Beyond Macaroni Glued to Construction Paper

Miss Kimmie was her name.  My eighth grade art teacher who introduced me to the then frustrating aspect of life drawing with fruit and objects.  Don't even get me started with our spiral into color theory.  Complimentary, primary, secondary, etc. UGH!! Then came the techniques.  Good grief, the techniques.  Shading, stippling, cross-hatching, shadowing with watercolor, cray pas, colored pencil and charcoal.  While I can appreciate it now, back then my whole preadolescent class was more preoccupied with trying to start a culinary war with the bowl of wormy apples, over-ripened bananas and the kaleidoscope of withering grapes.  Why can I appreciate it now?  Well mainly it's because A) public school art programs are being slashed left and right and B) The methods and techniques gave me a broader sense of how art is achieved.  In a sense, I became more at one with art by understanding that its saving grace was in the many different ways in which it was interpreted.

There are three schemes that I find myself intrigued by in art: The overdone, the minimal and the balanced.  And since I know that fashion is art, I can enjoy the simplicity of serene Francisco Costa sheath or the melange of layers and depth of a Ghesquiere ensemble and even the zen equilibrium of a Karan jersey gown.  I often look to the masters of the class to see clothing executed intelligently but lately the new avant, the new school, the freshmen have been trying to come up with modern interpretations of art through their fashions.  Whether fueled by a green movement stance, a morning till midnight aesthetic, a retro nod or a beyond 2000 vision, the newbies represent a modern and personable way to approach fashion.

I couldn't help but feel a smile coming on at the presentation of Timo Weiland's Spring 2011 collection last season at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.  What was presented was an eclectic mix of men's and women's ready to wear that strummed the retro strings of grandma's trunk in the attic, lazy hipster chic and, yes, Miss Kimmie's eighth grade art class.  There was a nice mixture of ideas executed through texture, print, color and proportion.  Some standouts of the womenswear were a printed 'watercolor-esque' hooded jacket with matching mini sheath dress and a brocaded mini-skirt suit that played on top of a elongated tunic silhouette.  The menswear standouts were clearly the novelty knit blazers and knit trousers, quirky balmacaan style coats with contrast sleeves and whimsical striped schoolboy short-pants.  The pieces and styling of the show evoked a connection to several fashion themes: nautical, retro, poetic, ivy league, hipster and geek.  It was this mix of nods to different fashion stamps that made the collection feel fresh by taking into account the multiple unencumbered ways in which we move, shake, live and exchange ideas today.  Another notable growing effort from the Timo Weiland camp.

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