In July 2020, as the world still reels from the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, this brutal hit came upon the fashion industry amidst other growing concerns over the efficacy of fast fashion and the sustainability of warp-speed trend cycles. Here began Couture Fashion Week, a staple in French culture and pinnacle of fashion’s creativity around the world. In banal circumstances this week would bring with it a downpour of custom fabrics and embellishments, a marathon across Paris’ most notable venues, and a parade of models bringing life to the wildest dreams from the minds of these great houses. This year looked very different. As fashion shows went digital, each brand took on a distinct approach to addressing the unprecedented circumstances in the industry.
Amidst all these concerns and global troubles, what could couture bring to the table aside from the fantasy and escapism we’ve come to attribute to the lavish grandeur of this fashion sector? Spanning across 8 distinct short films, the house of Ronald van der Kemp (RVDK) unveiled a collection of 28 brilliant looks that tackled these issues in the distinctly out-of-the-box way only Haute Couture can do. Wardrobe 12 a “mission for a better fashion world”, delivered the fundamentals of couture as a necessity in rethinking the luxury fashion industry while embracing all of its beauty and extravagance. Follow along as Fashion Strokes takes you through a series of illustrations capturing this memorable collection and its contribution to the dialog on fashion’s way forward with lessons learned from couture’s traditions.
RVDK created an artistic celebration of fashion for the individual, while touting a return to statement pieces clients can connect to on an emotional level. Pieces to last beyond a trend cycle, with an uncompromising dedication to fit and quality materials for guaranteed longevity. Prizing each person’s distinction, and dressing it just as uniquely with memorable looks, Wardrobe 12 offered up a feast for the senses. A perfect balance of colors, prints, and textures to excite but never overwhelm, always staying the course of showcasing the perfect duality between energetic color schemes and modern, bold silhouettes.
Another layer to his ethical code for fashion, this RVDK collection was made fully up-cycled, using discarded fabrics, shredding archival pieces, and reworking seemingly ready-to-wear items with couture touches. His mastery of cut and fabric took these odds-and-ends and created a singular atmosphere highlighting not only a creative vision but also the waste many fashion brands go through, and the magic that can be found within these fantastic cast-offs.
Taking on the values of this season-less, sustainable presentation by Ronald van der Kemp, both the luxury and ready-to-wear fashion markets can note the necessary and positive pivots to be made in conjuring a collection with limitless individualized fantasy, while limiting many of the excesses and generic tendencies brands have grown accustomed to, hopefully feeding a return to timeless design tactics with an invigorated, boundary-pushing imagination.
Illustrator/ Writer: Elly Azizian @fashion.strokes
Designer: Ronald van der Kept
Elly Azizian founded Fashion Strokes in May of 2016 while completing her studies in Haute Couture at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Since then, she has been using her singular blend of influences pulling from vintage fashion, dance, theatre, and literary inspirations to create a unique style of illustration.
With an emphasis on the power of a clean line and a multi-faceted collage/mixed media approach, Elly has garnered a notable list of clients, collaborators and features including: Oscar de la Renta, SLS Hotels, Thompson Hotels, Valentino, Marchesa, Ralph & Russo, Carolina Herrera, Reem Acra, and Sotheby’s among others.
In 2018 Fashion Strokes began live coverage of Couture Fashion Week in Paris and since then Elly has been covering all the Haute Couture shows as an illustrating correspondent, expanding, in 2019 to the ready-to-wear shows at NYFW on behalf of various press outlets.
Elly’s works often blend the line between fashion illustration and contemporary art, her pieces are currently being represented by several international art galleries, including The Haze Gallery in Berlin and The CAMP Gallery.