By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Loy sees the work this way: “Mostly, it starts with the fabric. I don’t do sketches. We are trying to find new ways of defining a new shape or a new color, or a way of how pieces are sewn together. We like pieces that are wrong in a way, that something in the piece is wrong. The concept is to rework how clothes were made in the past. It‘s about craftsmanship. For the past 10, 20 years, everyone tries to be very pure, minimalist. I don’t think our work is ‘pure.’ It‘s honest, but it’s not ‘pure.’ But it still has to fit, and it still has to look right.”
Ford, who often sits on the studio floor with a bolt of fabric and just starts cutting, says of his approach to design: “I‘m not even designing clothes -- I’m using myself as a model to look at shapes and how you can change things. The dots I have tattooed on my eyes, above my eyebrows, it makes my eyes look more open. My eyes are much too small -- now when I attached the dots, my eyes look more open. If I will do a design for the head, or a face piece to wear, I was testing it on myself. If I will make a lace face cover, I will go with the patterns I already have branded on myself. Some people like working on computer, others on a model, others on a mannequin. I use myself to learn.”
Showtime, 10 o‘clock on a recent Saturday night. A recording of Iggy Pop provides an anthem as six women and one young man, wearing as blank an expression as is possible, model the fall line. The women’s peau de soie shoes -- bridesmaid‘s issue, dye-to-match white pumps -- are partially covered by a strip of nude stocking, inverting the usual relationship of shoe to sock. Their hair, which is piled high above the crowns of their heads, is smeared with an ash-colored a powder and dabbed with an oleaginous gel, which heightens their almost sepulchral look. It is an attempt to say, “You don’t have to be young and beautiful to wear this.”
Still, the clothes are sleek and sexy. An “Overlong Shirt” is made of a subtle diagonally striped polyester in front and a glazed black cotton in back, with chiffon, floor-length sleeves completely hiding the model‘s hands, making her appear to float across the black concrete floor. The “Black and White Wool Sweater With Black Silk Skirt” is a conservative, A-line skirt and checked top, but when you look closer, the sweater appears to have been torn to pieces by a pit bull. The mannish, bespoke pinstripe wool suit jacket, made for a woman and dubbed “Office Uniform,” when viewed from the front might be just that, but from the rear, it has been snipped apart by Edward Scissorhands, a jagged gash where the back should be, its delicate silk and Lycra lining dangling out the back, like a tattered waistcoat. By now, the music has changed to the Carpenters’ “Top of the World.” Out comes a vintage ‘70s fabric “Lace Dress” -- a flurry of dangling strands of white yarn dyed a pale gray, then stitched into a simple minidress -- that has the ladylike sophistication of an evening gown Audrey Hepburn might have worn, if she’d been willing to appear to be naked underneath.
Thirty pieces, and it‘s over. The word that comes to mind, oddly, is tailored. The clothes have a concise, pleasing, almost traditional line. They look comfortable. But lurking barely within sight -- in the mock torn or unfinished or marred bodices, gauntlets and hemlines, and in the deliberate if seemingly random ruching -- is a strain of that ’70s rebellion against what Friedrich Nietzsche called “the ultramodern unassuming moral milksop who no longer bites.” In the “deconstructed” clothes of Loyandford, you can be dressed and undressed at once, which in neo-neo-con America is a statement all by itself.