‘Stay weird, stay different’ – from Dries Van Noten to Top Man
Fashion: Bring in the clowns for inspiration and a fun look
The celebrated British photographer Tim Walker, known for his dreamlike fantasy landscapes whose work is regularly featured in American, British and Italian Vogue, was one of the sources of inspiration for this fashion feature.
His collection of portraits and illustrations called The Granny Alphabet in 2013 celebrated grandmothers coinciding with Simone Rocha’s autumn winter collection that year dedicated to her two grandmothers, one Irish, one Chinese. Perhaps not surprisingly, granny chic has dominated the last two graduate collections in NCAD.
Walker may have unintentionally ignited that trend, but when it comes to fashion, looking to the past has become more personal.
Like many fashion designers particularly John Galliano, Walker is drawn to difference, intrigued by people with character and the visual aesthetics of clowns citing Graham Moore’s 2015 Oscar “Stay weird, stay different” acceptance speech as a mantra. “Trends and catwalks don’t interest me. I love clothes – they represent the spirit of the age,” he says.
Some of his memorable images include Karlie Kloss as a Russian doll and Scarlett Johannson as a clown in that characteristic combination of playfulness and sadness. Elsewhere clowns continue to influence fashion campaigns; Kenzo’s recent one featured models dressed as clowns in a homage to Fellini’s La Strada, and an American design house fronted its debut denim campaign with sexy clowns. Escapism in fashion can take many forms.
So the ideas of Tim Walker and the current vogue for clowns all play their part. The playfulness and theatricality of clothes come across here in the considered use of various elements – how they are put together takes considerable skill. There are 10 items in one outfit, for example, in complete defiance of Chanel’s maxim that less is more, but the overall effect of combining disparate and unlikely textures and colours is engaging, quirky and an individual form of expression.
Anna Piaggi was a past master at the style and so is Iris Afpel. It is not easy to dress in such an elaborate and madcap way unless you have that ease and nonchalance, but certain items may catch the eye.
The clothes are a mix of high end – Dries Van Noten coats and Issey Miyake trousers – and menswear along with high street dresses, socks and other accessories. A clutch of vintage items and props sourced from boutiques and antique shops set the tone and amplify the settings.
Director, creative concept, art director and stylist: Mary Ginnifer assisted by Catherine Ginnifer, photographer: Steve Savage; MUA: Nicole Lynch; Hair: Alison O’Brien of Bespoke Hairdressing, Carrigtwohill, Cork. Models: Claire Aherne, Assets Model Agency; Lara Quinn, Distinct Model Management, Aaron Murphy. With special thanks to the Village Hall, Cork, Irish artists Declan O’Meara and Tom Campbell, PAB Travel, Oliver Plunkett Street Cork, and Williot Menswear, Merchants Quay, Shopping Centre Cork for props and artworks.