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Saturday, February 14, 2009

We're With the Bland

By Franklin Melendez...

What is Bland? According to the press release, it's a “fantastic experiment in modification and restraint that reveals a dynamic meta-aesthetic that is only desirable via adjective-heavy tropes, run-on sentences and compounded German vocabulary.” We might translate this semi-serious, semiotic code by saying Bland is one of those amorphous fashion-art hybrids with an enviably cool following from the moment of inception, which makes its actual content seem almost negligible.

The brainchild of Teddy, longstanding charter member of the Deitch Projects tribe, the line debuted last year at the Wooster space with a another art-heavy presentation involving mannequins, an all-black palette and conceptual pantomime-dance. The line offered some cleverly tailored jumpsuits and beautifully draped tops—a promising first presentation that took a turn to the macabre this time, maybe as an homage to its host Terrence Koh and his gallery space, ASS (Asia Song Society).

Returning to the mannequin theme, the result this season was less mime convention, more lost reels from Silence of the Lambs. It played out like the fashion-week fantasy of Jame Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill, replete with studding, corsetry, rivets and hardware. The effect was brought to full-force when descending into the cavernous basement of ASS, which, needless to say, has witnessed its share of debauchery.

When asked about how the collaboration came about, Terence and Teddy were a bit at a loss. Teddy: “Well, it just…happened. Suddenly we thought we’d be here.” Terence: “It sort of...just happened…and then we were making vanilla milkshakes.” Fair enough.

Of course, all the cerebral gloom and doom was no match for the revelers, who included Deitch Projects director Kathy Grayson, artist Aurel Smidt and most of the cast of Butt. It made for a good thumping party, which the city quickly took note of, sending over a fire inspector before the night was over.





photos Maz Redpath

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