the dimly lit, Rococo ballroom with gilded chandeliers at the Westin Paris Vendôme, they were met with an otherworldly installation which engulfed most of the runway and a haunting yet playful electronic soundscape. Hung with giant salamis in red-dotted jacquard and lit with red, vertical neon tubes, the installation resembled a film set for Pedro Almodovar's Jamon Jamon. Henrik Vibskov shows are much anticipated as he uses fashion as a platform to explore the fusion of all of the creative disciplines he explores. The designer calls the show Salami Kitchen of the Non-exi-stent and describes it as a "dark and gloomy exploration" of modern society dealing with questions of morality and hedonism. Metaphors of meat are central to the show. As vegetarianism becomes more prevalent, Vibskov asks: "Could meat soon become a historic legend you will tell your grandkids about?" He says the inspiration for the Paris collection came from martial arts and Asian iconography and calligraphy.

Artisan Asian inspirataions
A graduate of London's prestigious Central Saint Martin's in 2001, the Danish designer is an artist that has had both solo and group exhibitions, an interior designer, creative director, mentor, educator and musician and a drummer with his own project Mountain Yorokobu with Fake Diamond Record. Touring with Trentemøller for six years, it comes as no surprise Vibskov's clothes are worn by musicians and artists including Björk, The Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Ros, Franz Ferdinand, Lou Reed, and Devendra Banhart. Vibskov has also worked as a film director and has won many awards including the Söderberg prize, the highest value design prize in the world, as well as the Jury Prize at the Danish Fashion Awards in 2012. This year,  the Queen Of Denmark and the academy council from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts awarded Henrik Vibstok the Thorvald Bindesbøll Medal.
Kabuki style make-up with black lips & pale faces 
The new Paris show opened with eight men dressed as Italian/Spanish butchers, carrying bundles of double-sided, sausage-red jacquard. While the models circled around the butcher's shop at the centre of the runway, the butchers prepared, arranged and made new batches of the jacquard sausage throughout the entire show. Following the current trend for mixing genders on the catwalk, Vibskov's show had male and female models with Kabuki-like pale faces and black lips.

Capacious jackets & spotted shirts 
The shoes, hats and colourful ensembles, resembled Asian rice field workers uniforms but with exaggerated large spots and polka dots. Others looked a lot more Japanese. Some of the highlights included a blue, red and white fringed sweater with a design referring to Japanese warrior motifs, with matching loose pants. Asian female models were dressed in kimono-style dresses printed with circular abstract graphics and the same fabric made up another look on a male model with an oversized shirt and matching loose pants.

Vibskov's colourful, long socks
The socks which Henrik Vibskov is renowned for had eye-catching designs and came in different patterns and were a key element in many of the SS17 looks. The mix of male and female models had an androgynous look and wore a mixture of heavily patterned pants, shorts and skirts with knee-high socks, most of which featured salami prints. Oversized coats and tailored jackets were also utilised throughout the collection.

Henrik Vibskov could be the creative love child of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. Indeed many of the looks pay homage to the 'buffalo girl' look. Vibskov is not merely a fashion designer, but more of a multi-disciplinary creative, one who fuses art, design, music subcultures with fashion seamlessly. These lines have been blurred by many, but few do it so successfully as this designer. Welcome to the dreamlike world of Henrik Vibsksov.

The designer described the collection as an exploration of morality and hedonism in the modern world.

The Paris show had a mix of male and female models wearing clothes with different patterns and textures with black Kabuki lips & Asian hats.

Spotted skirts and abstractly-patterned long socks
Knitted sweater with a graphic image of a meal of salamis 
Henrik Vibskov's shows are highly anticipated for their creative blend of a variety of artistic metiers
Martial arts and a Japanese aesthetic permeated the look of the collection 
The "butchers" at work amid the fabric salami installation

 Backstage at the Henrik Vibskov show in Paris
The Roocco gilt surrounds of Paris's Westin Paris -Vendôme provided a contrast to Vibskov's contermporary and surreal show

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