“Fashion goes out of fashion” says veteran creative director Marc Ascoli.
A jury member for the upcoming Hyères Fashion + Photography Festival, Ascoli is known as the man behind the image of Yohji Yamamoto, Martine Sitbon, Jil Sander for many years.
He knows the times change, and yet the thirst for creativity is never quenched.
Here’s a taste of Hyères.
FILEP MOTWARY/UN NOUVEAU IDEAL: What makes a young designer interesting in your eyes ?
His/her sensibility before anything else, that he/she has something to say. But also the degree of creativity, the ability to show he/she doesn’t fit the mold or follow established models.
A young designer, to be interesting, needs to reflect his era and talk about the times.
MALI/SKATTIE: Once you’ve started working with a brand, what is your degree of involvement and counseling?
It really depends on the intensity of the relationship I share with the person. Today the difficulty is to know which direction a brand wants to go, how to express its singularity.
Marc Ascoli + photographer David Sims for Yohji Yamamoto.
MISHA/TOKYO FASHION DIARIES: Today, it seems essential for a designer to have a public persona. How does that affect you ?
The current situation is ambiguous. Designers are personae, they embody and diffuse the image of the brand. Taking into account the investments made by fashion houses in terms of publicity, designers have become true flag bearers.
But that’s where the error often lies, to hire people gifted in public relations but much less in terms of style.
Today there is a “bottom line” in fashion, people tend to look at things commercially. Does the buzz which personality give off equal the quality of the offering ? The question today is primordial. [In the case of] Sarah Burton for Mc Queen, we don’t see a flamboyant personality, but everyone is floored by her work.
Even though it’s a time of crisis, everything is about competitivity. Considering the number of collections (men’s, women’s, pre-collections), it’s about standing out through quality not only personality.
RENÉ / THE STIMULEYE: What is the role of the stylist in the creation of a fashion image ? How did the evolution of this role impact the role of the artistic/creative director ?
There’s now a lot of confusion between stylists and artistic directors, but I believe the two have very different roles. The artistic director works on the long term image of the brand, its DNA and visual impact, whereas the stylist reflects the brand’s fluctuating image by styling the clothes, whether it’s for ad campaigns or a fashion shows.
Marc Ascoli + photographer Craig McDean for Jil Sander
BRUNO / BRRUN: Does fashion have a political role beyond aesthetic and function ?
Fashion takes place in a different universe. It’s a universe where you’re bringing something else to reality, where there is little concern for politics, because it’s all about creation and individuals.
You can see today that there is a huge gap between fashion and the political reality of our times.
Fashion goes out of fashion; fashion is irrational so it can’t be political.
ANTOINE / THE STIMULEYE: When and how does a creator, singer, artist need to work with an art or creative director ?
An artist always needs an alter ego with whom to exchange ideas, to help write his/her story. It’s not just a matter of positioning. The artistic director has to be sensitive enough to understand the artist’s universe and then catalyze it ; establish an image visually and eventually commercially.
Marc Ascoli + photographer Nick Knight for Martine Sitbon.
What is the last thing which stimulated you ?
Being a very curious person, I am constantly stimulating my creativity through various cultural activities. The exhibit of Madame Grès curated by Olivier Saillard at Musée Bourdelle really seduced me. Everything was in its place, the location, the clothes, the spirit.
I was also very stimulated by the latest Comme des Garçons fashion show. I thought it was majestic.
The Victoria and Albert Museum presents one of the most influential and enigmatic fashion designers of the last forty years: Yohji Yamamoto. Shortly before the opening, THE STIMULEYE caught up with V&A Contemporary Curator Ligaya Salazar, curator of this installation-based retrospective, exploring the work of a designer who has challenged, provoked and inspired with designs that have rewritten notions of beauty in fashion.
“The timeline will consist of a mixture of clips of key fashion shows from the last 30 years of his illustrious career, some bits about his main collaborations in film, performance and photography and some very special extras. I hope that this will help shed light on Yamamoto’s extraordinary approach to collaboration” – Ligaya Salazar
On display are 80 women’s and menswear garments, which are most representative of his work that is recognised for subverting gender stereotypes and has featured women wearing garments traditionally associated with menswear. The exhibition also includes menswear items from the Autumn/Winter 1998 season which was famously modelled on women.
Accompanying the exibition, Ligaya produced a series of images with Nick Knight, styled by Katie Grand, and edited a stunning Book that also sheds light on Yoshji Yamamoto’s relationships with other creative collaborators: including Peter Saville, Marc Ascoli and M/M (Paris), Pina Bausch and filmmakers Takeshi Kitano and Wim Wenders.
René Habermacher sat down with curator Ligaya Salazar for a chat on this and her curatorial work on the projects…
RENE HABERMACHER: Hello Ligaya! how is things? Tense, so short before the opening?
LIGAYA SALAZAR: Ha! We are actually a little ahead of schedule, awaiting Yohji’s visit
Now i am impressed!
Yes he will be coming to the V&A after his Ready-to-Wear show to check everything is in order and to paint on the gallery walls!
I would assume usually that would come first- the painting….
Oh no — not painting the gallery walls, he will be painting life-size silhouettes on the wall behind and amongst the mannequins. It will be very special.