NEW YORK – A few days after presenting En Noir Fall Winter 2014 collection at New York Fashion Week, Rob Garcia – a name that has been on the lips of everyone who has been closely or remotely involved in the biannual series of events – posted on Twitter and Instagram a black-and-white filtered picture of the runway show, with the following caption: ‘Monochromatic Grand Minimalism...’ We can only assume that any self-respecting fashion A-lister following @NoirRob figured out right there and then that the cutline was referring to the theme underlying this season’s line of products, rather than the gloomy Piranesian quality of the industrial venue – which as a dorky architectural enthusiast, I could not help but appreciate. Still, the post racked-up more than a thousand ‘likes’ in only a few hours.
Why am I bringing that up you say? Don’t get me wrong, this is not so much about the designer winning the social media fame game as how he embraces such networking and sharing platforms as tools for reaching out to a broader audience, showing a new level of artistic realisation that goes beyond the conventional défilé. Bridging the gap between fashion and architecture, Rob Garcia, together with creative director Jason Wolter, former Swedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello and architects Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham from Brooklyn-based design practice Snarkitecture, put on a show which successfully turned what could have been an unassuming and understated catwalk gig – given the creator’s quiet signature – into a grandiose performance, charged with a dark and foreboding theatrical atmosphere. Something perfectly chiming with Garcia’s flirtation with minimalism and fondness for powerful, yet finely-crafted pieces.
The creative battalion trotted out an intuitive – not to say experimental – grasp of materials, working with semi-translucent geotextile fabric, which they hung as a canopy, high over the stage. Guests entered the venue through a 30-m-long cavernous tunnel, leading to Park Avenue Armory's main space. When asked to comment on the ‘Tunnel Vision’ concept that Wolter had developed for the young brand, he said: ‘It is a statement on how people get tunnel vision in their day-to-day lives, zeroing in on superficial, small details, and how there has to be progress to the end of the tunnel into broader, bigger thinking. Expanding the eye and the mind.’ The creative director, along with the rest of the team, orchestrated a truly immersive experience which strikingly engages the senses, stimulates one’s perception of space through a vivid manipulation of lights and sounds, and offers the opportunity to delve the public further into a murky journey.
Photos Thomas Kletecka and Shane Young