Rag chair – never has it been so up-to-the-minute

The Object of the Day. Homeless look or sustainability crusade? In a moral dilemma, best not to exaggerate its beautiful layering.

Droog Design, Rag Chair, 1991

God save us all from the outrage. Not only because the Rag chair has been in plain sight since 1991 and so we have wasted nearly three decades in which to cry out  against a pile of rags being mistaken for design when it is in fact a bundle of charity clothes. But, mostly, because – were it not enough to come up with the old ready-made excuse, later revived with Michelangelo Pistoletto's Venus of the Rags and ultimately by Andrea Anastasio’s glass vases, decorated by stuffing them with shopping bags – the driving concept behind Tejo Remy’s chair for Droog Design was recently revived in Balenciaga’s A/W show. That's right, in the place where everyone is looking for inspiration to stand out from the crowd, Demna Gvasalia sent layers and layers of jackets and coats made of denim, tartan, flannel and techno fabrics onto the runway.

I don't know whether we will all be dressing like tramps by next autumn but what I do know is that, even if Balenciaga was making a statement against homelessness, the stratifications created beautiful plays of colour. I also know that even though Remy was condemning the dominance of the “new”, there is nothing against substituting rags with brocades. Let's put it this way, to avoid any risk of smugness when the time comes to gather the fabrics for your Rag chair, or the jackets to layer à la Balenciaga, be sure they are carefully bundled together to produce the most depressing possible outcome.

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