A Day at London Fashion Week 2018

 

London Fashion Week was the talk of the city February 16-20. Local and international fashion icons were traveling the three-mile radius of LFW visiting shows, presentations, special events, and parties over the course of these well awaited 5 days. The home base of this biannual event, ‘the Store Studios,’ was just a quick walk down the Strand from the Courtauld, and I was fortunate enough to attend thanks to the generosity of my extended family who lives in London.

A long and winding red carpet escorted you immediately through the ‘designer showroom,’ a space comprised of small boutiques of over 150 British and International designers. Rich with a diverse collection of garments and accessories, the showroom provided the space for selected designers to showcase their work and products. I spoke with a number of designers about their collections and inspirations, as the majority of them were posted-up each day in their respective spaces chatting with LFW visitors.

Designer showrooms

The lounge on the second floor overlooking the Thames was lush with foliage and flowers. The marble tables and the large cozy couches provided a restful and refreshing space to work, recharge, and re-caffeinate in between events.

BFC Lounge x The Store

Downstairs, the ‘BFC Show Space’ was home of presentations and shows throughout the weekend. The Autumn/Winter 2018 presentation by Paula Knorr was dramatic through her use of bold red and black colors, and the addition of metallic and sequined fabrics. The space fluctuated between pink and white light, and between music and live spoken word, creating an all encompassing sense of drama and illusion—enhanced even further by the sequined carpet/faux-runway that ran down the middle of the space. The garments of Knorr’s collection were extremely tactile and presented a number of various juxtapositions, playing with transparent and opaque fabrics, fitted and loose silhouettes, and ruffled, fringed, and sequined textures. The models all had dramatic makeup and hairstyles, and were accessorized with metallic ear cuffs.

Paula Knorr Presentation

In addition to ‘the Store Studios,’ there were designer presentations and shows at numerous venues around London throughout the week. Unfortunately, this time around, I missed the Queen’s guest appearance…

By Arielle Murphy

Dressing for the Metropolis – Simmel in the City

How does your environment affect the way you dress? Of course, there’s the weather to be taken into consideration.  But what about the type of place that you live? For example, are we shaped – literally and figuratively – by urban dwelling?  Does the city impact not just the type of clothes we choose, but also how we feel when we wear them? Living amongst huge numbers of people, coping with the speed of street-life, the fleeting encounters with our fellow citizens … surely this impacts our psychology, our way of being, and therefore our way of dressing?

These are not new questions, German sociologist Georg Simmel published an essay in 1903 and updated in 1950 entitled, ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life,’ which tackled just such concerns.  At the core he argues, is the constant tension between individuality, and being part of society.  What is at stake is the ways we adapt (or don’t) to these twin desires/pressures.  Of course, Simmel was writing at the start of the 20th century, but many of his ideas remain relevant, and suggest the subconscious issues brought to bear on our daily outfit choices.

Or as Simmel puts it in relation to the ‘psychology of metropolitan individuality’ – which is founded upon: ‘the intensification of emotional life due to the swift and continuous shift of external and internal stimuli.’ Even crossing the road means experiencing multiple sights, sounds, and encounters with people and machines.

And this must be considered in relation to our brief interactions with other humans in much of daily city life, as well as the money economy that distances consumer from producer.  This means that the counter impulses to be hyper-individual and to assert your sense of self, versus the desire for a protective shield of conformity and anonymity are likely to influence how we dress.  It makes you think again about the ubiquitous male suit – is it in part saving city workers from the ‘violent stimuli’ Simmel identifies as part of urban life? Does it reinforce his argument that city dwellers must react rationally, rather than emotionally – creating a protective sartorial barrier between themselves and the city?

What is produced, he says, is a blasé attitude that tempers the dissonance that surrounds us.  Simmel sees this as a rich site for mental development, despite its problems.  And clearly, the Metropolis is equally rich for the development of multiple fashions as well.  Just as the suit-clad banker assimilates, so designers and wearers can experiment and create in response to the city’s speed and excess of stimulation.

By Rebecca Arnold

You can read Simmel’s essay in full here

 

 

5 minutes with… Lucy Bishop from Kerry Taylor Auctions on their 19 February auction

Lucy Bishop has been part of the Kerry Taylor Auction’s team since 2010 and is also a London College of Fashion graduate with a Masters degree in History and Culture of Fashion. Lucy is responsible for the beautiful photographs on Kerry Taylor Auction’s website and in their catalogues and masterminds their social media. She assists with the sales generally, helps Kerry prepare condition reports, sets up the pre-sale exhibitions, oversees interns and is the friendly face that welcomes visitors on sale days.

Q: Your Antique and Vintage Fashion and Textiles auction is about to take place on the 19th of February. What sort of period does this auction cover? What will it include?

A: This is one of our general vintage fashion, antique textiles, and costume auctions, and we have about four of them a year. In terms of volume, it is quite large, so it will probably be around 400 or more lots, many of them group lots. It’s a real mixture, and includes everything from Victorian and Edwardian fashion, to every single decade from the twentieth century right up to more modern pieces. For example, it will include the second section of the Jean Louis Scherrer archive, but it will also include antique textiles, such as lace from the seventeenth century. I think the earliest item we have in the auction are a pair of children’s leather shoes that are from the early seventeenth century.

A pair of brown leather children shoes, probably form the early 17th century.
(Estimate £150-250)

Q: Are there any special stories behind any of the items?

A: The children’s leather shoes — they were previously bought at an auction several years ago. But when they were initially put in that auction, they had been found because they’d fallen out of the chimney of a sixteenth century house, because apparently people used to put a worn pair of shoes up the chimney in their house to ward off evil spirits. Another favourite from the auction is the pink crepe ensemble with sequin embellished bows from 1947, worn by Joan Mary Hance for her wedding the same year at Sheffield Cathedral. She purchased the utility label dress, along with brown suede gloves and a brown velvet hat, all with clothing coupons. The ensemble came to us with a photocopy of the bride and groom on their wedding day, who stayed married for 45 years.

 

Pink crepe ensemble with sequin embellished bows from 1947, worn by Joan Mary Hance for her wedding the same year at Sheffield Cathedral.
(Estimate £100-150)

Joan Mary Hance and her groom on their 1947 wedding day at Sheffield Cathedral.

Q: What process do you go through to identify the provenance of the items?

A: That varies, really. We often have people coming to us with an item saying it was worn by someone famous because there was a note attached which said so. As an auction house we cannot just take that as fact, so we thoroughly research everything. We sold a Princess Diana dress last year, and the woman who donated it said she had bought it from a charity shop. We thought that no way it was authentic. But through the research, which involved us contacting the charity shop and the original designer of the dress, we were able to prove it was made for Diana. It’s just fact checking and often items have been bought previously at other auctions, so you can also look back in their records to find out.

By Grace Lee with special thanks to Lucy Bishop

Make sure to browse the auction catalogue online at www.kerrytaylorauctions.com to spot some more amazing pieces! The auction will take place at Kerry Taylor Auctions, 249-253 Long Lane, Bermondsey, London on the 19th of February.

Travelling on the Ocean Liner in the 1920s

During my Christmas break at home in the Netherlands, I visited the TextielMuseum, located in a former textile factory in the city of Tilburg, in order to view their recently opened exhibition, JAZZ AGE | Fashion & Photographs. Organised by the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, this exhibition aims to show the variety of dress available to the modern woman and the completely new way of dressing that symbolised her new-found freedom and active lifestyle in the period after the First World War. The exhibition showcases more than 150 haute couture and ready-to-wear garments dating from 1919 to 1929 in different settings such as ‘In the Boudoir,’ ‘Tennis Match,’ and ‘Chinatown After Dark.’ As might be expected from a dress and textiles enthusiast, I was swooning in front of the quintessential fringed and beaded drop-waist flapper dresses and sumptuously embroidered velvet evening capes one would have worn for a night out.

The current exhibition at the TextielMuseum seems to have a slightly different design than the exhibition that was staged in London (see the excellent review written last year by former MA student Sophie Assouad). Instead of writing another review, I have chosen to focus on a specific display in this exhibition that sparked my interest because it gave me a fresh perspective on this particular period in fashion history.

Conjuring the scene of a steamboat’s deck, ‘On the Ocean Liner’ takes the visitor beyond the notion of the 1920s as a decade of glamourous nightlife and the familiar flapper dress. It does so by showcasing daytime and leisurewear suitable for the journey aboard an ocean liner on its way to a sunny destination.

Lounging in a rotan chair to the left is a mannequin wearing a simple, cream-coloured tunic dress with a jacket in the same colour, both dating from c. 1924–25. While the dress has been made from silk, the jacket’s material, interestingly, is ‘rayon’, a man-made fibre made from chemically treated cellulose. Generally known as ‘artificial silk,’ this material was first developed in the late nineteenth century but only became widely available from the 1920s onwards. The fibre was officially renamed rayon in 1924 through an industry-sponsored contest with the aim to counter the frequent associations with artificiality or inferiority to natural silk. Rayon grew in popularity as it provided women from all backgrounds the ability to wear certain garments that were previously reserved only for those who could afford to buy silk.

My favourite ensemble in this arrangement is a simple, but chic, striped dress with pockets and pleats made from silk that dates from c. 1922–23. This dress combines comfort and freedom of movement with elegance and is reminiscent of the silhouette and style of clothing designed by Coco Chanel.

Detail of the display showing my favourite dress to the left. To the right, a cotton swimsuit in herringbone pattern. Photo: Nelleke Honcoop

Moving to the right, the eye meets a group of mannequins wearing boldly-coloured, Art Deco-patterned beach pyjamas and loose, kimono-inspired dresses worn over cotton swimsuits. This group hints at a day spent swimming – or perhaps lounging and sunbathing at the pool, cultivating the tanned skin that was promoted by Chanel and became popular during this decade.

Top and trousers, c.1925, cotton. A pyjama inspired two-piece reflecting the contemporary vogue for wearing pyjamas as lounge wear in, as well as outside, the confines of the boudoir. © Photo Tessa Hallman. Collection Cleo and Mark Butterfield

 ‘On the Ocean Liner’ addresses how swimming became popular among women in the second half of the decade when American competition swimmer Gertrude Ederle (1905 –2003) became the first woman to swim across the Channel in 1926. A cotton swimsuit in a herringbone pattern with a subtly integrated skirt is used to illustrate the active lifestyle and freedom of movement of modern women during the 1920s. I particularly enjoyed the attention given to materials and construction details, such as the contrasting cuffs of a cotton swimsuit that were not only a chic addition, but also helped to keep it in shape when immersed in water.

Finally, by focusing on 1920s women’s fashion from the angle of sports, leisure, and travel, ‘On the Ocean Liner’ felt like an inspiring warm up to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s upcoming exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed & Style, which will explore the golden age of ocean travel around the world.

By Nelleke Honcoop

JAZZ AGE | Fashion & Photographs is on display at the TextielMuseum, Tilburg, The Netherlands, until 27 May 2018. See: http://www.textielmuseum.nl/en/

Ocean Liners: Speed & Style will be on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 3 February – 10 June 2018. See: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/ocean-liners-speed-style

 

The Politics of a “Wardrobe Malfunction”

 

I have a dream this Super Bowl season. Now, to be quite honest, I do not follow American football at all, but I do follow the halftime performances. This year, Justin Timberlake performed at the Super Bowl LII halftime show over a decade after his infamous performance with Janet Jackson. While I am a big fan of the “Prince of Pop” and can honestly say that Justified was the catalyst for my sexual awakening, the way in which Janet Jackson (and the female body for that matter) was chastised after Nipplegate is not only telling of America’s ongoing “fear” of the of the female body entering the public sphere, specifically the black female body, but also the legitimization of rape culture’s place in the public sphere.  Nipplegate became a discursive event in that it affirmed the existence of rape culture within the public sphere. After the alleged “wardrobe malfunction”, topics regarding broadcasting censorship and free speech came into question. The Federal Communications Commission fined CBS over half a million dollars for the incident to set a precedent for this type of overexposure.

The performance wardrobe of both Jackson and Timberlake aided in the cementing of their public image as popstars, but in different ways. At the time of the performance, the public image of Janet Jackson was arguably branded as a sexualized, mature, political, divorcée. Wayne Scot Lukas, Janet Jackson’s stylist for the show, said in an interview with Channel Guide Magazine that, “For the Super Bowl we had to really have a special, big outfit to create some kind of look that was going to be really magical. I told you the war had started, so we were thinking it had to be semi-military, but it had to still be a little bit sexy and fun.”[1] The semi-military inspired look was appropriate for the show because the public was still coming to terms with the United States’ decision to invade Iraq. Instead of the militarization of armed bodies, Janet’s performance wanted to inspire the militarization of the youth voice. The use of military outfits in music performances was popularized by Jackson’s brother, Michael, and has become a symbol of resistance towards hegemonic forms of power when used by minorities. Justin Timberlake was only 23 at the time of the performance, he had recently released his first solo album Justified (2003) after his split from the boy-band, NSYNC. His public image rested on his youth, his looks, and also his new bachelor status after Britney Spears cheated on him, ending their three-year relationship together. Timberlake, was branded as the heartbroken and tortured artist trying to find his way after he was scorned by love. Justin’s outfit lacks a political motivation. He is dressed casually in baggy jeans paired with an oversized shirt and jacket—a precursor to the f*c@boy image and style.

Timberlake joins Jackson on the stage to perform his single Rock Your Body. In their performance, Janet plays the love interest. Both playfully dance with each across the stage. Timberlake chases Jackson as she coquettishly plays “hard to get”. At the end of the performance, Timberlake finally catches Jackson in a moment of embrace and rips the bust of her bustier revealing Jackson’s breast. The camera stills, but only for a moment to catch both Timberlake and Jackson in a state of shock and then the stadium lights immediate fade to black. Planned or not, the action of ripping one’s clothes is an act of aggression. The immediate fade to black and blame for the incident on Jackson and her team perpetuates rape culture in the way that it normalized Jackson’s body as an explicit sexual object meant to be censored, while also promoting victim blaming (establishing a whodunit? rhetoric) and slut shaming vis-à-vis her outfit and flashy nipple clamp. Timberlake was portrayed as the naïve and innocent one, who claimed to not know anything while also refusing to acknowledge any possible chance of responsibility.

My dream this Super Bowl halftime show is a small one. I wish for Janet Jackson to storm the stage on live TV during Justin’s performance in an all-black gritty, military-inspired wardrobe (which is still appropriate today), with big hair, attitude, and a full dance troupe so that people remember her halftime performance as what it should have been remembered 13 years ago–iconic.

[1] Acken, Lori. “Nat Geo’s The 2000s: A New Reality – Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Stylist Wayne Scot Lukas Tells Us What Really Down.” Channel Guide Magazine, 12 July 2015, www.channelguidemag.com/tv-news/2015/07/09/nat-geos-the-2000s-a-new-reality-janet-jacksons-super-bowl-stylist-wayne-scot-lukas-tells-us-what-really-down/.

By Destinee Forbes

Addressing Images Talk Friday, February 9th

Every term we have a meeting of the Addressing Images Discussion Group.  Actually, that makes it sound far too official and formal, what really happens is that anyone who feels like spending their lunch hour talking about fashion can drop in and join my students and me. This session opens up discussion of dress’ significance within imagery – whether paintings, prints, photographs, advertisements, film stills or drawings. It brings together dress and art historians, as well as those interested in exploring issues and meanings within representation.

Guided by PhD student Leah Gouget-Levy, a single image will be shown, giving participants the opportunity to re-examine familiar, and confront new representations of fashion and dress. We will rethink images through the lens of dress history, and consider what is shown from the perspective of participants’ own research. The aim is to provide a forum to debate, share reactions to images, and to consider ideas about fashion, dress and representation in an informal environment. This reflects our desire to share and build upon the innovative work being undertaken in this field at the Institute with the wider community, and beyond.

Taking place this Friday over the lunch hour, these sessions are open to all.

Friday 9 February 2018

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Research Forum Seminar Room, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

It’s Complicated: Our Relationship Status with Denim

 

Denim is a staple in many of our wardrobes. We wear it weekly, or even daily, not really acknowledging our involved and complicated relationship with this sturdy and versatile fabric. Our relationship with denim is like dating: at first difficult and tumultuous, developing into a beautiful and loving coexistence—only to eventually end in a split (sometimes even literally).

I will be examining our relationship with shopping for denim jeans, inspired partially by Kitty Hauser’s “Fingerprint of the Second Skin” (2005).

Shopping for denim jeans is difficult to say the least, in fact, I think it is something even people who love to shop find difficult. The process is exhausting. We enter a store, decide on styles and cuts that look appealing and flattering, grab a few different sizes and washes, and head to the fitting room—only to find out that in fact your usual size does not fit, and all of the styles are too long/short, frumpy, or unflattering. Not to mention at this point, you are drenched in sweat—getting in and out of denim is physically more demanding than one would think.

After these trials and tribulations, finding a pair of denim jeans you love is blissful. This process of selecting denim is deeply personal, laborious, and absolutely an investment of time and energy, much like the process of dating.

Once finding a pair, you are now set on a much longer and stable relationship with not just the pair of jeans, but also a company, style, size, and wash. There is a beauty to ordering jeans online that you know will fit and that you will like, without going through the tumultuous shopping process.

We then love and enjoy this relationship with our denim jeans. The versatile denim pants are worn time after time, accompanying the wearer through multiple seasons and phases of personal style.

Yet, like with any garment, our denim jeans give out. They rip at the seams or are simply too faded or worn out to wear any longer. You must then bid farewell to your beloved denim, and start the process over again.

Our relationship with denim is so intimate and delicate, yet the fabric is sturdy and strong. Denim’s longevity allows us to build a deeply personal relationship with these garments. The shopping is difficult, exhausting, and dreadful—but eventually, you find a pair you love and adore until it is time to say goodbye—a lasting relationship between denim and its wearer.

 

By Arielle Murphy

 

Star Wars & Fashion: A look into the galactic love affair

 

With Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaching over $1 billion at the box office and earning the title of the highest grossing movie of 2017, Star Wars is once again at the forefront of the cultural moment and subsequently continuing the franchises’ love affair with fashion.

From the film’s debut in the 1970s, Star Wars has been a source of inspiration for fashion, even appearing in Vogue in a 1977 spread featuring Jerry Hall and Darth Vader. The franchise’s equally iconic characters and costumes have sparked Star Wars’s influence on high fashion. Rodarte closed its Fall 2014 show with gowns featuring Star Wars characters Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Yoda. Preen Fall 2014 channeled the dark side and featured Darth Vader’s mask on several pieces. Vetements created a spoof on a Star Wars movie poster (its film is titled Star Girls) as a print on a maxi skirt in its Spring 2016 collection. Just recently, in time for the release of The Last Jedi, Rag & Bone partnered with Star Wars to produce a limited-edition collection inspired by the films.

Beyond the aesthetic coolness of these high fashion designs, why do fashion designers look to Star Wars for inspiration and why do we race to wear our favorite Jedi or Sith Lord on our bodies? Is this pure fashion as escapism? Or perhaps the allure is Star War’s ability to paradoxically position itself both in a galaxy far, far away and at the center of the current culture. Fashions with Star War’s iconography or aesthetic inspiration can transport the wearer to an outside realm where a nobody can be the hero of the universe. But these styles also allow the wearer to embody a culturally relevant phenomenon.

From a marketing standpoint, Star Wars is sellable to multiple age groups and can piggyback off of the marketing for the film itself. However, I argue that the urge to clothe ourselves in the symbols and characters of Star Wars reveals a collective desire for escapism, association with a far-off time and place, and at the same time, the need to assert our own cultural relevance. Whether fashion imitates the austere neutral colors of the Jedi Order or the harsh blacks and shiny exteriors of the dark side, the pull to wear the Force is strong.

By Abby Fogle

Theda Bara: Hollywood’s Original Vamp and Femme-Fatale

We often associate film stars with their onscreen personas, which are inextricably linked to the costumes they wear while portraying their most iconic characters. Audrey Hepburn will forever be linked to Hubert de Givenchy’s black evening gown in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, just as Judy Garland’s blue gingham pinafore in The Wizard of Oz became a part of her lasting image. Identification between star and character can lead to typecasting and an audience expectation that a star will appear as a certain type of character. For example, Joan Crawford was the rags-to-riches girl. Crawford’s characters were often working-class girls who, through luck and hard work, were able to climb to the social ladder to their happy ending. One of Hollywood’s earliest manipulations of star into character, was Theda Bara.

 

Theda Bara, often cited as Hollywood’s first sex symbol, was one of the silent-film era’s most famous stars, second only to Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. Her career last from only 1914-1919, perhaps the reason why her name is not as well-remembered today as some of her contemporaries. After her first film A Fool There was (1914) her image as the vampire, in this case a woman who destroys men using her sexuality, was cemented. Fox Studios was so committed to this image that they fabricated a backstory for Theda, in which she was an Arabian princess raised in Egypt, trained in Paris, saved by director Frank Powell from the horrors of war in Europe, and brought to America. This outrageous story concocted to support her onscreen image linked Bara to her characters in the eyes of the audience.

Bara’s most famous film, Cleopatra (1917), created a Queen of Nile that mixed popular styles of the day, Egyptian motifs, and burlesque costumes to display a Cleopatra who would be both irresistible to the public, and maintain Bara’s public persona. Her costumes reflected her mysterious image. Her costumes were extremely revealing, and accentuated her voluptuous curves. Theda Bara biographer notes that “The Cleopatra costume created quite a stir because it cost $1,000 a yard and Theda seemed to be wearing only ten cents’ worth…the Plain Dealer declared that ‘Of all the Vampires of Screen There’s None So Bare as Theda’”. While Bara strove for historical accuracy in her portrayal of Cleopatra, the revealing costumes did more to enhance her existing image than transport the viewer back to ancient Egypt. Fox carefully controlled this sexy, mysterious persona, even going so far as to contractually insure that she did not appear in public without a veil. While studios would regularly control a star’s story and persona in the Golden Age of the Hollywood Studio System, Bara presents one of the earliest examples of this deception. Through her costumes and characters Bara projected the image of the Vamp and the femme-fatale, and helped to define their look in Hollywood.

By Olivia

Sources:

Landis, Deborah Nadoolman, Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design, (New York: Collins, 2007)

Landis, Deborah Nadoolman, Hollywood Costume, (London: Victoria and Albert, 2012)

 

 

Our Silhouettes and Our Shadows

I walk over Waterloo Bridge most days, and most days I am carrying a heavy bag full of the things I need for my day: books, planner, laptop, wallet, bottle of water, etc.

One time while walking I caught sight of my shadow. It was a softened-outline and vague: I was swaddled in a long winter coat that ties with a belt at the waist (and reveals the waist that signs ‘this is a woman’s silhouette’ rather than ‘this is a murky walking blob’). My body’s shadow was tilted. I had curved my back to the left side in order to rebalance myself with the weight of the bag I carried on my right shoulder. The weight of the bag pulled this shoulder downward and it’s bulge protruded out of the side of my body… a massive lump… a drooping rotund side stomach… my mutation of human form from what I had adorned and weighed down my body with.

I’m thinking about how lifestyle, environment, need alters the silhouette.

My bag (it’s weight, size, the way I was carrying it) and coat (it’s length, thickness, style, the way I chose to wear it) altered the form and movements of my body, my posture, my walk, my silhouette.

I chose this bag for it’s functionality and autonomy. The same dark hues as my clothes, it looks like it could be a part of my coat like a bulging pocket, or a growth my coated body has produced for survival (carrying the things I need to navigate my way through that day). The bag is made of a light canvas material, so that it has little of its own weight, instead it is more the contents of the bag that make up its weight and bulky form.

In 1994, Kosuke Tsmura launched Final Home with a transparent nylon coat that consisted of 40 pockets to be filled with what one needs to survive. This version of a survivalist way of thinking about dress, and how the filled pockets of the coat could simultaneously function as a form of insulation for the wearer reflects Tsumara’s concern with what a designer can do for people in desperate situations. Each individual wearer of this coat has their own idiosyncratic silhouette and form due to their needs, for depending on what they fill the coat with and in which pockets a different outline of the body would be created.

In 1997 Rei Kawakubo created a collection for Comme des Garçons called ‘Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body’, which is more often referred to as the ‘lumps and bumps’ collection. The collection used padding to alter the silhouette of the models bodies. Stuffed protuberances seemed like swellings of the body that exaggerated the shape of hunched backs, warped monobosoms or sloping shoulders and grew from the models bodies through the clothing design. This is what I was reminded of when I noticed my lumpy shadow on Waterloo Bridge.

MoMA’s current exhibition ‘Items: Is Fashion Modern?’ had a display of bulging mannequins in a row that were either of bulging bodies in which the clothes adhere to such growths (for instance the pleated Modular Dress 2.0 designed by Wei Hung Chen in which the pleats can adjust and loosen alongside the growth of a pregnancy bump, or open completely so that the wearer can breastfeed) or accessories such as bum bags and baby carriers that add the protrusion to the body’s form for purposes of functionality.

The Bernard Rudofsky’s 1944 sculpture series of what a woman’s body would be like if the clothing she wore actually fitted her body was also exhibited in ‘Items: Is Fashion Modern?’. These comic sculptures (we cannot ignore the flapper figure’s lack of arms and drooping bottom or how the bustle of the Victorian woman reveals the body of a centauress) display the changing silhouette of woman through her dress, and how fashion alters the way one might regard the human body.

Here are some of the visual notes I made while writing this article that were inspired by Rudofsky’s sculptures, the line-up of bulgy bodies at MoMA and my deformed shadow on Waterloo Bridge…

 

 

By Evie Ward