Creatures of the Wind Fall 2012 Collection

February 9, 2012

The Chicago-based fashion line Creatures of the Wind, helmed by CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund winners Shane Gabier and Chris Peters, created magic yet again. Within the last three seasons the designers have edified their solid identity based on the marriage between craftsmanship and dreamscapes. Everything about their designs seems deeply rooted in the American consciousness; make that sub-consciousness. Stripes were hazily knit into ethereal (yet 100% wearable) sweaters and stitched together to form a shiny leather dress, one of the standout pieces in the collection. Perhaps the alternating bars of color were referencing invisible barriers between worlds, or the cages that bind us to the present. Or maybe they represented the layers of human experiences, like an onion, through which we move from the physical to the spiritual. After all, there was talk of vengeful fairies and unicorns…

The emphasis on the surreal was evident in the haunting words emblazoned on the garments. Here is there, and high is low; all may be undone, what is true no two men know; what is gone is gone.

As I watched the models lumber towards the stage, past tall, almost nightmarish steel artwork reminiscent of black flowers, I had the distinct sense of being enveloped into a separate universe with rules all its own. Extraordinary fashion transports us to another mental state, and Creatures of the Wind achieves that and more with their equal emphasis on creativity and craftsmanship. Much of the experience reminded me of walking around the War Eagle Mill craft fair as a child, the annual marketplace where several hundred American folk artisans gathered on the edges of the Ozarks to sell their wares. The intricate quilting, hand beading, and overall texturing of the garments enthralled me. In my own life I’m fascinated by the concept of texturing; how people and objects become changed by their mental and physical experiences, how something physical (or ethereal) reflects the past in its current structure. An example is how an inspiration notebook or diary becomes textured with thoughts and reflects a metaphysical idea in physical form. I saw this whole idea of texture being explored in full tonight.

There wasn’t just a white button down shirt; they were textured with jewels arranged in shapes like stars, or decorated with flowers that could have come from doodles in Tavi’s notebook. Sure, the first interpretation might be one of childlike wonder but I believe something more sinister was at play. Prairie plaids mixed with sexy, cleavage baring see-through sweaters. Adult women transposed with the regalia of children. These images were transformed into an age-defying exploration about the loss of innocence told through the story of American craftsmanship. To me, that was the real story tonight. The haunting environs of the Desmond Tutu Center’s refectory added a stellar backdrop, one that is heads and shoulders above the usual white paneled rooms of Lincoln Center’s tents.

1 Comment

  1. Im sitting in a hotel room bored as all get out on a work trip and JUST minutes ago read an article on these guys in nylon. Then I cruised my favorite blogs, clicked here through the lovely Laura watsons blog and here they are again. So glad to see the new collection, amazing. Beautiful. Also, adore your blog. Chicago deserves a great street style blog- we don’t get enough credit! XO

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