PEOPLEText: Peta Jenkin

It’s a remarkable case of two great minds thinking alike, when Desire Heiss and Ines Kaag, both from Germany, teamed up in 1996 to create their seminal fashion label BLESS, which has become internationally acclaimed through a strong core of followers, media, and institutions the world over.

Although often described as fashion concept which comes the closest possible to ‘art’ that fashion can, the BLESS approach can also just as easily be seen as pseudo-scientific, where clothing and accessories are created more as way of experiencing structure and form, which either assists or subverts the functionality of the object.

Which ever way you look at it, a BLESS object always speaks with a strong intent, and it is this quality of playfulness in design which makes their work a pleasure to experience.

BLESS Beauty Product – ‘Hairbrush’, 1999

One of their first pieces, Hairbrush, 1999, set this playful tone, where the hairbrush is, literally speaking, a ‘hair’ brush. It’s both unnerving and funny at once, leaving one with mixed feelings of curiosity and repulsion, and reflects an approach that is just as happy to explore concept while leaving out functionality altogether.

BLESS No. 12 – ‘Bed Sheet – Couple’ from the ‘Team-Ups’ Series, 2000

A similar emotional response is evoked with the ‘Bed Sheets’, a collaboration with ‘nice memories’, where white bed sheets are printed with a highly realistic image of a sleeping couple.

BLESS No. 10 – A selection of scarves, 2000. All clothing was donated by the various retail companies.

Where clothing and accessories are concerned, it is interesting that while BLESS create fashion objects that don’t exist witin the ‘norms’ of the fashion world, they are quite willing to cooperate with them. BLESS No. 10 takes a remix-style approach which selects segments of clothes from well-known fashion labels such as H & M, Carrefour and Levis, and then reconstructs them into scarves.

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