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DIANA MUREK: THEN IS NOW

— Meher Castelino

One of the most qualified and knowledgeable persons in the business of fashion I have met is Diana Murek, German fashion designer and journalist who has followed fashion for nearly two decades. A graduate of Akademie Mode in Hamburg, Diana moved to Milan, worked with Costume National’s Style Department, collaborated with fashion companies like Wolford and Francesco Scognamiglio and since 2003 has been teaching at Istituto Marangoni Milan courses that range from fashion design to styling and business.

Her blog “Into The Fashion” is one of the most widely followed and technically sound with intense research where she highlights fashion trends, which have been repositioned from the past by designers and how inspirations at times turn into blatant copies. At a seminar on the subject “Then is Now” at the B D Somani Institute of Art and Fashion Technology, recently, Diana presented an interesting documentation of fashion then and how it is seen now.

“Research is done on several parameters like inspiration, colour, material, technical, trimming, print pattern, contemporary garment silhouettes and costume history. Then this is combined with creativity, creative process and then designer comes up with something new,” explains Diana. “A gold mesh, plastic carry bag and a gold coin mini can end up as a scaly gold tote with rigid handles. The Star Wars movie costumes and Rita Hayworth’s style may end up as a toga with a print from the movie. A plastic umbrella, shower cap could inspire ankle length boots.”

Diana reveals how an 17th century Dutch painting inspired Valentino’s FW 2013-14 look or a 1968 Olivetti typewriter appeared as a print for Mary Katrantzou FW 2012-13 line. “Joe Colombo’s TUBE chair in 1969 gave an idea to Marni SS 2015 sandals while Adidas Stan Smith white sneakers inspired Alexander Wang SS 2015. Even David Bowie’s 1973 geometric outfit was the inspiration for Givenchy SS 2010. So these are inspirations that produced something new and exciting.”

But Diana points out that when Moschino SS 2013 pant suit and skirt was a duplicate of Andre Courreges 1965 original; where had creativity, creative process and the designer gone? Celine also did copy Geoffrey Beene FW 2004-05 woollen dresses for its FW 2013-14. 

“Clothes are not the only things that one sees copies of,” points Diana, “Even makeup is something that returns as in the case of Missoni’s 1971 lips and smokey eyes look, which Marc Jacobs had for SS 2011. Agent Provocateur’s iconic red and black cut away maillot was nearly identical to Rudi Gernreich’s 1971 model.”

Diana however elaborates that there are instances when heritage and archives are inspirations for brands, which try to reconnect with the past. “To continue the look of a brand, new designers have to bring back classics. The Cristobal Balenciaga 1963 silhouette was recreated by the team for FW 2006-07 so that the label’s design sensibilities were continued. Prada went into its archives of SS 1996 and brought the look for SS 2013 and so did Versace with the SS 1994 safety pin dress worn by Liz Hurley again in SS 2015. YSL revived his lipstick print of SS 1971 in SS 2014.”

Diana of course says “Thank you” when it comes to Fast Fashion copying Ready-To-Wear. “Zara and H& M bring fashion to the masses so fast it is unbelievable. Simone Rocha’s SS 2013 look was seen at Zara SS 2014 who also got the leather dress of Valentino SS 2013 on its racks in SS 2014 and Celine’s SS 2014 splashy print immediately in SS 2014. But fashion houses don’t sue these fast fashion labels as at times it helps their business.”

At times brands have preferred to collaborate instead of copy. “Celine in 2013 created Birkenstock sandals, then Givenchy and Marc Jacobs followed, and Zara of course offered them. This in turn made sales of the original Birkenstocks go through the roof so the company should be happy with Celine.”

Similarities in trends are massive in one season, as Diana observes that face prints, monochromes, fringes, statement prints, black-white-red geometrics, woollen dresses, tapestry weaves and large broad stripes were seen on the catwalk for many designer wear collections in one season. “This can be attributed to forecasting companies like WGSN, Promostyl, Macro Trends, Colour Direction etc. who provide trends and most designers are members who follow them. Fashion trends are also dictated by social happenings. In the 1960’s the space programmes and mission to the moon inspired space age fashion while the Punk sub-culture inspired couture with the gothic look.”

Overall Diana emphasises that designers must create a strong identity by combining the new and unexpected with known elements of fashion so that the final result is stylish, wearable and saleable to the customers.
 

INSPIRATION: 17th Century Dutch paintings! Valentino FW2013!
 
INTO THE ARCHIVES! Yves Saint Laurent SS1971 and SS2014!
 
INSPIRATION Louis Vuitton SS2014! Zara SS2014!
 
INSPIRATION Marc Jacobs SS2014! Zara SS2014
 
INTO THE ARCHIVES! Cristobal Balenciaga 1966 and FW2006!
 
Bottega Veneta FW2014-15! Zara FW 2014-15!
 
INSPIRATION Adidas Stan Smith! Alexander Wang SS2015!
 
DIANA MUREK
 
27-SEPTEMBER-2014
 
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