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Who is Fashion’s Greatest Engineer?

Welcome to the 170th insertion of DEMUR®, an analytical series highlighting the intricacies of the artistic world and the minutiae lying within. In this episode, we step into the archives to explore fashion’s past and present engineers, taking a look at the underlying mechanisms behind the industry’s leading designers.

Across all genres of design, a hint of mathematics and calculated skill emerge through the cracks of ingenuity. From the architect’s angles to the painter’s pen stroke, we’re constantly reminded of the geometric tropes that cement creation’s groundwork. In fashion’s regard, these attributes are exaggerated, seen from the originating thought to the final stitch.

Over the course of fashion’s history, engineered garments (pun intended) have only grown in complexity. When questioning the niche’s ‘greatest’ designer, it can be difficult to grant an individual with such an accolade, especially without considering the many technical aspects of mechanical design. Before shouting out “Issey Miyake!”, we must break down what makes an engineer, while looking to the defining aspects of their work.

Beginning in the East, we can draw stylistic elements from that of the Comme des Garcons universe. Without even looking towards Junya Watanabe’s expertise in pattern cutting or Kawakubo’s otherworldly Spring 2017 collection, we’ll skip to the umbrella’s leading innovator, Noir Kei Ninomiya. Refusing to stitch any of his highly intricate pieces, the creative works with absurdity, redefining the boundaries of ‘wearable’ art.

Much like Iris Van Herpen, Ninomiya strives to distort our perceptions of the human figure, approaching each curve and blemish as a storytelling stimulus. However, what sets them apart is Herpen’s interest in movement as an extension of the body, manipulating 3D printing devices to achieve otherwise improbable silhouettes. Inspired by the likes of Issey Miyake, fashion’s introduction to transformative cuts and multi-faceted thinking, we then land at the foot of Pleats Please.

From Huessin Chaylan to Martin Margiela, these ideals are simply too unique to crown one as king, at least within an Instagram caption.

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