UTOPIA/DYSTOPIA SEASONAL MESSAGE
Porsche Design is at its core a brand which perfectly encapsulates modernism and sleek contemporary style. Porsche Design products are both timeless and futurist: they exist outside the realm of trend, while at the same time pointing in the direction of a day that is yet to come. The modernist principle that form follows function is applied with great rigor across all Porsche Design products.
When the team and I started our research for the season, we were thinking a lot about the emergence of modernism in the 20th century, and the present-day significance of modernist theory. Dieter Rams’ ten principles of good design notwithstanding, utopian hope and dystopian despair are characteristic features of modernism and the 20th century cultural avant-garde.
Readings of the modernist 20th century avant-garde have frequently sought to identify utopian moments coded in its works and activities as optimistic signs of a possible future social life, or as the attempt to preserve hope against the closure of a dystopian present.
Climbing out of the social rubble of the industrial revolution and World War I, the avant-garde were convinced that modernism would wipe away the oppression of decorative bourgeois style, and enthusiastically embraced the belief that science and technology would usher in a new way of life with practical and utilitarian sensibilities.
In turn, these modernist pioneers could not have anticipated the explosive pace at which technology would progress. In particular, who could have foreseen the scope of social change triggered by the arrival of personal computers and the internet.
UTOPIA/DYSTOPIA SEASONAL MESSAGE
Which brings us to the heart of what the team and I were driven to explore with this collection: how Big Tech’s modern promise of a more globally connected social utopia has in many ways also degraded into a dystopian global network of surveillance and compromised privacy.
For me and the team, this present-day technological circumstance immediately brought to mind “Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)”, a dystopian science fiction novel and cautionary tale written by writer George Orwell which centres on the consequences of totalitarianism and mass surveillance. In Orwell’s dark fantasy, “Big Brother’s” totalitarian regime monitors the every move of all its citizens with omnipresent cameras and surveillance devices. Something not unlike our modern phones and computers.
And we can only blame ourselves: for the sake of convenience and connection, we’ve all unwittingly let Big Tech (see Big Brother) make privacy a thing of the past.
UTOPIA/DYSTOPIA: SILHOUETTE DIRECTON
Taking inspiration from the visuals of Michael Radford’s movie adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, silhouette shapes are brutalist and soldierly. The shoulders are structured, garment shapes are at once fitted and oversized. Women’s dresses and coats are accented with multi-panel corsets as well as large military style “click” belts. Contrasts of structure and drape are also important.
Every show look styled with iconic “Yoko Ono” wrap-around sunglasses, the intended effect is to convey an aloof might.
UTOPIA/DYSTOPIA: COLOUR PALETTE
The colour palette riffs off of brutalist architecture and uniforms, with concrete grey, slate green, khaki and stone reinforcing the shapes of the collection. Colors are also applied to achieve a clean, monochromatic effect.
UTOPIA/DYSTOPIA: WOVEN FABRICS
Woven fabrics have a highly technical and futurist bent, with a mix of tactical nylons, metallic fibre nylons, parachute silk, structured synthetic blend splittable doubleface, bonded cavalry twill, blister textures and rubberized coatings.
In contrast to the more structure fabrics, a “liquid” wool adds drape and softness to the collection.
The core of the Porsche Design knitwear business is anchored in 2/48s Italian merino. From light-weight underpinnings to heavier gauge wintry novelties, these sweaters are the essential building blocks of the Porsche Design apparel collection.
We have also added many yarns and styles specific to the Dystopia theme, including felted boiled wools, stretch cashmere dresses and layering styles. Very important for the show collection are heavier gauge Alpaca 2x2 ribs and more structured milano stitch coats and dresses.
Also, very specific to this season, is the development of sweaters with quilted textures, all made in Florence with a cutting edge knitter. The quilting is executed entirely without the use of a sewing machine, which lends the sweaters a very futuristic look.
Much research went into the development of the seasonal leather styles: from sonic embossed details, to stretch quilted smocking and foam bonding, the Porsche Design Dystopia leather styles were developed with some of the most advanced modern techniques in Italy.
Remarkable for the season was the development of shearling needled to cashmere felt, which gives an illusion of a natural ombré effect on skirts, dresses and coats.
Our intention was that the leather styles have a forward-looking cast, while at the same time being light-weight and highly evocative of the Porsche Design legacy. Leather outerwear provides our strongest apparel business turnover, and its easy to see why: leather most em- bodies the spirit of the Porsche sportscar.
UTOPIA/DYSTOPIA: RUNWAY SHOW
The show was styled with Ada Kokosar, and was produced with Villa Eugénie.