The depths of the ocean contain some of the greatest mysteries of our planet. It is an area as unfamiliar to us as outer space, yet it is home to an array of the world’s most magnificently bizarre creatures. With their alien-like features, peculiar shapes and unearthly colours, the depths of the unknown continues to hold a mystifying allure. The very nature of deep sea creatures habitat and design have inspired some of the most mind-bending pieces of avant-garde couture in history.
Alexander McQueen | Plato’s Atlantis | S/S 2010
Alexander McQueen’s collection Plato’s Atlantis featured kaleidoscopic patterns so vivid in colour they were almost bioluminescent. It is hard to believe that this neon palette can naturally occur in nature, however these colours are common in the darkest depths of the ocean, where researchers estimate that up to 90% of creatures are bioluminous. McQueen’s pieces of couture were adorned by futuristic-looking models with translucent looking skin and minimised features, completing their likeness to creatures from the deep sea.
Alexander McQueen | Plato’s Atlantis | S/S 2010 | The Armadillo Boot
While the creatures from the deep need not concern themselves with footwear, if they were it can be assured that McQueen’s out-of-this-world shoe collection would be the perfect fit. Ferocious in their beauty, absurd in their form.
In a press release, McQueen detailed how Plato’s Atlantis was an apocalyptic forecast of our planet’s fore coming ecological meltdown;
“Humankind is made up of creatures that evolved from the sea, and we may be heading back to an underwater future as the ice caps dissolve.”
Thierry Mulger| The Chimera Dress | A/W 1997-1998
Nearly two decades ago, Thierry Mulger reminded the world exactly why fashion is one of the world’s finest art forms when he showcased his Chimera dress. To this day, Mulger’s dress is regarded as being one of the greatest pieces of Haute Couture ever made. Chimera is a mythical creature from greek mythology, a hybrid specimen made up of multiple different animals, according to Homer “a thing of immortal make”. Mulger immortalised himself in fashion history with this fantastical piece, showcasing the body in a mutilated form, the model is transformed into an aquatic superhuman, transcending gender and species.
In a more subtle approach, Elie Saab looked to the seas for her ‘Dive into the Deep Blue’ collection. This ombre piece reflects the nature of the ocean’s colour palette, with the most vibrant colours found in the darkest corners of the sea. The billowing fabric alludes to the graceful movements of creatures found underwater. Saab’s collection of wearable couture pays homage to the mysterious underwear world with captivating elegance.
Parisian raised YiQing Yin’s Haute Couture evokes an architectural spirit, while relaying a hypnotically ominous image of a monster from the deep sea. Combining mesmerising fractal patterns with voluminous texture, Yin’s couture is a sculptural masterpiece. The designer reports that it is not so much fashion that she is interested in, but material experimentation. “The garment is a means of expression. The body is a support.’
YiQing Yin | A/W 2012-2013
Yin has turned to the mysterious ocean for inspiration on more than one occasion, this ethereal piece infuses bridal chic with the billowing form of a jellyfish, a much-averred sea creature among designers. In an interview, Yin spoke of her fascination with the underwater world and how it has inspired her whimsical designs;
“paradoxical feelings that emanate from floating within those mysterious grounds, from contemplation to the loss of reference points to fear and a childish sense of lunacy.”
Written by Anneka Shally
Edited by Christina WrightReferences