A Peek into the World of Avant Garde Fashion

Dec, 2017

- By Research & Development Department of Image Infotainment Ltd

‘Avant Garde’, the French term that pushed the boundaries of creativity and revolutionized many industries like art, architecture, literature, music and most importantly fashion. Avant Garde means ‘advanced guard’ and is synonymous to works that are innovative, radical, out of the box and ahead of their time period. It has been prevailing through over a century and is considered to be an art movement like Modernism, Expressionism, etc. 
In Fashion, Avant Garde is considered to be wearable art rather than clothing. Through years, many notable designers chose fabric and clothing as a medium to portray a story, feeling or message, and completely changed the way people perceive about clothes. Avant Garde marked the beginning of clothes with unconventional structure, new forms and an extraordinary touch that separated these clothing from that of the mainstream clothing.


Its Evolution in Fashion
Avant Garde fashion traces back its roots to Japanese designers and is claimed to have began in the 1920’s. Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Junja Watanabe are few Japanese designers whose designs have been a great source of inspiration to many designers. Yohji is claimed to be one of the very few Avant Gardists who was successfully able to incorporate his avant garde style into mainstream fashion brands. The Adidas-Yohji collaboration, known as Y-3 brand, has built a new ground in fashion wear, where the designer has intertwined a non conformist approach to his designs.

Image Source: www.store.y-3.com

Over the years, designers chose Avant Garde as the medium to stay away from the main stream commercial fashion and create their own distinct style in clothing. While some designers worked on the silhouettes, future possibilities in fashion, few created clothing that were never understood by common audiences. Victor & Rolf, Vivienne Westood, John Galliano and Manish Arora are few of today’s contemporary Avant Garde Designers who have found a large number of clientele, including many Hollywood celebrities for their Avant Garde designs.

Here, we bring to you these designers’ Avant Garde collections and we leave it to you to decide whether its art, fashion or just plain creativity!

Famous Avant Garde Designers and Their Collections

Viktor & Rolf

The duo, Victor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, commonly known as Victor & Rolf are known for their surrealistic designs that stand as examples for ‘work of art’ within the fashion industry. Their designs are highly structured, sophisticated and distinct with high collars, wide variety of materials and distorted proportions. The Dutch designers first exhibited their collection in 1993 and from then their collection has always been a head turner to all in the industry.
Eco conscious fashion has been the duo’s main theme for the past few years and the recent collection had models dressed up as dolls with over-sized heads wearing up-cycled clothes. All the dolls were wearing jackets that had ruffles, frills, smocking and gathers. While walking up the ramp the models kept their doll heads and later they revealed themselves.   Diversity was beautifully embraced by the designers with different kinds of dolls: Black, Asian and White. Below are some of the designs from their recent Autumn/Winter 2017 collection.


Image Source: www.irenebrination.typepad.com

Vivienne Westwood
This British designer is largely credited for bringing ‘punk’ style to fashion and for introducing the innerwear like corsets as outerwear. Often cited as the ‘Mother of Punk’, Westwood brought this subcultural style that included safety pins, razor blades and the household tartan fabric to fashion’s forefront in the 1970’s. The designer is known showcasing her collections as a platform to campaign for positive activism (against war and climate change). At 72, her designs are still evolving and authentic, and the recent menswear collection is a classic example to her design ideologies.


Images Credit: www.vogue.com

John Galliano
John Galliano, the name that changed the face of fashion with his daring, out-of-the-box designs. He is known for bringing back romantic themes into fashion and for his delicate and extremely well tailored garments. John Galliano has been the design head for many big names in the fashion industry, including Christian Dior and Givenchy. Though he goes on and off within the industry due to personal reasons, he manages to come back with great glory and success with his talent undiluted through difficult times.  John Galliano is currently the creative director of Maison Margiela, a French based luxury fashion house. For the recent 2017 summer collection, the designer collaborated with Fabric artist Benjamin to create portraits made of tulle fabric. Elaborate garments with romantic ruffles and layers of fanric that graced the feminine persona stood true to his design philosophy and he once again proved that he can never be replaced. Below are some of his designs from 2017 summer collection.


John Galliano and Benjamin; Images Source: www.wmagazine.com

Manish Arora
Called as the Indian John Galliano, Arora’s designs has brought in a whole revolution of couture in India. Bright hues, psychedelic and surreal prints, juxtaposing surfaces, exaggerated silhouettes and flattering fabrics that enhance feminity are some of the trademark of his designs.
Below are some of his creations from his recent Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter 2017 collection. Heavily embellished lehengas, tiered dresses, sweatshirts all having plenty of colors were the signature of this collection. Looking at his collection makes us wonder how the designer has beautifully managed to incorporate so many colors and still achieve harmony? No one can deny that this great designer is the ‘king of colors’.


Images Source: www.vogue.in

It is very exciting to see how each of these designers have incorporated their signature design philosophies into their designs and created sophisticated, intriguing, and striking clothes that separate themselves from the mainstream fashion industry.  Avante Garde, now, is truly the style that is defined through a designer’s personality.