A creative powerhouse exploded on the runway as 2021 debut artist and fashion veteran Akira Isogawa merged visions in fashions in a bold display of couture and ready to wear looks in a much anticipated comeback at the Iordanes Spyridon Gogos show this year at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW).
The collection comprised over 40 looks that reimagined Isogawa’s more than 30-year career through the Iordanes Spyridon Gogos lens. Each couture piece, carefully hand-sewn, has the essence of both Isogawa and Gogos, showcasing innovative techniques that are set to disrupt the 2023 Australian fashion landscape.
Established in 1993, Akira Isogawa’s eponymous label has become one of Australia’s most iconic and internationally recognised brands, renowned for his contemporary aesthetic that draws inspiration from traditional Japanese design with a unique twist.
One of the key features of Akira Isogawa’s style is his exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail. He is known for his expert draping and manipulation of fabrics, creating beautiful and flowing silhouettes. He often incorporates traditional Japanese techniques such as origami-inspired folds, intricate pleating, and kimono-like constructions into his designs, adding a sense of artistry and depth to his garments.
The collection featured a heightened his unique signature and innovative style continuing to blend elements of his Japanese heritage with contemporary Western influences in an elegant, poetic, and romantic wardrobe characterized by delicate fabrics, intricate details, and a harmonious balance between tradition and modernity.
In terms of color palette, we typically see Isogawa favoring soft and muted range, including pastel shades, earth tones. Bold pops of color have been amplified in his collaboration with Gogos in an impactful sophistication in the designs. Delicate embellishments and intricate embroidery which they are both known for included hand-beading, delicate lacework, and rainbow motifs meticulously placed and thoughtfully integrated into commanding statement pieces.
Isogawa’s museum exhibitions and an extensive archive of over 2000 pieces inspired Gogos to collaborate on this soon-to-be-iconic collection where acknowledgment of history is at the core of their inspiration. With legendary pieces like “the teddy bear” and prominent textile techniques like origami and beading, Isogawa’s universe collided with Gogos’ unmistakable techniques, where bespoke textiles were transformed into three-dimensional garments.
“Creative collaboration enables artists to remove the idea of a single visionary.” said Gogos, “As innovators in the contemporary fashion industry, Akira and I partnered to create a couture and ready-to-wear collection that is the imperfect collision of eclectic style and traditional design.”.
“Through mutual respect for our crafts, Jordan and I have seamlessly worked together to create a monumental collection,” said Isogawa. “In understanding how we both define our artistry, this collaboration has brought forth work neither of us would have ever envisioned alone. Jordan has very clear direction, and I appreciate his creative genius. It is because of this that I found it fascinating to see how my expertise and over thirty years of refined skills were seen through the fresh eyes of such an incredible designer.”
For the 2023 runway, Iordanes Spyridon Gogos aimed to find beauty in reclaimed textiles by utilising an innovative fabric treatment called “compressing”, which compacts fabric remnants together to create unique patterns. Gogos also used utilised over 1000kg of compressed fabric throughout his largest art installation to date, bringing transparency in the industry to the forefront. Gogos provided a unique conceptualisation that gave a new meaning to the word “upcycled” by allowing consumers to acquire pieces of the set design as artwork, one of the first designers in the country to do so to this extent. Gogos’ textile artwork will allow customers to buy into the show’s history and participate in mindful consumption, with pieces sold by renowned Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert.
“The highly anticipated runway demonstrated the futurism of fashion. As the fashion industry continues to move towards sustainability, our 2023 collection is showing the hypothesis in real life for the first time ever. Never before has a full runway show’s waste been repurposed,” said Gogos. “Utilising techniques like compressing is revolutionary. It shows how low-impact production is attainable in our industry and how we can continue being catalysts for job creation in the fashion industry”.
Earlier in May, Gogos announced the continuation of his long-standing partnership with Glenfiddich, the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky, where he was appointed Creative Director for the brand’s newest advertising campaign.
To celebrate the three-year partnership with the whisky brand and launch Gogos’ collaboration with Isogawa, the campaign featured both visionaries toasting their future to come and unveiled a bespoke Iordanes Spyridon Gogos textile created utilising the Glenfiddich Twelve colourway as inspiration.
The Glenfiddich bespoke textile was made from pieces of fabric salvaged from a closing down warehouse, remnant school uniform fabrics that Gogos gave a brand-new life with his compression technique. Demonstrating the synergy of both brands, the layers displayed in each piece perfectly represent the history, process, time and complexity gone into both whisky-making and Gogos’ designs.
“As an artist who actively seeks collaboration and partnership to challenge my ideas and perception, continuing my relationship with Glenfiddich made perfect sense,” said Gogos. “The unconventional brand has a history of innovation, passion and willingness to take risks, all of which naturally reflect my artistic identity. Glenfiddich not only pushes my ideas outside the fashion industry, but they have believed in me and my creative freedom since the beginning, giving me the means to do so and now forming a lasting bond between us.”
Amid the runway show, the audience experienced a contemporary performance directed by renowned Australian classical and contemporary dancer Rhys Kosakowsk, who, alongside performers and choreography collaborators Jackson Garcia, Riley Fitzgerald, Talga Kitaleong and Hugo Poulet, wore Iordanes Spyridon Gogos for Glenfiddich attire, representative of the balance between masculinity and femininity, echoing the inspiration behind the dance.
Supporting the runway show, guests were captivated by a mesmerising movie by Motel Picture Company that featured both Gogos and Akira – a film about the response to accessibility, where the mundane becomes dreamy. The production company renowned for its receptiveness to artists, captured moments that naturally unfolded and led viewers through a discovery of Gogo’s story. Each scene was vulnerable and reactive to energy, including one of Gogos running through the streets, a reoccurring nightmare he was having. Byron Spencer and Daniel Stricker from The Deep Faith were the minds responsible for crafting the soundscape that created an immersive audiovisual experience for the audience, including a cover of The Sound Of Music’s ‘Climb Every Mountain’ to close the runway show.
With collaboration at the core of the brand, Iordanes Spyridon Gogos also collaborated with designers of various skillsets, such as designer Jo Morton, whose knitting skills were displayed on the runway using pre-existing yarn; fashion and multidisciplinary artist Clair Helen showcasing their one-of-a-kind lightweight sheer fabric which was brought to life with large-scale metallic paints; artist and second-time AAFW collaborator Brittany Wyper who illustrated two unique prints, one drawing inspiration from Gogos’ relative and namesake of the brand, Spyridon, and the other a still life drawing of Akira Isogawa’s iconic Teddy Bear Bag; emerging designer Amy Baran, a third-time collaborator, on two digitally printed garments and screen printed accessories; and was made 50 bespoke buttons, by artist NELL, each an individual character featuring one of her signature motif’s.
The Iordanes Spyridon Gogos ready-to-wear collection will be available for purchase on the Iordanes Spyridon Gogos website from late 2023, and the designer’s one-of-a-kind art pieces from the show’s set design will be available to purchase by expression of interest on Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert’s website.