Thursday, May 05, 2005

No slouch at fashion - or not?

You may remember that I commented on Janice Breen Burns' theory of soft versus hard in clothing, saying that the majority of people will find a way to be fashionable without sacrificing comfort. Well, along these lines, I was very interested to see that at Australian Fashion Week in Sydney, Josh Goot has just presented a collection of very soft, comfortable, sporty clothes made entirely from cotton jersey ("t-shirt material"). You can find them in Melbourne at Marais in the Royal Arcade, above Caffe e Torta. Here are a couple of my favourites:

(Photos: Sydney Morning Herald)

There were other pics, as well. Maybe I should call this look "Back to the Future". They look very 80s in that baggy, preppie, pastel-coloured way that to me, makes them look like something from old-school Benetton, Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren, especially when you go to the website and see the models lined up. But at the same time, they're completely futuristic - you know, that image of "the future" that you sometimes see in movies, where everyone wears floppy, unisex clothes in grey, white and beige. In The Matrix they wear weird homespun t-shirts when they are in "the real world", as opposed to the tight, structured, tailored clothes they wear in the Matrix.

Goot won the Tiffany Design Award at this year's Melbourne Fashion Festival. He's only 25, and all the usual pundits are predicting he's one to watch. But what I find most interesting about Goot is that he creates structured pieces like jackets, trench coats and tailored pants. I am interested in this combination of formal tailoring and casual fabrics.

Today I am wearing a cropped, double-breasted jacket with raw edges on the lapels and cuffs, made from windcheater material. I got it from erstwhile hippie shop Rasa Rani in the Royal Arcade, which has now closed for renovations, after which time they'll reopen as Hello Gorgeous (the brand name of the clothes they produce). I was drawn to this jacket because it looks dressed-up, but is still casual and very comfortable; and I think that's also the attraction of Goot's clothes. As one anonymous commenter says on Coolchiq:
at first sight, the jackets doesn't make you want to own one. But once you put it on, you'll know what josh is trying to achieve in his line "easy and affortless" ... it will remain one of your staple wordrobe item for a while... you can dress it up or down by playing with scarfs and accessories... the silver track suits definately capture the vintage feel if you are looking for one!!! try one and you'll know!
I am drawn to this idea: "try one and you'll know." It implies an affective dimension to the clothes: that they are made to instil feelings in the body. For example, today I'm wearing thicker than usual socks and my cowboy boots sit quite snugly. I don't have a word for the pleasure this gives me as I walk around; but it makes me feel more cosy and luxurious, even though the actual items I'm wearing are not particularly 'glamorous' in appearance.

Perhaps the genius of Josh Goot's clothes is in creating an innocuous, everyday garment that doesn't look like much, but feels like everything. As he told The Australian:
"People today want to feel relaxed and easy, to counter the stress in their lives. I'm taking that feeling and putting it into my clothes."

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