One of my favorite blogs ColourLovers brought to my attention a new cookbook. I have no idea the quality of the recipes in Homemade is Best, but what interested me was that each recipe has a double-page spread of photos of the ingredients, piles neatly arranged in graphic formation. It might make more sense when you learn that Ikea– brand of (often impossible) assemble-it-yourself furniture projects– published it. Take a gander:
In the review Margot Harrington wrote, “Sure, I still want a fat slice of the cake, but now I have so much more appreciation for what goes into it. Makes it seems so much more simple to make, no?” It immediately reminded me of minimalistic and architectural fashion, much of which emphasizes simplicity of pattern. I thought I might be making that now-familiar leap from Everything Random to Fashion (because that’s what I do), and then it turned out that was exactly what had inspired the Ikea project (I won’t let it go to my head):
Ikea on Homemade Is Best “We let ourselves be inspired by high fashion and japanese minimalism. The idea of the book became to tone down the actual cake and put the ingredients in focus. The recipes are presented as graphic still-life portraits on a warm and colourful stage. And when you turn the page you see the fantastic result.”
Probably best known these days for her lemongrass coat-and-dress ensemble worn by Michelle Obama Inauguration day, Isabel Toledo’s designs are highly informed by origami, and a similarly Japanese penchant for loose and drapey forms rather than American body-hugging fashions. Toledo’s designs seem to originate with flat patterns of simple geometric shapes and they become draped clothes only later in the process. For this reason, her works are often more interesting to me when seen flat, as FIT did in last year’s “Isabel Toledo, Fashion From the Inside Out” exhibition, revealing the simplicity of pattern and complexity of resulting form on body.
The “Packing Dress” is simply two circles of fabric sewn together with leg, arm, and head holes. Because the pattern is so unstructured, it can be worn front or back, as seen below:
The Packing Dress reminds me of Martin Margiela’s more aggressive circular jacket which is far more structured when made of leather, perhaps a bit harder for the average person to wear on the street, but it’s no less delightful:
Oftentimes the final results of Toledo’s garments on human forms bely the clarity of their pattern shapes; when draped on bodies they bulk up, drape and pucker in complex and interesting ways. Toledo’s Tube Jacket looks completely different on a form:
… than when folded flat; the origami influence becomes clear, non?
Though I don’t love everything Toledo has designed, I do respect her commitment to creative design that is ecologically responsible in its simplicity.