He is a designer that is deeply motivated by the creative act. He talks about being hungry, wanting change for society with a new vision for dressing women. How do you engage with the ‘creative act’? Is it to bring about greater change or is it for a different need inside you?
What inspires me about him is his reminder to keep our heads out of the process, keep our hearts married to our craft, there will be highs and lows, doubt, stay out of the mainstream, focus, just start again.
‘Bad Boys’ come in all shapes and sizes, but the real form of rebelliousness that our culture always needs are those who serve humanity through the depths of their experiences; from the good through the bad. Marlon Brando is unique in this regard. The film industry is the perfect channel that actors/actresses use as a vehicle of self-expression for us as their audience, so we can see, feel and be motivated by our own vulnerabilities of the human condition. The depths of ‘bad’ in masculine identity is very different than that of the feminine, than that of all other identities in between. How we dress is an obvious statement of our varying attitudes that shape and guide us.
Below is a short clip of Sean Penn talking about his good friend Marlon Brando, a kind of ‘bad boy’ that continues to inspire us non-actors and actors alike. Marlon Brando was a genius and magician in his craft.
Costume in film is one avenue to tell a character’s story. Sometimes current fashions come from the film industry like the ‘bad boy’ image below in THE WILD ONE with Marlon Brando. Since fashion is so broad and ‘anything goes’ from vintage to wide pants to skinnies, from wigs to multicolored dyed hair, from natural skin to all ranges of makeup, would this style pass today as just another outfit worn by a guy? Would we take a second look if we saw this very outfit on a man or a woman or any other gender? Has the ‘bad boy’ (so to speak) image been totally absorbed into mainstream? Many of us have black leather jackets of a kind, and wear Levis (jeans) cuffed up above the ankle, perhaps many of us in the Western world have worn or have owned cowboy (Frye) boots at one point or another.
What is BAD BOY now? Where is that defining edge of sartorial revolt in our culture? How would you dress up as one who is rebellious? (boy or girl or any other range of self-image in relation to one’s sexual identity). New identities of body and expression emerge out of social conflicts, out of personal despair, out of differing belief systems and they push us to tolerate new possibilities of living and lifestyle. I suppose because there are so many differences under the umbrella of humanity, rebellious dress really comes about in relation to particular circumstances and context. We know that dressing in stereotypes are get ups for Hallowe’en, the working world, social groups or thematic celebrations. My take is that what we own to be our ‘dress’ is idiosyncratic to the individual even though we will never stop yearning to belong to something larger than ourselves. It is this very paradox of individual and community relationship that continues to spin us in innumerable orbits. With our undying spirit to invent with our available resources and the images we have of ourselves, the evolution of dress continues. Just how it does persist is the beauty of our ‘character’ we wear today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Whether the flora and fauna of the environment take over in ambiguous disguise
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?
According to Versace, women no longer have a role in the world of fantasy but are about the real world. Women have an obligation to show their strength, diverse beauty, and intelligence. Does fashion represent the woman differently today than it did ten years ago? In my opinion, back then, fashion was caught up with revealing our sexuality, and sensuality self-consciously. I think now, the crux is what we do with our empowered selves because sharing that power is what will make a difference. The alchemy between inhabiting clothing and audience will persuade new justices, new identities and therefore new tolerance and new inclusive liberation. Maybe this is what equality means.
Sounds like we better show ‘m how it’s done, be the present, and strut the future with our own voices.
A dream of mine is to costume dress and set design a film narrative or stage that takes place in the 20’s. That dream might be near or far, I don’t know, however in the meantime, I thought I would share some of my favorites from that time period. Now, if this dream doesn’t come true? Well, obviously I will then have to throw a 20’s dress up party. That would mean everyone who attends the ‘partay’ is living in a 20’s fantasy as well. Just for a sec let’s marry and attend a je ne sais quois Great Gatsby-esque kind of decadence.
Great Gatsby theme
It is close to summer, a time for weddings; the ideal party that grooves at every hour, into everlasting forevers.
1920’s wedding flapper dress
The drape, the fall, the span of form with accessory, the heavy with light fabrics and the slight contrapposto take us into the 20’s mood of dress.
vintage wedding dress
The details of pearls and appliqué, beads and feathers, the transparency and opaque, while loose and assembled offer a comfortable possibility and for the ‘partay’.
To indulge you a little bit of vintage silver screen hollywood is here. Yolan Cris is a remarkable fashion house in Barcelona http://www.yolancris.com/yolancris/us/
Her pose feels stiff and contrived, however her gown is more unfixed than those of today and carries a more detached allure. Ballet shoes might also indicate her identity with performance.
Like architectural space, the space of garment as container manipulates our behavior to move around in the world specifically. Garment is contingent upon context. Whether we are in the first photo or the one above sophistication and elegance is declared and has us piping a long cigarette in our satin robes lying languid on the couch in a never-ending daydream. Clearly we can’t wear athletic attire and arrive at the Carnegie smelling of sweat. What is appropriate or inappropriate become the codes of fashion that organizes our lives. If we decide to wear skirts, bodices, short or long hemlines, flared, sheath, slip, statement to gown dresses once again our behavior and the movement of our body will change depending on the occasion, the environment and our level of inner security.
Which time period would you see yourself in? Which cultural force do you identify with? Which figures would you like to have known? For me the allure of the 20’s is significant because women were freer from the constraints of history and the importance of the suffrage movement is radical. I would love to have been friends with the Lost Generation- F.Scott Fitzgerald, Earnest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, lived in an Art Deco house, painted with the Surrealists, and Expressionists. Even though the Great Depression was around the corner, the 20’s zeitgeist explored new extravagant lifestyles and supported the fervor around industrial progress. The appeal of the jazz buzz, the silent movies, the Charleston, the hair, Picasso, the travel all to lift humanity…and of course because of the recycling in fashion history, the fantasies of 20’s dress allows us to attend many more partay’s.
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
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 3
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 2
More updates to come, always in process, baby steps make life happen…
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.