FASHIONING OBJECTS - BLESS N°__
Since the studio's inception, Bless has been an ever evolving contradiction, placing itself firmly in the in-between: in between fashion and product design, in between fine art and commerce, in between Paris and Berlin, in between the practical and ephemeral.
It’s a duality that can be traced through all their projects, collections and ideas down to the very core of the label: Bless is at heart, the result of a friendship between its two founders, Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag. Both had studied fashion – in Vienna and Hannover, respectively – live and work in different cities – Paris and Berlin, respectively – and met each other by chance. They shared similar views on work and the world, soon decided to share their ideas, and so - Bless was born.
Bless’s trajectory resembles that of a zigzag line. Constantly oscillating between fashion collections, design products and exhibitions, their output is vast and vastly different, often more than a little bewildering and at times even amusing – as well as continuously and refreshingly unconventional. Seen from afar, many years into their practice and output-works, as a whole, their body of work is surprisingly coherent.
To select some random examples from an infinite stream of ideas: pearls and braids to embellish your household cables and extensions (N°26 Cable Jewellery), hand-knitted leather shoes (N°16 Shoe Escorts), chairs with integrated vacuum cleaners (N°17 Design Relativators), a workout computer that quite literally turns your computer into a personal exercise machine (N°40 Whatwasitagain), a ‘workbed’ table whose surface can be flipped over, transforming it into a bed (N°33 Artistcare), a series of oversized hammocks customized with fur or piles of cushions (N°28 Climate Confusion Assistance), or, one of my personal favourites, is N°22 Perpetual Home Motion Machines (pictured.)
Hung like mobiles, these large-scale pieces—made from wooden supports that incorporate shelves, tables, and cupboards—also function as room dividers. A moving fragment of a person's wardrobe and furniture which allows to reflect and transmit privacy.
Some parts are custom-made, while others consist of found objects retrofitted to the design. These pieces illustrate the diversity of Bless’s output and the firm’s open-minded approach. Bless perceives fashion as an exhaustive platform for creative expression and ultimately a forum for creating qualitatively different objects that transcend previous versions.
What might, to some, first appear deliriously confusing and sometimes downright absurd is, in fact, connected by a consistent train of thought: a permanent questioning and re-thinking of our world, an almost childish imagination, wondering why things are what they are and couldn’t they be otherwise or even better? Underneath each of Bless’s 63 projects to date lies a persistent echo of what-ifs and why-nots and wouldn’t-it-be-great-ifs. It is this ever-expansive state of enquiry that makes Bless such an exciting conceptual and commercial practice, still.
All in all, Bless is more than just a fashion label or a design studio or even an artists’ initiative, more than a set of clothes or products. It is a train of thought and ideas applied to the everyday, and quite beautifully so. It is a practice of light-heartedly embracing friction and renegotiating certitudes.
— written by Lauren Trend.