His influence was felt around the world, and nowhere more than in his native Brazil, where his buildings represent the perfect marriage between architecture and the nature and culture of the country and its people. Oscar’s National Congress building has become a totem that represents democratic Brazil. In a strikingly different manner, teclado mecanico tfue his sinuous and graceful Edifício Copan, a great curving residential block in the centre of São Paulo, has inspired a generation of artists, writers and film-makers.
This period has taught me to distil things down to the fundamentals. What do I actually need? This needn’t mean stripping back to utilitarian basics and normcore functionality. In a wider sense, how do we allow idiosyncrasy in fashion to prevail again? Or innovation in the realms of sustainability and technology? Should success be measured by mere scale and growth in profit in businesses? Tied to that is another question I’ve been asking myself: can we collectively step back from fast-fashion and the rapacious production cycles, by buying less and better?
“We handle 45,000 calls a year, and it just kept climbing and climbing,” he said. The fire department had to accelerate maintenance schedules on vehicles, mobilize off-duty paramedics and cope with staff burnout.
I’m hopeful that intuitive creativity will prevail. We’re on the precipice of a seismic time that could spell a permanent change in our industry. In the 1920s, waists dropped, hemlines rose and hair was shorn in a post-war reaction. In the 60s, hemlines rose further, ready-to-wear was born as a result of the Youthquake. In 2020, we have a generation of designers, stylists, photographers and creatives coming to the fore with a post-globalised, post-pandemic mentality. Values and aesthetics need to go hand in hand. Lateral thinking is required for when it comes to how the industry produces, showcase collections, and sell their vision to a public, whose appetite for fashion will have changed for ever. What we wear and how we buy, should – hopefully will – change to reflect a world that needs clothes to do more.
But what would I eat if I couldn’t trap? “Bugs,” says Durbin happily. “Worms.” There are 40 calories in a worm, apparently; this is the equivalent of two Maltesers. “Or snails,” he adds. “But quarantine the snail for three days before you eat it. It may have eaten poisonous plants, and you will have to wait until it expels them.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Italian style: in Milan last year. Photograph: Jacopo M Raule/Getty Images for GucciThe Covid case numbers are on the rise again and this month, which normally looms with a hefty weight of shows, is already a September like no other. New York and London fashion weeks are now mainly “phygital”, a combination of shows with physical and digital elements. Even in physical form, we will see collections through smaller shows and private appointments. And with cases on the rise again in Italy and France, there are question marks over how the big houses will stage their shows. It’s an uneasy pull between the desire of the financial powers that be in brands to return to the “old normal” and a pushback from the creatives and designers, who now want to do things differently. Fewer collections. Less product. Better ideas that meet the needs of a changed world.
Mourners follow the coffin containing Niemeyer’s body as it is carried down the ramp of Brasília’s Palácio do Planalto on Thursday. Photograph: Eraldo Peres/APAs a student in the early 1960s, I looked to Niemeyer’s work for stimulation, poring over the drawings of each new project. Fifty years later his designs still have the power to startle us. His Contemporary Art Museum at Niterói is exemplary in this regard. Standing on its rocky promontory like some exotic plant form, it shatters convention by juxtaposing art with a panoramic view of Rio harbour. It is as if, in his mind, Niemeyer had dashed the conventional gallery box on the rocks below and challenged us to view art and nature as equals. I have walked the museum’s ramps. They are almost like a dance in space, inviting you to see the building from many different viewpoints before you actually enter. I found it absolutely magical.
A fire truck escorting the coffin containing Niemeyer’s body passes his National Museum of the Republic in Brasília on Thursday. Photograph: Cadu Gomes/APWhile modern and progressive in tone, Niemeyer’s architecture absorbed lessons from the past and from nature. His biomorphic forms were inspired in part by Picasso and Arp, but also by the baroque inheritance in Brazil. He developed a style that abstracted the shapes of the meandering rivers and contours of the tropical landscape, and those of the female figure. His architecture combined sensual curves, rich materials and movement through layers of space. His buildings resemble filters through which air may pass while heat and glare are excluded by screens.
Fashion is in an existential quandary. It sells an aspirational lifestyle to go with the life we imagine living under optimal circumstances. How do you justify spending a small fortune on a dress when the prospect of Christmas parties or festivities are dwindling? That super-extra outfit – with neon! Sequins! And feathers! – for festivals that may not happen. The floaty dress for a holiday that may be placed into a quarantine-upon-return risk jeopardy. On the bleaker end, what about the smart shirt you buy in the hope of landing the dream job that may no longer be out there? This “quarantine on consumption”, as trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort has termed it, has given us the chance to reassess our priorities and what we buy.