“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/


Where’s Winter?

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If you live in Central Vermont you are probably wondering where winter is. It will come soon enough and S’AMUSE wants you to know you will be prepared for when it does arrive. We have THE aviator cap you have been waiting for…wait I know…my daughter here is bummed there is no snow on the ground.  We are doing our best to make the most of the sunshine, wet roads, outdoor soccer, and climbing trees.

soccer kick

It is pretty easy to order a cap all you have to do is head over to Etsy here https://www.etsy.com/shop/SAMUSE and order one. They come in olive, grey, hot red, deep cherry, denim blue, royal blue, caramel, and deep purple.

sienna's joke

 

sienna's spooked

Did you know they have organic velour interiors? they are reversible, and buckling is antique brass.

sienna in a tree

You can wear other hats under, hoodies over and they are convenient to throw into a small purse.

sienna monkey

Made locally in Vermont from friendly Italian leather yours will last you a lifetime.

All for $125!

It is best to order before December 15th on my Etsy site as shipping at this time of year is crazy.

Happy Holidays!


GLAMOURIE

GLAMOURIE

I  came to the conclusion the other day that I often try to bridge Western and Eastern thinking and here is an occasion of that.

Bauhaus mask

Schlemmer Masks from Bauhaus stage workshop http://library.calvin.edu/hda/node/1445

Trickery is an ancient art of survival whether you are a god or a mere mortal. Rhea fooled Cronos in order to save their infant son Zeus to become an Olympian hero, Hephaestus exposed the adulterous love between his wife Aphrodite with lover Ares, Hermes stole objects from the gods for fun, so too women have had to become cunning in order to not get overpowered by male forces.

Hermes Greek Trickster God

Hermes Greek Trickster God http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hermes.html

 

Greek Comedy and Tragedy masks

Greek Comedy and Tragedy masks http://world4.eu/roman-theatre-masks/

‘Glamourie’ is a Scottish Faery term for illusion. ‘Cast a ‘glamour’ over the senses so that things aren’t what they seem’ has become part of my inquiry into costumery, textiles, and the roles of human play in daily life. As a practitioner in the way of the arts I have become conscious of how this ancient art of ‘deceit’ is a necessary invention that keeps us in the realm of possibility. The theater of Glamourie to which I allude to is a stage that mediates between emotion and perception. Below is some visual research for the artist residency I will be attending at the Oxygen Art Center http://www.oxygenartcentre.org this December with exhibition from January 9 thru to 6th of February 2016 in Nelson, BC.

The following images show costumery from different points of view. The choices are endless so I selected a few such as an illustration of the body masking with geometry

Fashion Illustration by Danielle Meder

Fashion Illustration by Danielle Meder http://finalfashion.ca/category/illustration/

masking with anatomy

 

masking with shadow and light

masking with architecture

Architecture and costume
Architecture and costume https://secretknowledgeofspaces.wordpress.com
                      We are never complete as human individuals, this is our beauty in constant play and our path towards self-realization. In Zen Buddhism the Enso circle can be painted open or closed. If it is open then we are in progress, if the circle is painted closed, it represents perfection and perhaps full self-realization. We can recall Plato’s perfect theory of forms and his distrust in the world of appearances and constant change. To a Plato thinker a circle doesn’t exist in the physical reality of space and time only as an approximation of the real thing and which can only be known through reason. 

Greek Myths include the fairies who may have been inspired by Greek gods and goddesses. Fairies actually developed from the concept of the Fates, dance, and ritual. I wonder which ‘glamour’ will bless the artist residency in Nelson? Which of the 3 Fates or Moerae?- Clotho the spinner? Lachesis the measurer? Atropos the cutter of Life’s thread? Yikes! I have to be prepared and accept the challenge regardless of what may come to pass.

The Three Fates

The Three Fates

‘Glamourie’ is the agent that lets loose our characters that block inner freedom; an awareness that illuminates a small sword of truth in all that we are.

 

 

 

 


CINDY SHERMAN MASTERS EMPATHY

CindySherman-Beauty-1-300

CINDY SHERMAN

ARTIST CINDY SHERMAN MASTERS EMPATHY

Actress? Impersonator? Multiple Personality? Story-Teller?  Cindy Sherman grew up in the 70’s and is one of my favorites from The Pictures Generation.  She is an artist whose subject is herself portrayed as a variety of people from fairy tales, to clowns, to high society women, to historical figures, to feminine stereotypes, to men and more. While these images are photographs of herself, she is the photographer who takes them. She builds the characters through dress and becomes them in a single photograph. She takes thousands of photos before she finds the right one that says it all.

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CINDY SHERMAN

Empathy refers to the capacity of understanding, perceiving and/or feeling another from their frame of reference. Cindy Sherman isn’t living these characters she personifies in these portraits, but she is imagining a relationship of herself and them in what it must be like. This is an act of empathy that comes with story-telling. The viewer too empathizes with these characters. Is it like  ‘dress up’ at home while alone with the TV? Yes and deeper. She gives these characters a chance in their ‘moment’ to live on, to be seen as human, to see ourselves in them and our differences from them. She has admitted to feeling  compassion for these characters and when you see them here you begin to understand why. It is like watching a tragedy and a comedy at the same time.

Let’s step out of this universe for a sec…don’t humans try and try after endless defeat after defeat? Living is a constant heroic act, is it not?. How we carry our trials and tribulations comes through in the way we dress and prep ourselves for the next new day. The breasts drop, the face gets tucked and mulled by make-up, the hair gets bleached young and perfected according to cultural norms of ‘beauty’. We work hard on ourselves despite the enemy of time. Living a long life of careful grooming or a fast, robust and furious one is still a tremendous achievement.

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CINDY SHERMAN

Back to reality.

Her work is mostly untitled because she wants the viewer to create their own narratives of these individuals. This feels like a Baroque oil portrait of a woman distraught by something that has just happened. We don’t know what happened but we can invent a story from the exposed clues of her body, her beautiful lace on the shoulders, the secrecy of the closed off curtain, she is half naked, was she desired or not treated right?… She is broken, vulnerable and appears to not know what to do next. I feel sorry for her. As a feminist artist Sherman hits the nail on the head with this one. She probes tragic realities that some women face all the time.

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CINDY SHERMAN

Rock on, love it, this woman is powerful, she rules. I know those shorts, the hair, make-up, the tattoo, the nails and rings, the perked lips, the way she sits, right? I bet she doesn’t have much to call her own, but her pride is there, she knows how to survive.

Despite the criticism around her work as ‘mockery’ of typing people, to place herself as these subjects isn’t a form of mockery at all.  It is as much about Cindy Sherman as those she portrays. She is a master of transformation, of sharing the world of people through trickery and artifice. The number of wigs, noses nails and eyes not to mention clothes and accessories stored in her studio is intriguing in itself. If you get a chance watch the video below and see more.

What makes her work profound for me is the fact that I feel I have seen or know these people somehow before, even though I obviously haven’t met them in real life. Do you? a little surreal, a deja vu perhaps… This makes sense to have seen these characters before because many of us grew up inundated with media and saw all walks of life through TV, film, the news… We travel and see this variety, we live in neighborhoods with other people who are different from and similar to us, we read about human cultures in books, we see them at the beach, strip bars, dance clubs, we walk our city streets and live next to the wild and crazy person up the road, or we know someone who knows someone who introduced us to someone who looks like this etc. It is easy to recognize ourselves but it is hard to empathize with those who are different from us. Our inner judge is a strong magistrate.

 

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CINDY SHERMAN

These characters are utterances of human culture regardless of era. They are iconic. We grow up with each other and ‘know’ people who could be close to a century older than us. For Cindy Sherman how the history of human life has been presented is of equal value to current mass-media representations of human culture, she researches her sources from everywhere.

Behind the furs, and silks isn’t a cool critic that manufactures identity, she sees and feels the human in everyone.

CINDY SHERMAN ON ART 21 roughly 25 mins

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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?


HAIR INVASION

 

Natural hair

Root

Which of these hairdos would suit you?

We all have a dialogue with our hair. Every morning we wake up and have to deal, short hair has its problems as does long. ‘No hair’ has its pros and cons as well. So we either fight its condition at the hour, or make concessions of various kinds. We often wake up with easy solutions of products and accessories or we put a hat on or make a hair appointment, or henna our hair if the crisis is on a weekend or like I often do just ‘surrender’… Now I am not a hairdresser but I have collected a few options for you try and bear with me because you have to expand and dig a little deeper. It is time to get creative and really explore the wonderful possibilities.

hair confusion

Coral

What I love about these hairdo’s is that none of them feel like a ‘costume’ or just physical extensions which they could very well be.  I see them more like extensions of the self. ‘Coral’ is feeling particular. Zany detail, finery of the Rococo, and technical exuberance is what the above option can provide.  You could wear ‘Coral’ fancy in couture or flow ordinary in a pair of jeans, these days that ‘in between’ fusion is quite popular.

hair extension

Twisted Sister

If you are at the computer all day ‘Twisted Sister’ might be your best bet. Hair is out of the way, full facial attention towards the screen, get the job done, no distractions, hair is light and airborne, we are talking  pure focus potential. You might start to grow Spak ears and that too can work for you, like they show us in the mags the more distinctive you look the more valuable you become.

hair armor

Cocoon

Sorry for the poor image quality)

This hair is like “wrap me in a cocoon after a skin makeover”, love it. Perfect for Lady Gaga. Maybe the Spa can do this for you, a little suggestion might be in order, it is entirely possible this could don a new age of therapy.

 

royal hair

ROYAL

Ok ROYAL is me. I could travel the world wearing this, I would feel like a star. Even though my heart is with ROOT- the first hairdo and I am soooo natural, I think this one would put me in a total state of calm and equanimity. Right? you can’t go dancing with this hair, one would have to walk up straight and slowly move through the day, all the drama in your head is non-existent, a perfect state of being.

which animal hair?

Giraffe

Ironically Giraffe would have us in a more casual, don’t mind me, smooth talking mood. Can’t you just picture waiting to cross traffic on 5th and 52nd and Giraffe was there opposite you?  A brunette like everyone else, no spots or blemishes, just the right amount of the artificial and feral you need. Cher could spruce this up more. Now this might be a way to really feel like you ‘belong’ with the masses. NOT! and that might be the relief you need, so think again, having really understated hair might be that foray you are ultimately looking for.

is it there hair

Cinderella

Lastly ‘Cinderella’, oh the poor thing. When the chips are down, love is lost, confusion reigns, god only knows, you can long for that miraculous change, for that wild spell and feeling to come or just do what you can and let it fly…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.

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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.

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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.

 


ON THE STREETS

 ON THE STREETS

Street Performer Statue

Street Performer Statue

Street Magic

Dolly Mix

Dolly Mix

 Street fashion as performance

Elena Perminova

Elena Perminova

Street fashion as… the beautiful shawl (wear yours this summer ladies)

 Os Gêmeos GRAFFITI, Dewey Square, Boston, 2010

Os Gêmeos GRAFFITI, Dewey Square, Boston, 2010

street art as play and feeling

Brazilian graffiti artists

OSGEMEOS- twin brothers

…as…street culture that kinda feels like one can get squeezed out by people, and compressed into places and spaces never considered before (like the concrete silos on Granville Island in Vancouver)

London faces

London faces

 and street theater releasing the emotional intensity of living.

Street life heals the spirit. Thank god we can get wonderfully crazy.


LET’S GO FOR A RIDE!

bombers on the bike

bikes and bombers

Got my cap n’ tee just preppin’  for a ride

T-shirt heart logo

a tee with my heart illustration silkscreened by hand

motorbike culture

motorbike and bombers

girl and motorbike

sleek, hi-fi motorama- but why the gun? We often associate ‘power and cool’ with popular high tech movies, one day we will evolve…

While the western world goes hype on motorbike aesthetics and design which can be fun by the way, the non-west motors with  utilitarian intentions. Needless to say both seem to be missing one key item. My bomber caps! Bombers and motorbikes are the quintessence of adventure. Only because I love my caps and think anyone can wear them. To be clear they are a luxury, mind you one that will last a long time, and they are also obviously not safe for highway driving.

mb 12

Got the denim blues

Dog meat is a healthy choice to eat

Dog meat has medicinal benefits according to the Chinese-

Now I love to try new things because I do consider myself full of adventure, but dog meat is stretching it. I eat meat and I am an animal lover, can’t do dog. Definitely a cultural difference.  Motoring across town with them? – why how else would you do that?

egg motorbike Viet Nam

My bombers have reached as far as the UK, but I wonder if Viet Nam would wear a bomber ?- a plus against urban noise!

Traub2

World’s rarest motorbike

vintage bike with vintage bomber …hmm…definitely a possibility

motorbike travel no head gear

3 on a motorbike in Tehran

 Very focussed, all together , on a mission are they going to make it??? They would move faster with one of my bombers of course…

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Viet Nam carriage

Both of these images are just darn impressive.

transport_au_viet_nam

A balancing act

Think these forms above are being carried by a bicycle or a motorbike? Do you know what they are? (conical fishing baskets)

woman_on_motorbike

Women’s Micro-Financing world

Business as usual. These ladies are juggling many tasks between work with micro- financing initiatives, family and building a prosperous community. Motorbikes make their life a little more convenient and free. As the saying goes “My cap (hat) goes off to them. “

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6 on a motorbike

In India having fun after attending the baths. Motorbikes tend to have that attitude.

taking a break with my bomber

S’AMUSE bombers and motorbikes

 S’AMUSE bombers are comfy, colorful and considerately kool.

For the sake of adventure and quality design how about giving them a try?

Visit www.samuse.bigcartel.com, SAMUSE on etsy.com or call to order 802.224.6878