‘Someday the other museums will be showing this stuff’, so reads the tagline adopted by the Design Museum’s annual Designs of the Year competition-cum-exhibition, now in its seventh year.
Open to the public from tomorrow until the 25th August, there are 76 nominees in 2014, selected from across seven industries: architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport, with winners in each category and an overall winner to be decided later in the year.
Lisa Immordino Vreeland picked up the fashion prize in 2013 for a film that explores the career of her husband’s late grandmother, ‘Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel’, beating among others, Craig Green, Giles Deacon, Rei Kawakubo and Miuccia Prada.
Mrs Prada is back again this year however, nominated by Peter Jensen for ‘A vivid collection inspired by female artists’; the label’s SS14 collection.
Also featured in the category is ‘An aggressive fashion presentation’, ‘A biker-inspired embossed-lurex collection’ and ‘A debut for a classic fashion house’, a.k.a. Rick Owens SS14 show presentation, ‘Totemic’ collection by Sadie Williams and Christian Dior SS13.
Situated on the second floor of the museum’s current SE1 address, the works are loosely displayed near their counterparts, with categories spread throughout the large, well-dressed space; tailor dummies are dressed up in different looks while a screen and video accompany the Owens display.
Of his nomination for the Prada collection, Danish designer Jensen suggest that it, “Has all the elements a perfect fashion collection should have: colours, textures, shapes, ideas and some sort of fantasy”.
While his support for Williams’ MA pieces is both delicate and enlightening in its delivery: “One of those little moments where one feels happy to be working in fashion, because the idea of a sort of sci-fi disco queen that comes alive is thrilling in my mind.”
Writer and editor Hettie Judah meanwhile, describes the Owens show (at the time a much deliberated performance) she nominated: “The presentation – filled with strong thighs, big frizzy hair, ferocious women and a multitude of skin colours – was a triumphant celebration of everything conspicuously absent from the dominant (conservative) high-fashion aesthetic.”
The idea of fashion design and performance in this context, surrounded by perhaps more meaningful projects such as, ‘A syringe designed to deter reuse’, ‘A new life for a church’ and what Wayne Hemingway describes as “possibly the greatest public information film of the digital age” (the app, Dumb Ways To Die), is testament to the curators’ vision.
After all, it’s the design of each nominee – the practicalities and innovation of page to product as opposed to the communal or commercial need – that is the focus; these are the objects and devices deemed designs of the year, the ones that set the bar across their respective industries and in many cases, beyond.
You can find the rest of the nominees and book tickets to the exhibition here.
Prada images via Style.com.