The scenery is black and white, frozen in time…captured only by the lens of the camera. The world of times gone by is revived with the addition of bright collaging by graphic designer Guy Catling. Images on their own that may appear dangerous, harsh, deserted or mechanical come alive with vibrant florals and geometric prints.
By choosing imagery that includes warzones or locations of loss like the Twin Towers and then inserting prints like a colorful floral, the collages seem to speak to a more peaceful world that still embraces beauty in the midst of horror. Or perhaps another interpretation could be that there is a hope that grows and exists beyond the confines of reality’s harshness.
The photos of men in floral or geometric coats seem to question the notion of masculinity, or at least the serious demeanor the men were initially trying to convey. Or maybe, Catling isn’t trying to make political or cultural statements with any of his work, but instead simply offer intriguing images.
Regardless of their meaning or lack thereof, the juxtaposition between the harsh imagery and the soft prints is captivating, drawing in the viewer to the unexpected pairings.
Like Capling’s collages, fashion often pairs the unexpected. This spring, collections often featured their own forms of collage with different colored, textured and printed fabrics.
Designer Duro Olowu put fabric collaging front and center with dresses that include as many as five prints. Though varying in color and design, the various florals come together to create bright and optimistic dresses.
Using a different approach to collage, shirts and dresses take on a geometric form as contrasting fabrics are used to construct the pieces at Emanuel Ungaro.
The traditional is reinterpreted with collage as seen with the use floral against the solid khaki fabric of Thakoon trench coats.
The use of collage is seen in the pairing of the various fabrics of the shirt and skirt, but also in the detailing of the coat and vest. With touches like a floral breast pocket, cuffs and sashes, the basics are brightened with the unexpected.
As a wearable collage, the textured lace of the empire waist Alexander McQueen dress is contrasted with floral embroidery.
Many designers like Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen also embraced the use of the hard and the soft by using strong materials like leather against softer floral fabrics and embroidery.
The unexpected pairings allows the style to cross boundaries. Biker goes boho with flowing florals against a black leather jacket.
The masculine and feminine often found its way into designs in ways such as the traditionally masculine suit jacket or duster paired with splashes of feminine fabrics and colors.
For instance, Phillip Lim’s white suit-like designs find inspiration in menswear while also embracing the use of collage by hinting at a surprise of feminine color with embroidery or small pieces of fabric.
Whether trying to make a statement, or simply find a way to add a splash to your next outfit, your style can reach new heights with a little bit of collaging.
Runway Photos: Vogue.com
Art Photos: Guy Catling