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Culture Then, Fashion Now, Art Forever: Neodandi Fall/Winter 2013 Collection Review

People have the tendency to forget that designers are artists.  As artists, designers use bodies as canvases.  Also, like artists, to get inspiration to create on their canvases they can delve into music and other forms of art or popular culture or even just life experiences.  
You never know what's going to inspire someone to create; that's the beauty of it though.  The fact that inspiration for a fashion collection can come from the most unrelated of sources or that the inspiration for a piece of artwork could come from something that has nothing to do with art is inspiring in and of itself. What's really cool to see sometimes is that fashion inspiration may have come from other popular culture but that the overall inspirations are from the beauties of form, movement and a 'controlled random' effort.  There's something very wabi sabi about the controlled random.  The effect seems as though it were innate, not contrived.  That sometimes is the trick to mastering an art form so that it connects with the viewer's inner sense of what's original and was naturally meant to be.  This is similar to the dance of a fallen leaf in the wind, the beautiful slow withering of a dead tree or the gradual melting of an untimely snowfall.  

Steeped in the art form of dance and the idea of freeform movement was the Neodandi Fall/Winter 2013 collection.  There was a mixture of models and dancers performing expressionistic dances and movements to express the aesthetics of the collection with a paced rhythmic cadence.  Inspired by 12th century Japan when colors and layers were the most telling and prominent signs of status in dressing, Neodandi staged a thought-provoking collection of vivid primary colors and inky hues.  The presence of dresses with a free form type drape in deep blacks, illuminated whites and saturated colors only served to showcase the subtle lines of asymmetry and irregular balance.  There was a wonderful play on textures that supported the very freeing but structural dress shapes.  The dresses were fashion in draped wools, painted leathers and even sustainable Tyvek.  

Neodandi also took to creating all the accessories for the show with handbags, earrings and necklaces fashioned out of glass and chunky wool knit multicolor scarves.  The menswear was sportswear based with a easy fitting collaged aspect to block cut tees, modern cropped hakama style pants and patterned button downs.  He even collaborated with Kendo on the mens suitings which served as a perfect compliment to the dresses and accessories as they were peppered with slight embellishments that evoked the samurai, purposely unfinished wabi sabi elements and even the yakuza.

The show being staged in En, the Japanese Brasserie on Hudson Street was also well planned.  The space served as the prefect compliment to the ideas Neodandi proposed.  It was a mixture of the traditions of Old Japan's ideas cultivated in a modern, Neo-Asian celebration of the arts.  Another telling example that fashion is clothing, accessories and the many ways in which we uphold it to remain the art form that it is.

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