The state of “perfect happiness, where one is oblivious to everything else”
Investigating the concept of bliss, upcoming Amsterdam-based designer Baby Reni’s latest collection is an “exploration of euphoria”, the good – the bad – and the sublime. Working under the pseudonym, Baby Reni, Irene Ha has been catching our eye since we first saw her graduation show two years ago at Gerrit Rietveld. Today, she is back and here to explain through the power of design the concept of bliss, one she categorises within the bounds of hypersensitivity and fullness (as opposed to obliviousness and naivety). This being her official debut showing, the stakes were high, however, with exhibitionism in her veins — and a nack for intersecting the spheres of fashion, art, culture and music — the presentation became a display of voyeurism in all its forms. Exploring loungewear incentivised by “inner-city posturing”, and “wearable memories”, Baby Reni certainly has sparked a creative fire. Under the backdrop of Diez Gallery, and alongside the Nintendo sounds of Giacomo Speyart and Otto de Jong on the cello and Timo van Sark’s soundscapes, Reni established herself as ‘the-one-to-watch’ on Amsterdam’s forever-rising fashion scene.
This collection is a looking glass into Baby Reni’s world. One which subverts away from the traditional and towards a collaborative mindset. Portraying “exhibitionist domesticity”, each piece speaks to the concept of loungewear; with city-living as the foundation. From lavish pyjama sets, acetone printed hoodies, to an Áo dài — a traditional Vietnamese tunic worn on special occasions — each piece is a statement-maker within its own exploration. In this way, the pyjama sets become almost ceremonial wear by featuring motivational texts, the acetone-printed hoodies display tangible wearable memories, and the Áo dài are re-constructed out of loud synthetic fabric eluding to rave-attire-referencing.
Throughout the showcase, humour and irony are used as tools. Taking serious topics, such as design ownership and liability, spinning them into a tongue-in-cheek commentary. One particular moment exemplifying this is through the scarfs featured within the collection, speaking on their conception, “authenticity is asserted thought a pre-emptive self-bootleg: unable to share a scarf that was commissioned exclusively by and for Gementee Amsterdam with her usual circle, Reni pirates her own design until it gains a new legibility” fellow artist, Masha Ryabova writes. Alongside this is the glamorisation of humiliation, this time, in the form of a bubble nose ring reminiscent of a snot bubble that never looked so chic.
Binding together all of the above elements weaves a narrative that only Baby Reni could. It is true to her, her vision and aesthetic, building a story on her continuing foundation, one she does not yet wish to finish conceptually nor physically as none of her garments is closed. This is the ongoing tale of bliss, one that can not be certain but is always possible.