Fashion sprouts from the previously unimaginable, an insatiable thirst for inspiration which consecutively can be found in any place, anything, with anyone, at any time. From communist building styles to Xinjiang grasslands, we at Temper have come across a brazen Basquiat-like batch of bold brainstormings. Today, it’s architecture as we apply a geometrically graphic angle with MV Jewelry.
“Fashion is architecture: It is a matter of proportions.” Coco Chanel
Architecture and fashion share wide-reaching common ground and in both areas of expertise, their creators use geometry to generate forms. Just ask my personal favorite Tom Ford. Musician and jewelry designer Miranda Vukasovic of her quasi-eponymous MV Jewelry brand has a whisking appetite for both.
China style. Enter Xinhee, a Chinese firm taking up the top position at the higher-end of the womenswear scale. Xinhee distributes women’s apparel through its self-developed brands including Jorya, Givh Shyh, Aivei and QDA — those names have quite the ring to them, now don’t they… Either way, in order to maintain their soaring-high market share, Xinhee is investing in innovation. MAD Architects, currently China’s No.1 contempo progressive architectural agency, is currently building the Xinhee Design Center right smack bang in the middle of China’s coastal fashion player that is Xiamen — think the “Xiamen Fashion Gang”. MAD founder Ma Yansong says the Xinhee Design Center is organised around its six brands, with a six wings or “petals” spaced around a central entrance, a white bone-like being. One innovative solar-powered sustainable structure, it surely is.
This type of urban design, or even urban planning in general, is not limited to the confines of an industrial box or building, yet can develop into the wearably artistic with one standout example in the field being the MV Jewelry 2013 “Agglomeration” collection — as featured in the header image, a bracelet which was on display at Beijing’s Today Art Museum that very same year in collaboration with Micro Macro Studio. The brand’s second collection featured crystal-clear glass and pure cubes to express the idea of mass-agglomeration in contemporary cities. The paradox is that see-thru material is used to emphasise the heaviness of built environment. Again, it’s wearable urban design. Question remains… Who specifically is this createuse without borders?
The MV Jewelry brand leans on the unbreakable bond between art and architecture. Beijing-based Vukasovic’s first handcrafted collection in 2014 was a marriage between lines and their structural role in architecture, enclosing empty space within a visible corner featuring lines of gold and silver that seemingly solidified air. Solid yet simultaneously fragile. The collection consisted of seven pieces: One bracelet, two different pairs of earrings, a necklace and three differently shaped rings. In her latest collection released in the fall of 2017, then, Vukasovic fundamentally embraces the boundaries between the “virtual” and the “transparent”, creating a perception of volume through void. Constructionism all the way. On that account, we arrive at the engagement between art and accessories.
Inspired by the emblematic CCTV building in Beijing, the facade itself becomes a visual manifestation of the building’s structure on a continuous loop.
MV Jewelry: Deconstructed. A quick breakdown of Vukasovic’s intersectionary inspiration:
- Earrings and bracelets inspired by the earliest among skyscrapers, emblematic of high-density cities with their increasingly intensive use of urban land during the 1870s. Primo example: The skyline of the tallest, most unforgettable and intense city in the world, i.e. New York.
- Earrings inspired by the emblematic CCTV building in Beijing which in 2012 was designed by OMA. The facade in itself becomes a visual manifestation of the building’s structure on a continuous loop.
- Rings inspired by the floor plans of the of the dense city skyscrapers and their loops and connections between the floor plans.
- A necklace inspired by the building’s elevations and fixed heights, multiplied by the number of floors.
- A little FYI: The MV Jewelry “Lines” collection was selected by Beijing-based Designer UZO.MIN for their “White Noise” LookBook 2016.
The “Lines” collection in 2017 was shortlisted for the Lane Crawford Creative Callout. Last but not least, the very same collection was selected by the singer of “16 Minutes”, the Beijing-born and -bred experimental rock band, to star in one of their MVs. Which brings us to… The marriage between fashion and music.
Vukasovic in 2015 formed THE RADIANCE band, a band that sets out to create music through a kaleidoscope of fragile emotions, including art and visual projects into their on-stage performances. The band in 2016 produced their first LP at the Forbidden City Studio in Beijing and that very same year, THE RADIANCE was invited to perform their music inside one of the most exciting venues Beijing has to boast: The capital’s 600-year-old Temple of Wisdom. Each and every one of the band’s projects is unique in its outline and tries to awaken a different experience each and every time.
With multiple sounds ringing in from across the globe, touching upon the electronic bass and R’nB trebles, strumming the strings of classic rock and post-grunge, incorporating the harmonica-melancholia of the blues and adding a twist of those trip-inducing go-abouts found in psychedelic rock, THE RADIANCE finds itself at home in a host of decades and draws further and final inspiration from Janis Joplin, Portishead, Alabama Shakes and even Led Zeppelin. Check out the band’s latest work right here!
Thus Temper is led to the pond which is the affluent pool of inspiration: Where fashion, architecture and music meet – Vukasovic in her own words!
“We usually work with different visual artists, one of whom is the visual artist Hong Qile. We performed in the dark and all the while Hong was following my movements with a ray of light. I was drawing with light in that show.” Vukasovic
With the release of her latest collection in October 2017, Vukasovic explores the realm of reflection through pieces that can be modified to reflect either themselves or their surroundings. Time for those ten Temper questions now, Miss V!
Temper: How old were you when you became obsessed with architecture and design overall?
Vukasovic: I have always loved drawing, ever since I was a kid, so I guess it naturally to me to follow everything related to drawing in life — from fashion to space.
Temper: “Music was my first love”… Or was it designing? How does the music influence the designer part in you and/or vice versa?
Vukasovic: I think creative power is born from artistic diversity. I have always loved music and for me music is an expression of freedom; it is pure emotion. When I perform, I try to create a unique experience time and time again. For instance, if we play in a 600-year-old temple, the location already speaks for itself, ergo the music needs to be soft and tender to embrace the beauty of the space. Most probably we would then opt to do something acoustic. Bearing in mind all these different elements, you then start to create a show. You think about the feelings you want to express. We always search for different spaces to perform and we usually work with different visual artists. The one I’d like to mention here is a visual artist from China, Hong Qile. We were performing inside a gallery space, shrouded in darkness, and he was following my movements with a ray of light. I was drawing with light during that show.
I mention this on purpose because music gives me the opportunity to create an ambience and an ephemeral architecture for performance, this is where design and architecture play a big role.
Our memories and experiences make us truly unique beings and through exploration, we come closer to ourselves. This is important as we live in a contemporary reality where individuality has been lost.
Temper: The Muse?
Vukasovic: David Bowie.
Temper: How do you communicate with the audience through your music? What do you aim to communicate?
Vukasovic: I think the relationship between musician and audience is more intimate in nature than the one between designer and buyer as music has a tendency to connect us directly to our emotions and experiences, whereas design and architecture attract people from similar cultural backgrounds.
I think creative power is born from artistic diversity. Through my last performance in a 600-year-old temple, I tried to speak about that power that is born from a mixture of cultures. I decided to set up a concert with my original music with strings and voices. There were six girls hailing from different countries (Estonia, Brazil, the UK, Ukraine), and we also featured a throat singer from Mongolia. I think it was a very powerful performance because of the uniqueness each of us could express through unique vocal styles and musical backgrounds. It was a really engaging experience.
Our memories and experiences make us truly unique and through exploration, we come closer to ourselves, which is important in this contemporary reality we’re living in; one where individuality has been lost.
Nowadays people live out of experience and people are living in the fast lane. We all need something powerful and meaningful to capture the attention. I want people who come to our shows to be surprised and touched each and every time!
As a designer and songwriter it is important to have your finger on the pulse of change and to engage with that energy.
Temper: How do you communicate with your client through your designs? What do you aim to communicate? And who is your client?
Vukasovic: All my designs touch base with/in architecture and contemporary art. My ‘Lines’ collection was inspired by exploring lines and their structural role in architecture, enclosing empty space within a visible corner. Within that same collection I also covered the concept of “loops”. The CCTV building in Beijing expresses the same concept, where the facade in itself becomes a visual manifestation of the building’s structure.
My clients are women from the music and art industries who like to resonate their uniqueness and personality in their outerwear at first sight. Modern women who have become strong dominant figures in the contemporary world and now play great roles in cutting-edge industries. Women that are strong, but still do not deny their fragility, elegance and essence!
Temper: What are the three tools/items that you can never, ever be without?
Vukasovic: Small notepad and pencil , red lipstick and headphones.
Temper: Your move to China, then. When and how did you get to Beijing and what role does the city/the country play in your music and jewelry today?
Vukasovic: The city is full of opportunities for those that want to explore life in all its facets. There is a certain kind of freedom to put new ideas into action and the people are more open to collaboration. Another thing that is fascinating here, is that many young people are very successful in China — a phenomenon which tends to be rather rare in other countries. This successively gives the city its energy and a flow of young ideas, always in motion, always changing. It’s important because it helps us understand new lifestyles. As a designer and songwriter it is important to have your finger on the pulse of change and to engage with that energy.
Temper: What, to you, is “China Fashion”? What to you is “(Chinese) art”?
Vukasovic: Something greatly and purely inspirational!
Temper: How do you see fashion and art (i.e. music) in China evolve over the next five years?
Vukasovic: I think China will become more creative. There are more and more Chinese spending time living and traveling abroad, which I feel will in turn create more opportunities for the development of a new style, mixing the cultures of East and West.
Temper: Your new collection is “exploring reflection through pieces that can be modified to reflect either themselves or their surroundings.”
Vukasovic: Go to www.mirandavukasovic.com to find out! [insert wink]
That’s a wrap’ a strong, pure and geometrically lined one, at that. Inspiration may be the starting point in any creative loop, a solid structure proves indispensable in taking one’s creative endeavors all the way into the future.
Ma Yansong in one CNN interview emphasized the “importance of architecture needing to be organic” and how he is looking to “create geometries outside of the standard box typology in order to re-establish the emotional connection between humans and nature — envisioning a type of architecture where people don’t just see something, but also feel something”.
The same applies to fashion: The debate on what is style and what is not, what is art and what is not, must be divorced from our duty to pursue individuality. Let’s collectively think outside the box. On the whole, true fashion is all about gut feelings.