Eley Kishimoto’s Living with Patterns at the Aram Gallery
Despite launching on the first evening of London Fashion Week, the Eley Kishimoto Living with Patterns exhibition opening was a down to earth affair, full of friendly design types in interesting clothes having cosy chats. As we walked into the vase section a couple of girls were listening to the band on the floor below, head tilted over one of the vases, ear to the opening. A refreshing contrast to the power heels and serious networking going on at every other party in central London that night. Set in the Aram Gallery on Drury Lane, the exhibition was on the top floor of an uber-cool design and furniture shop, which further added to the diverse nature of the brand. The name Living with Patterns itself implies more than just a fashion show; the exhibition included vases, rugs and plates all decorated with Kishimoto patterns, as well as several of the designer’s printed shift dresses.
The emphasis on pattern was reminiscent of the recent Yayoi Kusama retrospective at the Tate Modern – the idea of a life lived with one obsession. The idea of pattern as something more abstract than a subcategory of the fashion world.
“Something formed of habit and occurrence, patterns of movement and activity, patterns of growth and development, patterns of shape and colour, patterns repeating and repeating into the distance whichever direction you look.”
The rack of Clarke’s shoes also echoed that comparison, the artist and the brand. In fact, all of the pieces in the exhibition were collaborations, from British pottery company Moorcroft, to the tea set by the Narumi Corporation in Japan. All the better to take the designer’s vision of living with pattern to the next level.
The dresses themselves were playful but simple, designed to allow the prints to take over. No details, no embellishments, nothing to distract the eye from the original concept of form (the collection is titled In Shape). The combination of fuss-free shapes and Kishimoto’s signature use of colour served to create a cult collection, a tribute to the designer’s 20-year career of unique print design.