Monday, June 15, 2009

a few thoughts on fashion luminaries Aminaka Wilmont

by frédérik sisa

Before Aqua and I launched The Fashionoclast, I posted on my personal blog a few thoughts on the notorious soleless heels, literally no soles with a strapped-on heel, featured in Aminaka Wilmont’s Spring/Summer ’09 collection. I won’t repeat myself – the original post is a mouse click away – except to say that I’ve always wondered what the models looked like walking in these intriguing contraptions. Would their gait be as clumsy as newborn giraffes? Elegant as stilt walkers? My curiosity, at last, has been satisfied courtesy of video on Aminaka Wilmont’s website. And the answer is: well, they don’t walk all that differently. The have that distinctive runway model gait, which testifies to the soleless heels durability. (As a sidenote, I should clarify that the heels are concept/constructions by Eelko Moorer, a Dutch artist/designer.)

As much as I am still convinced that the soleless heels are sublime, a closer study of Maki Aminaka and Marcus Wilmont’s fashion design reveals a touch of the sublime as well. More than a touch, certainly. While I wouldn’t describe their work – check out both the spring/summer and autumn/winter ‘09/’10 collections – as architectural in a formal sense, there is a definitely a sense of structure at work. Their designs encompass a fluidity of fabrics and a precision of cuts, three dimensions (layers, of course), defined shapes open to the unpredictability of movement, and incredible tactility; the gestalt is both sharp and gentle, complex without being fussy, timeless yet with hint of futurity, unapologetically urban but not unnatural, and possessed of a crystalline beauty and intellect.

It would almost seem pedestrian to ask practical questions. Who, other than flat-chested models, could wear AW’s creations and do justice to the design? And what about the complaint-that-shall-not-be-mentioned-for-fear-of-getting-repetitive? Never mind. Accessible, inaccessible, both or neither; Aminaka Wilmont’s design gives form to a fashion ideal, and the result is something that can co-exist both in imagination and off the catwalk, on the streets. That this ideal consists of the conceptually androgynous clashing with the innovative feminine, as their web bio suggests, is an interesting idea. More important, perhaps, is that as relative "newcomers" to the fashionosphere, AW don’t come burdened with the history that weighs down other design houses. Their formal experimentation has an industry of purpose that doesn’t indulge gimmickry or superficial whimsy because all other experiments have been tried. In other words, AW have a unity of vision and an accuracy of execution that permeates their work.

So how does that translate to us mere mortals? I’m not sure it does. It’s inspiration, but a cold inspiration that can be glimpsed but not touched. Perhaps Aminaka Wilmont’s designs can serve a mythological purpose, however, an iconic function that shows us not so much what is actual (although it does accomplish this to some extent) but what is possible. And what is possible is limitless. I look forward to seeing what is next for these fashion luminaries.

The official website: Aminaka Wilmont.

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