It’s often said that artists give themselves to their work and, in the cases of certifiable lunatics like Marina Abramović, many do. Fashion is not fine-art however, designers are traditionally better known for giving themselves to a champagne and cocaine lifestyle than sacrificing personal wellbeing for the sake of their art. Nonetheless, despite this archaic stereotype’s abiding prevalence, 21st century auteurs of attire of Reykjavík-based Sruli Recht‘s ilk refuse to be branded with the public persona of the mwah, mwah darling fashion world. In fact, the Israeli-born designer has just taken out a ruddy great lump hammer, and thundered the final nail in said stereotype’s fur-lined coffin.
You see, the rather perverse pièce de résistance in Recht’s fifth, and most recent, menswear collection is as shocking a sacrifice to his art as you could imagine. Precariously positioned within the geometric beauty of garments fashioned from polygonal wooden textiles and other curious materials like Eiderdown, pixelated rabbit fur and Icelandic reindeer and horse skin, sits Forget Me Knot; a one-off (thankfully for Recht) ring where the designer’s own leather takes centre stage.
A 110mm x 10mm strip of skin from Recht’s abdomen, removed in what he calls a ‘surgery-performance’ (video, for the non-squeamish, below) by a plastic surgeon, is treated and mounted to a 24 carat gold band – complete with a DNA certificate and DVD. Powerful stuff.
Whether it distracts from the raw, wind-swept elegance of the collection as a whole is a worthy debate. What is not, is that Recht is shifting the goalposts of what we consider fashion, art and performance – 2013 is an exciting time to be involved in creativity; boundaries are increasingly blurred, genres cast aside with contempt. “This collection is completely burned” says the designer, and his bridges with the fashion glitterati may well be too. But we think he’s more than happy with that.