An unorthodox and radical current, avant-garde is synonymous with pushing the boundaries of culture for well over a century. Since its first inception, this movement generated major progress in fields like art, music, architecture, literature, theatre and film and most importantly, fashion.
Avant-garde spanned generations of notable designers who reshaped the way people perceive and wear clothes. Characterised as progressive and forward thinking, the once eyebrow-raising style is now a worldwide phenomenon.
Avant-garde is important because it’s based on constant innovation, taking risks and thinking forward. Real progress can only be made through failure and who wishes to advance must be prepared to fail. Some of the most important artistic and cultural achievements have been made through avant-garde. Rejecting the common mentality and nurturing originality has allowed those who are free in mind to shape the future. Innovation is the key to success.
In fashion, Avant-garde is considered as a wearable art rather then clothing. It is presumed as forward thinking, artistry, unconventional designs, new forms, structures and an extraordinary touch that separates the ideas from the mainstream. Avant-garde fashions distinguishes itself through the fact that it embodies a way of living. To explain how Avant-garde influenced fashion, Denmark’s Avant-garde fashion house Barbara Í Gongini explains: “Avant-garde fashion emanates deeply in some sort of holistic sense of being. The whole Japanese aesthetic philosophies emanate very much with what I am. What I stand for.”
The continuous experimental approach has defined a fashion style that has a very specific tone of voice. Those who are familiar with Avant-garde fashion have developed a unique way of understanding it. Thus, a connection is made through very personal way of expressing yourself – “It tells stories which go deep under the skin and perception of the wearer.”
Some of the famous Avant-Garde fashion artist’s work is presented below.
This piece from Spring Summer 2018 collection by Yohji Yamamoto – one of the first avant-avant grade designers – precisely portrays monochrome as undoubtedly the defining color of avant-garde fashion. Dark fashion implies wearing heavy toned colours that serve to emphasize the uncovered skin. All black or bicolor garments may lack colour but make up in style and simplicity. Especially asymmetric hemlines which are cut to surprising shapes.
Another monochromatic look from Masion Margiela Artisan Collection 2017 by John Galliano.
This red, geometric shaped ensemble is by Juniya Watanabe showcased in Paris fashion week 2017 Avant-garde collection. Bright and colorful garments are another part of Avant-garde fashion. Prominent in the works of Juniya Watanabe and Comme des Garçons.
Katy Perry showcasing the label Comme des Garçons by Rei.
Kawakubo, in whose honour the Met gala 2017 was dedicated. She is one of the oldest Avant-garde artist with a truly conventional style of craft.
A futuristic look from Vivine Westwood’s summer collection 2018. These alternative fashion outfits feature volume. Besides colours, daring ruffles, patterns and detailing are also a part of the avant-garde fashion. Forward thinking designers always surprise the runways with their designs.
Metal has long been associated with future and many conventional designers find metal to be a great medium to work with in fashion because of its reflective properties. The above Paco Rabanne archive dress is a great example of the metal cut, poked, pulled, bent and shaped into an fashion forward attire.
Avant-garde fashion is here to stay and artists show no signs of slowing down the progress that the current has brought. In other fields, the directions are the same – extraordinary breads extraordinary so exploring boundaries will not stop. Now that you are more familiar with what avant-garde stands, we can’t wait for you to start discovering a world where freedom of expression means progress.