“Un Recyclage poétique du Réel”

« Un Recyclage Poétique du Réel »

Pierre Restany


I was really inspired by an abstract by Rollant Barthes in « Mythologies » about plastic when I was working on both my paper on César, and my creative work with the collection. Indeed, plastic, which begins to spread at the time Barthes wrote, was alchemy. For the author, plastic is ubiquity, transformism : “It is less object than trace of a movement”. Whether it is changed into suitcase, brush, body, toy, pipe or bowl, this material loudly proclaims its utility destiny. Formerly, says Barthes, artifice was made to appear, to imitate. Today, plastic “is the first magic material that consents to prosaicism”. Stronger than nature, since we can make everything with it, it is about to become the unique god of the world of things.


I wanted to understand how plastics and aluminiums can react to the woman body, and how it can represents the control on / of the body, in comparison to the security of the traffic infrastructure. I tried to challenge myself in a way that street recovered materials are extremely difficult to work with. Plastic isn’t a manuable material. The experimentations on the street materials as well as the photographic investigation were key in my way to create a final collection of 3 different, but coherent looks.

The city roads network is considered an essential element in any urban community.Road signs are placed in specific areas to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians. These markers let all kind of drivers, know how fast to drive, but also tell drivers when and where to turn or not to turn. The street signs controls the movement of the circulation flow, prevents, secures, reassures.


To create my collection, I molded 2nd hand classical clothing (trench coat, man vest) with layers and layers of materials found on the street like street sign, emergency blankets, or inspired by the street like tape, aluminium, security jackets.The garments are all concretely fragile because because I diverted the first function of the material wich is to be practical, applied on immobil and flat surfaces, not for the purpose of being wearable. I wanted to use this unconventional material because I have always been interested in findings on the street, that I can recycle as some kind of fabrics of accessoiries…

My vest directely refers to the gender type of issue, which interests me a lot. Nowadays, I see a lot of « androgyny », ambiguous « gender representations », on runways nowadays, or sometimes on the street. People assume more and more their personality. Lots of women are wearing men pieces, and sometimes men wears woman pieces like dresses or skirts. The fact that it a girl wears a bold man jacket was chocking few years ago. I wanted to reverse the sens of the stereotyped “fragile” woman, paradoxaly using “FRAGILE” tape. I have never pushed that far this passion of unconventional materials to create a finished garment.

I decided to push my message a bit more by echanging the side of the bottons, from right to left. While men’s shirts have buttons on the right side, the opposite is true for women’s blousesor vests. This difference would have been established during the seventeenth century. This would be linked to the fact that, in the past, women of a certain status, who wore buttoned clothing, were most often helped by maids to get dressed. It was therefore easier for these housewives, mostly right-handed like the rest of the population, to have the buttons positioned to their right when they were facing their mistress. On the other hand, the buttons are located on the other side for men because they were dressed most often alone. In fact, the valets only intervened to prepare the clothes and the final ornaments.


The message behind this collection is about femininity and how women were / are often stereotiped as fragile, sensitive, under control, restrained, contained, disciplined… By featuring street inspired / reclaimed materials on the body of a woman, I wanted to create a paradox of a rigid street, controling our bodies, our movement, our deplacements, in order to establish order, cohabitation between car, cyclist, pedestrians, works. The feminist aspect of the collection is represented by the overall classical shapes of the garments, the use of the materials, and how they are placed at certain specific places. With the compressed chest uder the sign vest, or the signaling banner bra, it shows how women are ofter controlled and contrained by all these stereotypes, of wearing a bras, of behaving… The model, exemplary and archetypal woman who wears my collection is a strong, assertive, self-confident woman, revealing her body forms without the fear of judgment, showing herself in the street. The street is dynamic, like women.


I tested the limits of the materials by making my collecction worn by a woman and make her doing some difficult poses for a photoshoot. I decided to create a serie of photographies featuring the materials/ the clothing on a woman who is powerfull, but also really dynamic, like the street. I did’nt chose to present the collection directly on the street so visualizing the photos of the context was key because I have the possibility to show my entire 4 months of investigation. During these last 4 months I have not only collected the materials but I have really been immersed in the street environment, observing in detail the atmosphere, the movements, appealing to all my senses. The photo editing that I decided to make demonstrates how dynamic, lively, turbulent is the street, with its multiple dimensions, and its changing temper depending on the situation.


For the presentation, I wanted to recreate the street universe featuring the materials first environment to better uderstand how I diverted, recontextualised, reinterpreted, and demistified the material first use and fonction. At the same time, I wanted to show by creating an entire wall of photos, that It was a long process of investigation, collecting, gathering materials and understanding their plastic qualities.


In parallel to this creative and manual investigation, I chose to write about the sculptor César in Seminar. First of all because I found interesting to really go deep inside one particular artist life, and also because he is a Nouveau context of post war, and growing mass consumption, making sculptures out of massive proportions. I really felt at this point that fashion and art were really close, in a way that before making my collection, I experimented like César, with the materials, creating surfaces only considering the objets for their physical properties, without having preconcieved ideas. To finalize my work, I chose to add to each of the 8 pieces, fasteners with the name of my collection “A Poetic Recycling of the Real”, words from the Nouveaux Réalistesart critic Pierre Restani, which perfectly coincides with the meaning of my collection. The most important for me was’nt the final collection, but more the process, the craftmenship of molding and embroidering in contradiction with the use of industrial massproduced materials, complietely different from César approach that mainly used the machine, and all the research behind allowing me to find my signature and highlighting my message as best as possible.






Gallery installation :





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