On our first collection: "A gust of wind"
At Janue, silhouettes take form through research. Our first collection is built around the examination of 'wind'.
Wind is a phenomenon that connects and surrounds people. An ubiquitous atmosphere where we each borrow a particle when we breathe in and return it when we breathe out. It surrounds the entire planet but is also part of every individual. Always on the move. It is the medium in which we exist, it gives the breath of life and remains our closest environment.
The wind, the wind. It has as many names as moods. It has, as well, unrivaled power to evoke comfort or suffering, bliss or despair, to bless with fortune, to tear apart empires, to alter lives. We pay homage to its presence or absence each time we dress to go outside.
We protect ourselves against the well-known capriciousness of the wind with casings such as architecture, but also clothing. Clothing is in a continuous relationship between the individual and his or her environment.
The continuous presence of wind-breath-air gave rise to a lot of myths and meanings in different parts of the world. In most places wind-breath is seen as the primal force that triggered the origin of the world. But this creative force is balanced nearly everywhere with the destructive force of whirlwinds, typhoons, etc. Within this duality several personifications and characters of the wind were born.
In Homers Odyssey, a king - and also wind god - named Aeolus gives Zephyros, the softest of the four winds, to Odysseus to ensure a safe trip home. Aeolus gave the other, wilder brothers along in a goat leather bag that was tied so tightly that no sigh could escape. On the boat, when Odysseus closed his eyes for a moment, his fellow seafarers opened the bag with the idea to find money. Soon, the wild winds escaped and created a most whirling storm at sea which pulled the boat off its course and directed it back to Aeolus’ island.
The details in the Aeolus trousers originate from this myth. The pleats around the waist represent the tension between the enclosure of the body and free floating of air around the legs.
In other Greek myths, Boreas, the personification of the North wind who brought the cold, was ascribed a violent character and was pictured with a billowing cloak. Just like Boreas, the goddess of the breeze, Aura, could be recognized by her billowing garments. This movement of fabric is a recurring motif called velificatio and represents the energetic movement of the shrouded person by swelling robes.
The billowing effect of textile is something we strive for in several pieces. The movement of the wind takes shape through voluminous textile. It influences the person wearing it, and therefore the wind is being personified. In addition, the garment defines the personal space of the being.
Besides in mythology, the iconology surrounding wind through history is for example also present in measuring tools, art and everyday life. Some dominant features always come in pairs: swelling and contraction, inhalation and exhalation, convex and concave forms.
Think, for example, about the swollen and gathered form of a balloon, a bulging mouth and cheeks, billowing sails that catch the wind and pull a ship forward or Aeolus’ bag that was so tightly fastened that no sigh of air could escape; and the sudden gust of wind and contraction when the balloon deflates, the mouth blows, or the bag is loosened and the four winds create a most whirling storm at sea.
Creating through contradiction is characteristic for our designs. Our silhouettes mostly possess volume, yet they contain a classic elegance. There is a lot of attention for detail to balance out the rather swirling silhouettes.
Wind is also sound. Listen to a breeze whooshing through the pines over your house and imagine a great rustling of taffeta, a passing over of giant petticoats. In our Crackling Coat we chose to use percale, a very fine cotton. The movement of the textile makes the sound of wind going trough leaves, crinkling.
Besides being visible through clothing, the wind is also creator of natural forms. It decides the shape of desert areas as a sandbox in which wind can play freely. Hills are moved, lines are drawn, its shape constantly changing. In a proces of longue durée also mountains and other landscapes are formed by the wind.
The lines in the deserts can be associated with the lines on weather maps. Loops of different forms are used to picture the volume of high and low air pressure zones. These winding lines are also used in abstract digital displays of waves that aren’t visually perceptible, like sound waves.
We have translated a weather map into embroidery. A visual interpretation of an otherwise invisible phenomenon, is multiplied: the silk scarf that invites the wind to play is decorated with red and blue lines referring to the pressure zones. By interpreting the red and blue lines of these zones, one can read the wind.
Thus, one can see, feel, read and experience wind through the elegant silhouettes and carefully selected textiles of our first collection. Being it through bodily interaction with wind as a natural phenomenon, when it plays with the fluttering textiles, or in a more abstract way, in the design itself.
Any book on weather will tell you that winds are caused by the uneven heating of the earth. Pockets of warm and cold air jostle each other, create an airflow, and voilà! the wind begins to blow. Air moves from high pressure to low pressure, deflected to the right of the left by the rotation of the earth. It is a simple matter of physics. Try to keep that fact in mind as you stand on the beach, bent beneath the sheer force of air being thrown at you, your hair beating against your eyes. Somehow, out in the elements, the wisdom of science falls a bit short. It is easier to believe that wind is the roaring breath of a serpent who lives just over the horizon.
- Baert, B. (2012). Kleine iconologie van de wind. Gent: Sint Joris.
- Homer, and A. T. Murray (1919). The Odyssey. London: W. Heinemann. 345-350
- Richards, Zachary J. The Cosmological Mosaic in Mérida, Spain: Preserving Pagain Roman Tradition Through Art. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal 10 (2015).
- Ionescu, V. (2017). Pneumatology: An inquiry into the representation of wind, air, and breath (Iconologies). Brussels: Academic and Scientific.
- Nova, A. (2011). The book of the wind: The representation of the invisible. Montreal: McGill-Queen's university press.