Rebeca, Rebeca x Pontus +The Product = Avant Garde-ing in Oslo

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by Olivia Moreau | Lotus Ladegaard

Rebeca, Rebeca is an unusual clothing brand. It is the brainchild of Rebeca Høien, who is more of an artist than a cold cut marketing rep. Her work usually borders on the cusp of experimental fashion and sustainability. Her last collection shown in the rather wonderful DogA (the famous design school in Oslo) bore the hallmark of a designer who is completely comfortable with who she is yet is unrelenting in pushing the boundaries. To find Rebeca's philosophy similar to Comme des Garçons would not be a stretch, as both Rebeca and Rei Kawakubo revisualizes as what is acceptable as a form of aesthetic expression within the confines of fashion and art. Rebeca's collaboration project with Pontus focused strictly on wires and electrical outlets. From glued in keys of keyboards to tops made out of electrical outlet, graced this rather unique fashion-art exhibit. While this is not for the fainthearted, nor is it directed towards Instagram influencers, the core conceptual foundational of the show reminded us why it is not only necessary to look at fashion beyond the perspective of just commerce and within the periphery of artistic expression. With the help of Pontus ( a stylist inspired brand) and enviable the Product, the Norwegian ultra- organic, slow fashion brand, Rebeca's show provided a glimpse of what you would expect in a space where art runs supreme. 

                                                Photographs Courtesy of Omi

Rebeca Rebeca as a brand debuted on Vancouver Fashion week in 2014, just two years after its beginning. The young brand has made quite the name for itself outside Norway with several strong reviews from some of the most prestigious fashion publications around. With a focus on natural textiles and a slow fashion mindset, the brand creates elegant and refined garments with minimalistic expression combined with Norwegian culture and drawing on inspiration from legends, myths and music.

For the current collection; Rebeca Rebeca x Pontus, not much is given away on their website expect a labyrinth of clues to follow. A very intriguing appetizer to the actual collection. 

Models came down the runway with frizzy wild hair, natural and fresh and bare feet. A top created from plugs and cables paired with a wide flowy white skirt opened the show. Beneath the bustier of plugs were an intricate woven net which felt a little out of place and exactly the reaction that is expected of a narrative constructed with A.I. in mind. A black bustier with cables shaped into a pair of trousers above the shiny brown pair came next and worked into the same formula. The deep seeded questions about Artificial Intelligence and its role in our future was firmly on display at Rebeca's work.  

A deconstructed trench coat was one of the most intriguing looks of the show. The lower part as well as the upper part of the jacket was kept almost as is, while the middle part had been completely cut out and thus left the model’s tattoo bare. Rough edges and the styling of the lapels really made the body art stand out. And Pontus's influence on the work was evident and meshed into the flow of things to come. 

A very elegant and classic brown bolero jacket styled with a tight turtleneck and brown tight trousers were stylish seemed like throwaway fill and failed to fit in coherently with the rest of the looks. The second similar look with black tight trousers and black tight turtleneck and the signature cables wrapped around worked better with the collection. Rebeca Rebeca x Pontus + The Product also offered a men’s wear look with a black hoodie and black shirt styled with black boxers. The separates will undoubtedly do well with the streetwear enthusiasts, however, the more conclusive set would have benefitted the show immensely. 

The final showstopper was a black dress with a black bustier of plugs with cables hanging down from it above the slim black skirt. It was intriguing, had plenty of editorial appeal. It tied up the idea of A.I. and our role within that evolving ecosystem beautifully. 
 

                                 Runway Photographs Courtesy of Antara Roy Chowdhury

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Henrik Vibskov, Mayakovsky of Danish Fashion

by Omi

Henrik Vibskov is the darling of Danish society. Everyone loves his work which sits between conceptual whimsy and commercial predictability. He is as popular as an athlete and as respected as a serious artist. And this collection aptly named Salami - The Kitchen of The Non Existing, finds equipoise in the constant collision of what ifs and what is. Incorporation of asian iconography as an expression of that duality added the prerequisite layer of whimsy that makes Vibskov a joy to watch. Garnish aside (in this case salami), the foundational aspect of the show is very much a Descarte-ian deconstruction of history and future along with the narrative that both are built on. Visually appealing, intellectually stimulating and at times delicious are the words that should be used to describe this presentation of Vibskov's vision. The calligraphy itself was worth coming to the show and everything else was bonus. 

It is hard to find fault in Vibskov's world. And there is no reason not to embrace the narrative suggested in his show. But that being said, this conversation Henrik is trying to have with us from a Mayakovsky like bully pulpit may be ahead of our time and may leave a bad taste in your mouth as some of us waste food and some of us are starving. Philosophically the role of futurism is entrenched within that moral dilemma of luxury vs necessity. The luxury to have this conversation vs the necessity to survive. It would be unfair to be critical of Vibskov from that perspective as an artist's primary role is to ask questions. And we should not. Ultimately this show lived up to the immense talent Vibskov casually sports every time he decides to produce something.  Whether or not philosophically we are able to entertain the underlying hypothesis without being disconnected from our reality is a different question altogether.