“Now You See Me, Now You Don’t”: Action Dolls by Victor and Rolf

These Action Dolls made by Victor and Rolf are a wonderful statement about freeing impossible identities into the real world. The fashion runway is a safe road to release our fantasies from the human psyche, and these dolls toy with our imagination. Dolls reference the human. We humans are a diverse people which V & R reflect beautifully. Sometimes dolls reflect cultural stereotypes like Barbie, sometimes they function to heal as mediators of conflict in tribal societies and sometimes they symbolize specific traditions like the wooden Russian Matryoshka dolls  and much more.

To me these dolls heighten the perfection of youth, loss of innocence, the opening to adulthood and the insecurities that come from the dawn of growing up. Fabrics here act like blankets to cushion and hide human form, lest we reveal the awkward occupation of puberty and the daunting cultural expectations around coming of age. Their wide bold eyes gazing for more of the world, wrapped safe from the bumps and knocks of hard cold reality.

Action Dolls

Victor and Rolf have manipulated teen chic to haute wear with Japanese fabrics, quilted collage, re- bombing the war jacket and mascot-ing with punk Doc Marten’s. The mix of low-fi with high is brilliant.

Now there are two concerns I just thought of.

First, the cultural movement towards pervasive ‘youth’ gets me reeling. Can’t culture accept the beauty of all ages? Each age has courage and insecurity, so why does the selling point have to be on the tail of ‘youth’? Let’s not forget the elderly are perfectly innocent. They are innocent to the new ways of doing things, but unfortunately they have to try and keep up all the time, instead of being seen as full in their potential and generously wise.

Secondly, injecting the youth into adult fashion might bring about an irony we really don’t want to see more of and that is more plastic surgery. Plastic re-construction for the sake of preserving youthfulness is about the fear of death, work on that people.

See more Images of Victor and Rolf couture here:

http://www.viktor-rolf.com/haute-couture/action-dolls/


Costume Designer Mark Bridges: Still Image from The Artist

THE ARTIST- Costume Designer Mark Bridges

The Artist movie (The Weinstein Co.)

The Artist- a film still

A moment of love, anticipation, self-love, longing and peace. Mark Bridges articulates the dress of Peppy Miller here played by Bérénice Bejo to stand out from the background curtains and wall. He designed/chose the dress with stripes and  swirly motifs, of sequins in patterns which all separate her from the surroundings. Because the film was transferred into black and white, Mark Bridges had to be mindful of this phenomena so that depth and the dynamic use of space with figure is maintained visually and carries the story in an exciting way. Mark Bridges does this brilliantly.

Above is a black white collage of some ladies in contemporary 20’s fashion. I created it. The ladies are connected to the abstract trees. In this case I had to separate them away from their environment because the  patterning that is in their garments is also in the trees. Close to camouflage. This is the opposite to what Mark Bridges had to resolve. His characters had to stand out in the sets at all times.

To freshen your memory, watch the trailer of  THE ARTIST  by Director Michel Hazanavicius if you can. You gotta love the 20’s style.


Identity avant ou après -we stir it up

 

CASTEL DIAZ                         Castel Diaz

Patterns, simulated textures and odd juxtapositions are revealed here in quirky perspectives. Castle Diaz presents female beauty as a kind of half hollow statue where Rauschenberg meets Duchamp meets Vogue’s Erte with Art Deco flair. We certainly construct our identities with a relationship to our inherited past.

abstract fashion

abstract fashion

Whether the flora and fauna of the environment take over in ambiguous disguise

DAWN BLACK

DAWN BLACK

or if provocative hidden agendas trap our identity with pseudo disregard,

wouldn’t it be fun to just throw away all our knowing baggage and pretend we were something else, utterly?

What do you imagine this to be?

 


Conceptual Textiles: ‘FREE FLOATING ANXIETY’ where eco-systems collide

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 1-4

Free Floating Anxiety 1 thru 4 is one of a series of drawings soon to be silkscreened onto textiles for my upcoming robotic interactive installation. This continuous field is an amalgamation of various eco-systems colliding, overlapping and interrupting one another in open space. It reveals a shared world beneath the surface of life where biological, fungal, granular, mineral, and industrial shapes forge, float, bump and transform with one another.

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 1

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 1

I marvel at the complexities of human and non-human eco-systems where the organic and industrial/artificial meet.

Free Floating Anxiety 2

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 2

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 3

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 3

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 4

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 4

This is my imaginary world of these probing interactions. Miraculously there seems to be space for all.

Below are a few designs for some upcoming garment installations…I am inspired by eco-systems in nature specifically here -fungal life…

 

Fungal design 1

Fungal design 1

 

fungal design 2

fungal design 2

 

IMG_2310

garment construction

garment construction

fungal designs

fungal designs

 

More updates to come, always in process, baby steps make life happen…


VIKTOR & ROLF

VIKTOR AND ROLF

I don’t need to explain these incredible collections nor interpret them,  you might see glimpses of the Cubists, a few riddles, ironies and the nonsensical, regardless marvel in the human genius of our creative spirits….pretty darn kool.

 

 

and then turn this one up really loud, lay back and enjoy the purity of the entire collection, you might even weep it is amazing…it just gets better and better…

 

and notice how the artist is present in the first and last…what do you make of that?

IN this last fashion performance there is something about the ‘ordering’ of human and space in our daily life. The day is a contemplation as much as it is an interaction of forces, how we land and inhabit our human form and feeling in space, the memories a space contains whether they are of shared or isolated experiences. Space has lightness as much as gravity. I am engrossed less with the fashion here than I am with the construction of mood and invisible space.

Do you think about your relationship to space? How do you feel in open spaces vs tight spaces vs cluttered spaces vs highly ordered minimal spaces? Perhaps in heavy spaces we feel the lightness of being and in airy spaces we feel incredibly grounded…

Proximity to one another and isolation from one another takes on a whole other set of psychological implications and I am not sure DRESS has anything to do with that other than it can externalize inner pressures and expressions of the self in the variety of environments we move thru daily.

 

 

 

 


Film Costumes to never forget

Period costume of Queens

Period Costume ‘Elizabeth’- Cate Blanchett

Elizabeth

Cate Blanchett- gorgeous yellow

Fashion is often set by the costume designers in the film industry which influences a culture’s style.  Sometimes ‘Film’ hires fashion designers like Jean Paul Gautier. Here is a list of extraordinary styles that don’t fit current fashion but at the time they were made bear iconic status.

The following is worth the watch, do you agree with the pickings?

C’mon The Wizard of Oz? Really? Don’t think so people!

What’s your favorite of all time costume in film?

I might have to go with ‘to die for’ Brando’s sweaty tee…


Artist: Jordon Wolfson

JORDON WOLFSON

 This is mesmerizing, creepy, both male and female, looks at you and knows you are looking back. A little too real. Watch the whole thing, it is unforgettable.

 

Do you find it attractive in a dark kind of way? Do you have a voyeur in you? What secrets does it share with you?


BIRD’S EYE VIEW- birds in fashion

BIRD’S EYE VIEW

 Alexander McQueen Fall 2006 RTW, photos by Don Ashby/Style.com

Alexander McQueen Fall 2006 RTW, photos by Don Ashby/Style.com

Birds live all over the world, and have been around for millions of years. We go birding, pick up on their songs, they meet us somewhere on a hike, they pop by our house and hang out in our trees, they nest like us, live near or on the water, some hunt, dive, some feed on seeds, nectar, meat or fish. They soar, hide, lurk in the depths we most fear. Their razor sharp eyesight and sonar intelligence make them a remarkable part of the animal kingdom on this earth. And while we continue to learn about the diversity of species and their adaptive systems what impresses me most of all is that they know the skies like no other animal, or human. They are our link to a larger universe dark or bright.

alexander_mcqueen_spring_2011

Alexander McQueen

Let’s take flight for a sec…

In terms of adaptive systems, the owl’s feathering allows them to camouflage in their environments for catching prey. In image of the dress of owl feathers, the models braided hair and light skin tones would camouflage similarly against the bark of trees. ‘Dress’ acts an intermediary between human and animal.

So why am I connecting fashion with birds? Because fashion reflects human desires, and the longing for a meaningful identity. Some of us turn to religion for example to meet a larger truth of that meaning we so desperately crave, while some turn to Nature for similar understanding and connection to a larger whole of who we are. To my mind birds by nature have a ‘birds eye view’ and fly around that ‘whole’ we seek. They mediate between earth and the unknown of the sky. Fashion designers and artists alike think deeply and act on that connectivity humans need for individual security. The imagery I have chosen to share here is visibly about ‘dress’  but dress that connects us to something larger than ourselves.

Owl illustration

Extinct birds wearing fashions from the year they went extinct- Laughing Owl, 1914, Brian Williams

I am not a fan of anthropomorphism because humans often fail to see animals as they are, we imbue them with aspects of ourselves rather than seeing the animal kingdom composed of distinct species of equal valuable to us. Sometimes we don’t get the message of atrocities like ‘extinction’ unless we imagine being in the same shoes as the defeated like in this illustration above. Is extinction a natural cause in evolution? The image is wonderfully ambiguous with multiple meanings. Is the owl living in our apparel or are we sporting an owl ‘head’ a marker of acute awareness?  Perhaps ‘Empathy gap’ between bird and human might be another way to put it, but the intention I think is to connect humans to a palpable loss of freedom and the constraints of living. The paradox between freedom (the symbolic nature of a bird ) and order (wearing a suit) is indeed standing proudly here.  Oh, too often human needs impose order of many kinds dictating our precedence over the impressive beauty such as the species of ‘Laughing Owl’ and that which surrounds us.

Bird's Eye View

Bizarre Bird- fashion editorial. The dead has plumage

For fashion designers the clothes carry the narrative, the story is in the clothes, and could go something like this: A dark princess went out hunting one day and comes face to face with the death of a bird. “Is she equipped?” and “what would you do in the same scenario?”. “Would its death have any impact on you? how so?”

owl headwear

owl taxidermy

This image is priceless. Taxidermy on the head. Me thinks she is hooting.

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The photo above pertains to some of my research as art director for an OWLMAN design I am creating for a movie called Joan in Owl Land. The film is directed by Martin Castaneda https://www.facebook.com/martincastanedayabar?fref=ts with cinematographer Carlos Diaz www.crd.carbonmade.net. Feathers, long black hairy furs, dark leathers, and barks are some of my materials to inspire me.

00000000.-filleoiseau2

Woman in Photography- unknown photographer

Birds connect us to the heavens, however the following designs show a subtler current in Nature and one that revolves around human’s affliction with our psychological underworld. Our feathered friends act as messengers between our unconscious and conscious selves. Nature and humans are inextricably linked.

 

yiqing-yin-couture-fall2012-04

yiqing-yin-couture-fall2012-04

Clothing that circulates and expands into web and trap.

tumblr_nngt3zDx7s1qc8zhlo2_400

Alexander McQueen

Self-destruction

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Anglomania at the Met- John Galliano

Birds that take us into mourning

 

Alexander-McQueen

Alexander McQueen- Birds of Paradise

Feathers that keep us protected, cool and detached.

7._Dress_of_dyed_ostrich_feathers_and_hand-painted_microscopic_slides_Voss_SS_2001._Model_Erin_OConnor

Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty

And feathers that make us bleed in our wounds.

To an ancient Chinese proverb:

          A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

 


Mischief with Chris Burden

    CHRIS BURDEN

Chris Burden has a diverse range of art that taps into architecture, vintage collecting, TV commercials, extreme performances to name a few and as an artistic and influential figure he won’t be swinging by again in my lifetime. So I thought I would honor him here, as he passed recently. His thinking around boundaries of what he could and couldn’t do, his poetic engineering strategies in building structures and his full immersion into his art that perhaps came from his early performances in the 70’s, some of which you can see here http://www.vulture.com/2015/05/best-of-chris-burden-on-youtube.html  are remarkable as much as they were bizarre. He was humble, funny and he confirms for me that an artist has the resources to  ‘make’ from any stage in their careers. Below is a video that reveals his thinking behind the commercials he made. What I love about him is his intuitive honesty about himself as an artist and how a career that marries idea and living turns into a satisfying reality.

He will be an inspiration for so many of us in our years to come!