For Autumn/Winter 2023-24, Anrealage uses fashion to explore the evolution of human perception and how every living organism ̶ no matter how simple or complex ̶ inhabits a world of its own.
Two equal worlds.
Two different worlds.
How we see the world.
How they see the world.
But not equal.
A scientist of fashion, Kunihiko Morinaga presents his own wearable take on Umwelt (German for ‘environment’ or ‘surround-world’), a 19th-century concept developed by the German philosopher and biologist Jakob Johann Baron von Uexküll that explores how living beings perceive their environment.
The way different organisms perceive the world through sensory data is not “=.” Seeing nature through the eyes of an insect, for instance, reminds us that things aren’t necessari-ly what they seem. A yellow flower, and the Umwelt for bees which can see in the ultraviolet spectrum differs sharply from that of a human’s perception of that flower. To help target areas of nectar, the color of the flower’s center is an intense reddish-purple for the bee, while other parts are monochrome.
For Kunihiko Morinaga, opening our eyes to the concept of different Umwelten serves as a metaphor for the need to celebrate diversity. “We are all one race, even if how I see my world is not equal to how you see your world,” he says.
A NEW MATERIALITY
With a collection blending classic ‘50s-inspired shapes and futuristic materials that change color when exposed to natural sunlight (UV rays), Anrealage expands its portfolio of exper-imental photochromic materials produced in-house, adding faux fur, velvet, lace, knit, jacquard and satin. New color developments for looks include a yellow, beige, red, and light
blue that morph into other shades in UV light. As the intensity of natural sunlight is ever-changing, the colors are constantly shifting. These garments return to their original color in around three minutes when no longer exposed to the UV rays.
Seemingly “=,” silhouettes have no front or back. Instead, looks are based on “front/front” or “back/back” constructions, with symmetrical/asymmetrical forms highlighting Kunihiko Morinaga’s mastery of pattern-cutting.
Pushing photochromic technology to new levels, Morinaga takes the ethereal concept of the flower-woman to its most radical reality in human perception.
Pristine white looks, such as a satin dress with a giant crochet collar and pleated skirt, a lace jumpsuit, or a sculpted faux-fur high-neck dress, as well as velvet cocoon coats and dresses with petal collars, shift into another tonal range, thanks to pho-tosensitive colors that are designed to evolve through the days and seasons, coexisting with nature and the environment.
To the deceptively simple melody and rhythm of Ravel’s Boléro, “front/front” and “back/back” versions of outfits appear side by side, slowly changing into contrasting (or unequal) colors ̶ one turning pink, the other blue ̶ as ultra-violet light scans their surface. Looks slowly evolve through a variety of forms and colors evoking Earth’s wondrous bio-logical diversity, while the light also awakens textural fabrics woven with graphic patterns like stripes, checks, polka dots, delicate floral embroidery or the Anrealage logo.
Accessories range from oversized corsages to photochromic shoes designed in collaboration with RECOUTURE.
At this crucial tipping point in world history, the collection also serves as a manifesto for the preservation of nature and biodiversity, drawing scientific inspiration into a new narrative imbued with poetic ingenuity.
For the fashion world and beyond, it’s time to push beyond the limits of our Umwelten, our subjective realities; to open up our receptors to different points of view and to things that exist beyond what we can perceive. To celebrate the rich variety of world views as being “=” to our own.
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