Victor Wilde and Bohemian Society: Progressive Fashion with a Fine Art Soul

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Victor Wilde approaches fashion as an artistic undertaking. His label, Bohemian Society, pursues a combination of avant-garde mixed-media design and hand-wrought craft, with elements of painting, text, and assemblage that go way beyond overused terms like "wearable art" to achieve a gallery-worthy level of innovation, edginess, and risk. Wilde sees fashion as the ultimate forum for a literally -- and metaphorically -- collaborative, interactive art form, wherein the viewer (the wearer) completes the story/narrative/final form/meaning of a work of art/piece of apparel -- finishing it at last by the power of their kinetic and emotional presence and participation.

It has been said that fashion is art; and sometimes art is fashion. But usually what we mean is that the fashion in question is so unusual, well-crafted, conceptually expansive, and creatively conceived that's it's like art. Armani and McQueen have had museum retrospectives. Fashion photographers like David LaChapelle and Richard Avedon have achieved fine-art status with their commercial images. But even then, it's still a simile with something to prove; it's rare that "art" is evoked as in "take it off your body, frame it on the wall." I think what they mean is that they are delighted and surprised to encounter clothing that makes people feel the way art is supposed to make people feel -- smart and emotional, kindred to something outside themselves; reflective of something hidden and essential about the world; beautiful and dark with evidence of how it was made inherent in the finished object; enduring, but of its time. That's how I see the clothes being made in downtown L.A. by Victor Wilde's Bohemian Society -- but with all that art-world love, come certain practical-world problems.