'Indirect', 'Risks' & 'Humor' are three words pulled from our interview which best reflect Demi Demu's style.
The Polish stylist based in Tokyo has already had one past experience working on the runway for Masayuki Ino's Doublet F/W 17 presentation.
We talk to Demi Demu about her second runway project with Takeshi Kitazawa's and Emiko Sato's DRESSEDUNDRESSED S/S18 presentation 'In Bloom' during Tokyo fashion week.
Interview & words by Rebecca U
Photography by Jean-Guillaume Bastin
@bec_u @commedesbatards http://commedesbatards.com/
Demi Demu @demidemu http://demidemu.tumblr.com/
DRESSEDUNDRESSED @dressedundressed http://dressedundressed.com/
View the full collection here: https://amazonfashionweektokyo.com/en/brands/detail/dressedundressed/
Loose lace and delicate materials grace the willowy figures of the first duos to open up the show. Pale skin that could be mistaken for ultra-sheer pantyhose peeks out from the high slit dresses that could be assumed as nightwear.
The duo are mute & tender and look a bit romantically wounded.
What was the reasoning for selecting this duo to open up the show?
I was asked to find an authentic way to show the brand's spirit, to create a new start/ restart for the designers. I wanted to bring it back to the meaning of their brand's name; there is nothing more pure and authentic as 'dressed' and 'undressed'.
I didn't want to represent this directly, I wanted to show this in a simple way, as a paradox which developed more in the following runway silhouettes.
I felt that the opening garments meaning would give a clear storyline, the 'undressed' was represented by the nude tone of the dress as one layer with the models face gently hidden by her hair.
The 'dressed' version was a layered dress slightly dropping from the model's body to suggest that she would be naked soon.
The three sets of pairs were not identical but shared the same spirit of apathetic youth. The pairs are seen wearing similar, matching or contrasting outfits; the result of this for one of the pairs is the image of genderless youth which links with the DRESSEDUNDRESSED signature look.
The near-matching outfits with the rose decal on the back become a type of uniform for a new kind of people. What comment is made with this particular duo carrying the rose decal on their backs?
We wanted to share all three possibilities in the mixed gender relationships.
It was so exciting because this time we were able to share more from the idea and feeling of sexuality, before, the feeling was more about sharing androgynous attitudes. The female and male duo wore the rose decals on their backs with pants that did not need to be complete.
Our male and female characters were selected based on our feeling of harmony, they were not selected to convey the literal representation of conventional men and women.
'Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots 'cause it's ok to be a boy; but for a boy to look like a girl is degrading; 'cause you think that being a girl is degrading, but secretly, you'd like to know what it's like, wouldn't you? what it feels like for a girl ?'
This comes from one of my favourite films 'Cement Garden', the scene involves Julie who is speaking to her brother while tying a pastel green silk ribbon around his neck; the scene moves to the mirror which shows the youngest boy dressed as a girl in a twisted blond wig with his half nude brother wearing the silk ribbon tied by his boyish looking sister Julie. The styling, the theme 'In Bloom' and mood of the models brings me back to this particular scene. We see them take up adult responsibilities and follow them through their unorthodox coming of age experiences.
Does the theme 'In Bloom' speak about a new kind of unconventional flowering in a persons life?
We both share a love for the same film.
What would happen if the unconventional becomes a new kind of conventional? Would we still have this kind of excitement in such juicy questions?
'In Bloom' speaks about the moment of maturing for all individuals, it speaks about a time when strong feelings are aroused from scents and when the juice taste the best.
We've seen twinning/duos feature before on the runway such as in Undercover's S/ S 2018 and S/S 2004 women's collection, Margiela's S/S 2009 ready-to-wear collection and Thom Browneʼs S/S 2018 women's ready-to-wear presentation which opened with two white body-suited padded models wearing mesh globes on their heads. What was the inspiration for sending three sets of pairs down the runway?
Using duos is a playful way to tell a story but the story needs to have roots to speak in twos. For me and the designers, this collection was special, we all agreed that the story would be best told by using duos. The story needed three sets of duos because using two sets would weaken the story, and for mathematical reasons, two in three sets = more sense to us.
What does 'In Bloom' mean to you?
It means an essential time in your life. A plant can bloom only once, but for some of us, it could happen more...
The sheer materials and underwear worn as outerwear matches the cheeky character of your styling, was this something that was designed before you joined?
The sheer tops are classic items from DRESSEDUNDRESSED but this time they added a rose motif which was already in the collection.
The organza fabric used to make the shorts, the cut off tights layered with the underwear, the coverage of their bodies with nude textiles, the delicately wrapped tie used as a masculine symbol, the preparation of the soft base for layering with opaque garments involved with the male coordinates and the pants used to cover their legs in an uncovered manner were qualities of the show which were decided through a process of 'catch ball' and brainstorming with the designers; I also needed to remake an idea of using the nude transparent socks by the brand and present them with a new face by making them disappear into a bunch of layered fabrics. These socks were a point of inspiration for me in genre switching and layering men's classic briefs with cut off womenʼs tights in various skin tones.
Describe the process of working on the 'In Bloom' presentation collection.
I played a lot of 'catch ball' with the designers. I served the ball and they threw it back. We played this game for all matters related to the presentation, real & true results were produced from this method.
What research influenced the direction and mood of the show?
The label's archive collection and the designer's taste. All things have an influence, sounds, smells, the designer's small memories...
When we worked out the base to work from, it was like processing it all using a computer and creating a mathematical equation from a line, working out the minimum risks and the maximum risks, we took a few risks.
To speak for myself, I'm always inspired by each modelʼs personality.
To be involved in a project deeply, I need to be apart of the casting direction, the real inspiration is all about balance, like cooking a tasty dish.
Your little spark is the touch of humour in your styling, this was seen in the final look with the t-shirt over the models head and no pants.
Where did this character come from?
Humor is one of the most valuable essences of creativity.
It is a way to introduce something that is usually direct in an indirect manner.
It is a solution to bring some meaning using light instead of using a stone.
Before my first meeting with one of the designers, I already knew that I wanted to undress the brand's name. I presented my first mood board, it had four images, each of them was responsible for the four words in the two sections in my mood board. For the word 'dressed', the image I used was a nun.
During our meeting, it appeared that our vision for that season's presentation (not literally) was pretty much the same, thatʼs why, in a symbolic way, I wanted to keep this 'nun' for the end.
Our 'street nun without pants' was performed by the only Japanese model who walked at the DRESSEDUNDRESSED runway.
The model's body type and face was something that the designer's have never used before in their shows.
I wanted to show this story in its full colours, what I needed to do was to find a way for him to play his special part in the show.
The funniest part of this was that this character was such a big risk for us but we felt secure about this look from castings 'till the presentation, we were laughing so much about it, we could not believe that this model's personality worked so well with his role.