I remember the high-waisted jeans that Scarlett Johansson wore in an Imitation of Christ fashion show perhaps a year ago; I am also familiar with the infamous garment that proclaimed "Bring me the head of Tom Ford." But I wasn't paying much attention when IOC made its debut, and I was equally preoccupied with other things when it made its exit. And having now done some research on the label, I still don't find the salvaged and reworked clothing that constitutes Imitation of Christ's collection particularly appealing, although I am intrigued by the intellectual component of the subversive enigma that was Tara Subkoff's fashion brainchild. (Of course, how much the label was genuinely contraculture/contratrend is open to speculation. Any capitallist byproduct has its marketing strategy; and every revolution derives from a larger fabric, no pun intended.)
In any event, it was only when Refinery21 announced the premiere of IOC's diffusion label, Imitation by Imitation of Christ, that my curiosity was piqued. Aesthetically, the line resembles and yet is quite different from its extinct predecessor. In fact, Subkoff surrendered the reins to another designer, Kasia Bilinski, and has since gone off to work on other projects.
Imitation does not use vintage materials, nor does it have quite the same degree of high-end pricing as its predecessor, although it is also trying very hard to become a niche label and is available at only a few select locations (I haven't been able to find it online anywhere). To me, the simplicity of the pieces resemble IOC's (and are alleged to be produced meticulously with much attention to detail) and garments are in muted tones and solid colors. Imitation's innovation lies, in my opinion, in the sheer fluidity (the organic-ness) of the clothing. When examining the spring collection, I noted the hanging strips of cloth adorning the tops, the looseness of the garments, the freedom implied in the design. But there is also the eerie sense of being watched, of being followed, both in this and the fall-winter collection. The models are mostly alone in open spaces, unaware of the camera's presence, yet, they are dogged by the lens of the camera. This sends a very enigmatic message.
It's difficult to pinpoint the purpose of Imitation. The films used to publicize the label are produced by a studio called Dissent Films, and the artwork and design are clearly engineered to cultivate an "outsider" vibe, yet the brand is clearly also "luxury" - no matter how you look at it, Imitation is exclusionary - not that that's necessarily a bad thing. I wonder how long Imitation will stay around, whether its mission and design aesthetic will change dramatically, and who the real client base are for this label.
Imitation by Imitation of Christ, as selling at select stores worldwide.