Monday, 2 November 2009

AXDW - Fashion and Architecture

(click to enlarge, this one is larger that usual)
The 6th AXDW is supporting the Modern Movement of the '30s, in the face of all the unprotected buildings scattered around Athens. This city apparently has one of the largest groups of samples of that era's architecture, yet there's no legislation forbidding their demolishion or supporting their maintenance. As a matter of fact, they are not even officially recorded. Elliniki Etairia, an association for the protection of the environment and cultural heritage, is on a mission to change that and are aiming to spread awareness though AXDW days.

Today's talk was open to all and the speakers were a credible and well respected group of professionals from both fields. Pictured below, Tonia Fouseki the organiser of AXDW is welcoming the audience (far left), then sitted next to her is Nikolas Kouretas architect and member of the city council, then Giannis Michail president of Elliniki Etairia, then architect Alexandros Tompazis, fashion designer Giannis Tseklenis, actor Nikos Tzoumas and Aikaterini Katsampe president of ETOAA the Athens Tourism & Economic Development Company.

The talk in notes:

"Structures and shapes are what both fashion and architecture are based on (...) they cover two of people's most basic needs, that of having clothes to wear and a home to live in". -Tonia Fouseki

"As I have written on a sign in Plaka, beautiful is what is on the run, its presence is brief, that's why it's beautiful. The beauty of fashion is on the run, doesn't last for long, like the execution of a a musical piece, once the musicians stop playing, it's over. Architecture however remains in space (...) Charleston was a music and fashion movement in mid-war years. It was a movement in buildings too. That style in clothes and music has faded now, but the buildings are still there reflecting it" -Giannis Michail

"The word 'fashion' in Greek has been literally translated as 'drag', dragging us all a step ahead" -Giannis Michail

"The vast majority comes after the pioneers" -Alexandros Tompazis

"The oldest profession in time is not what you think (referring to prostitution), it's that of a hunter who shot an animal with a beautiful fur, and a man or a woman gave their body in exchange" -Giannis Tseklenis

"Just like in fashion, in the movement of Modernism, the architect could dress the building with any 'attire' he liked" -Nikolas Kouretas

The talk also drew a lot of attention to protecting the environment as well as our heritage as they are interconnected as well as the fact that fashion is not always a good thing, like in the case of destroying work just because it's not in fashion any more. Then the audience's questions followed and dear Fashion Architect was appropriately there to propose hers on the relationship between Architect and client vs that of Fashion Designer and customer. I think the answer for both situations came from Tompazis lips: "from what I've made so far, I love the most is the ones mostly loved by the client".

If I was to ask a question, it would be this: I was there watching a talk about protecting the buildings from the '30s and recently I was at the exhibition of Madeleine Vionnet's dresses in Paris, coincidentally from about the same era. With fashion changing so fast today, houses spreading across the hills surrounding Athens and the consumption frenzy of our days, do you think there will be buildings and clothes made now which our children will want to protect or showcase in the future? Never asked, maybe because I was too worried about the answer.

Just before leaving, the gentleman next to me asked me: are you from the architect's side? What came to mind was the wedding table where people tend to ask if you are from the groom's side or that of the bride. Architecture and Fashion make a nice couple I thought...

1 comment:

Lopi said...

I still haven't been able to study my scribblings and produce a worthy post about this forum. Hope to do so soon, so we can compare notes!

Was I as red-faced as I remember when I stood up to ask my question?