The Experience of Fashion: MAISON the FAUX @ Amsterdam Fashion Week 2017
Fashion, in many ways, is a bodily experience. A soft cotton-like fabric gliding against your skin or the movement of your legs captured by the width of your skirt underlines this idea. However in recent years fashion has become more than just something to adorn the body with. Fashion has become conceptual and perhaps even ideological, concentrating around creating an evocative and authentic experience. Nowadays a silk dress attaching itself to your waist like butter is but a brushstroke on a much bigger painting.
Fashion fictimThrough Modemuze I was invited to go see MAISON the FAUX at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam (MBFWA). MAISON the FAUX is a 'fictional' fashion house founded in 2014, making its debut that same year on the MBFWA catwalk. The house is under artistic and commercial direction of Joris Suk and Tessa de Boer, former students of the renowned ArtEZ Institute of the Arts (same school that produced names like Viktor&Rolf, Iris van Herpen and Marcel Wanders).
"Central is their love for fashion and their rather un-Dutch visualisation of this."
MAISON the FAUX tries to hold up a mirror of the modern fashion system through archetypes and clichés so they can "strip them down, expand them and make them their own." Central to this reinterpretation is their love for fashion and their rather un-Dutch visualisation of this.
'Experience' can therefore be seen as the key-word to their collections. As Tessa de Boer said in an interview with Modemuze: "The way we approach things is generally the same, but for the execution we choose something different. That could be fashion but also designing an exhibition or staging a performance. We're not dependent on one thing which makes our label very flexible."*
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Something differentFor someone who's a fashion show-newbie, MAISON the FAUX certainly knows how to draw you into their world. A futuristic world this time with -what seems like- tanning beds and neon lights inside a former factory hall creating a clair obscur that, well, can only be described as futuristic. The room reminded me in some way of being captured in a video game similar to the 2010 Tron: Legacy film (I've never seen the original 1982 film, but it's basically the same). Which also in some way seems appropiate as we, after the lights went out, are introduced to the so called FAUXmosapien.
What is a FAUXmosapien? Well it's naturally the new life ahead of us. And no, they are not tanning beds, they are actually pods so we can be incubated and begin our 'journey of reinvention'. As the introduction video states: the tanning beds provides you with a "radiation that gives you more than a glow." So welcome to the new world and welcome as a new species. We've got incubation pods and neon lights, what's not to like?
For an overview of the looks shown on the catwalk click here (so you know what I'm talking about...).
CandymanSo how is a FAUXmosapien dressed? Apparently in pastel, with vertical stripes elongating the FAUX body, supported by fluffy mules or thigh-high latex boots; one in silver and one in black. Certainly a different take on the many possibilities I held possible within the neon-atmosphere. But funnily enough the FAUXmosapien easily blends into the high-budget spa on a space ship.
"Models with a glow on their cheeks that can only say 'I'm out of this world'."
The baby pinks and blues sported by the models, with a glow on their cheeks that can only say 'I'm out of this world', is equal to a sweet tooth decaying under its own sugar rush. Underlined by fishnet tights and the showing of skin, the FAUXmosapien isn't just a mace of mirrors and self-consciousness shown by the fashion house. While the stage is busy creating a culturally known backdrop of progress and invention, the clothes are more reminiscent of early 2000 aesthetics. In this case particularly the borrowed party-gear of miss 2000 herself, Paris Hilton (perhaps the greatest FAUXmosapien of her time).
All in all I can say that this show was quite the experience. The fleeting world of fashion was almost literally washed away by raindrops welcoming us back into the 'real' world. The incubation pods became tanning beds again and the floating fabric forced by the fierce walk of the models were rushed away to the eternal darkness. Or whatever there is behind the curtain. We're back to the uncomfortable feeling of wet fabric rubbing against our skin and dictating our bodily experience.
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 S. van de Polder, 'Mode, kostuums en dagelijkse kleding in Nederlandse musea', Volkskunde nr 4 (2014), p. 553-558.
 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam, "MAISON the FAUX", https://fashionweek.nl/en/designer/314/maison-faux.
 D. van der Wouw, "In gesprek met: Tessa de Boer (MAISON the FAUX)" (28 June 2017), https://www.modemuze.nl/blog/gesprek-met-tessa-de-boer-maison-faux.
 Maison The Faux, "FAUXMOSAPIEN" (16 July 2017), Youtube video, 1:07, https://youtu.be/w8wAiypATeo.