How some of the world’s top fashion designers are turning their attention to our tiny world.
There is no doubt that miniaturism has got a big boost during lockdown. Social media & a couple of TV shows have spread the word to a wider audience, but even before lockdown, the fashion world was taking notice. Of course they are. What could be cuter than a micro handbag or a doll in a couture dress? But is there more to it? I have had a look back at some epic collections from the top designers over the past 3 years to see what’s going on.
The Micro Handbag. Jacquemus. A/W Paris fashion week 2019
French fashion label Jaquemus are well known for their sensual handbag designs & they had already launched the ‘Le Chiquito’ a diminutive purse measuring 4” x 2.5” & gracing the arms of many high profile style-setters like Kim Kardashian & Rihanna, but in 2019 they decided to take it to the extreme. The ‘Micro Le Chiquito’ measured only 2” in length & could only dangle from a finger or two & barely had room for one AirPod, let alone your keys, tissues, face mask, hand sanitiser…
Of course handbags don’t need to be as large as they used to be back in Lady Bracknell days (she stored a baby in hers after all), most of the clutter we used to need is now digitised on our mobile phones, so this must be saying something about our world & who buys these items (priced at several 100 £), you must live a certain lifestyle that you have enough disposable income to purchase a functional item that is beyond functionality (but looks cute on your instagram feed).
The Wearable Dolls’ House. Dior. A/W Paris fashion week 2019
While micro bags were the talking point of Jacquemus’ 2019 collection, across the road at the Dior show, mouths were aghast at the sight of a model ‘moving house’ literally down the catwalk. This beautiful wearable gold dolls house, the highlight of their show, was created in collaboration with artist Penny Slinger. Maria Grazia Chiuri (Dior’s Artist Director), contacted her after seeing her previous work, a series of photo collages called The Exorcism.
The wearable dolls house was created impeccably by Maria Grazia’s atelier at Dior. In fact it was a model of the building they worked from, covered in 24-carat gold leaf & which opened to reveal the body of the woman within.
Portable Fashion. Dior. A/W digital presentation 2020.
Maria Grazia took her love of dolls & the whole dolls house theme to another realm in 2020, when during lockdown, fashion shows were just not happening. What to do? Why not take the collection to the customers instead. 37 beautiful couture outfits were made on mannequins, 1:3 scale & shipped out to their top customers around the world.
The miniature haute couture designs also paid homage to the ‘Théâtre de la Mode’ – a travelling exhibition of small-scale mannequins by French couturiers, that traversed between Europe and America after the war in 1945, due to wartime shortages. This was much like the recent lockdown, which saw ateliers close for periods of time due to the pandemic.
Part of this presentation was a film, featuring a beautiful travelling dolls house trunk on wheels, housing a selection of the mini designs, being pushed around different terrain by uniformed hotel porters.
No Strings Attached. Moschino S/S digital presentation 2021
Jeremy Scott (Moschino’s Artistic Director) was up for the challenge of shrinking his designs too. Also inspired by ‘Théâtre de la Mode’, but he wanted his dolls to move & he wanted an audience for his fashion show too to make it less static.
The idea behind the clothes shown in this collection was how the world has been turned inside out recently. The inner workings of the clothes being used as decoration on the outside.
Working with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, (The Muppets. Jeremy is also Miss Piggy’s favourite designer. She has many outfits he has designed especially for her) he created 40 designs on marionettes, along with other puppets representing his ideal front row audience. Getting these detailed puppets made & dressed ended up costing much more than a regular fashion show & with lockdown coming to an end, maybe other designers would be having proper runway shows again, but we are happy he stuck to his guns & completed this fantastic project which then went on to ‘break the internet’ as it raced around instagram & other social media platforms.
I am surprised that it has taken so long for these designers to realise the potential creative benefits of shrinking their designs, but I hope that this is not the end & we will see bigger (smaller) & better (smaller) uses of miniatures in years to come.
We have many miniature ateliers in the dolls house world creating designer fashion items. Visit THE LIST on our website & select ‘Fashion’ to see their collections.