September 28, 2006

The lines are beautiful...

...but i'm not sure how Jeremy Laing's SS2007 collection is supposed to be inspired by the "essays of Thorstein Veblen"(V Magazine No. 43, Fall 2006). We'll be talking about conspicuous consumption soon enough on this blog (I wrote a whole essay about it for my Reading Television graduate studies course), but for now, consider the lines and draping of my favourite Canadian designer.

The role of the fashion press

I think it's lame that fashion houses would consider banning a media outlet after a bad review. But the prevalence of such decisions this season at least reminds me that there are some newspapers and magazines that aren't afraid to be CRITICAL and fair in their critiques of the fashion system. If every collection was brilliant, and every review glowing, what would the point be?

From Fashion Week Daily

Dolce & Gabbana reject media elite Thursday, September 28, 2006

(MILAN) Even a reported 54.5 million page views and 535,000 unique visitors during New York’s Fashion Week can do little to sway fickle fashion designers. A spokeswoman for confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that its team covering the shows in Europe—namely Sarah Mower, Tim Blanks, and Nicole Phelps—would not be attending today’s Dolce & Gabbana show. Apparently, Dolce & Gabbana’s PR team was displeased with Mower's show review from the previous season. No review of D&G’s Spring 2007 show, presented on Monday, was posted on the Condé Net site either.

Speaking of, its executive fashion director, Candy Pratts Price, abruptly checked out of the Four Seasons Wednesday and flew back to New York after colleagues described her as being “under the weather” and needing some R&R. Price, however, is expected back in time for the Paris shows.

Meanwhile, Cathy Horyn, who was politely uninvited to the Carolina Herrera show in New York, found herself in the same predicament at Dolce & Gabbana. The New York Times fashion critic confirmed at this morning’s Pucci show that she had not been invited, but declined further comment.

September 22, 2006

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

one of these things is too much like the other...

One of my favourite Cultural Studies texts, of course, is The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin. I'll discuss this monumental piece in greater detail in future posts but for now, while I prepare to go mushroom foraging in the woods in the rain tomorrow, here is some food for thought:

"Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be. This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence. This includes the changes which it may have suffered in physical condition over the years as well as the various changes in its ownership. The traces of the first can be revealed only by chemical or physical analyses which it is impossible to perform on a reproduction; changes of ownership are subject to a tradition which must be traced from the situation of the original. The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity. "

The entire essay can be read here. Amazing, isn't it, how some Marxist theory from 1935 can still be so relevant today?

How then, can we observe the "aura" of Kaisik Wong (top, 1970s) in the Balenciaga (bottom, 2002)? Nicholas Ghesquière might be a genius for Fall 2006 but I still do not quite forgive him for this trespass.

September 16, 2006

You are seduced by the sex appeal of the Inorganic

I really love this piece by Barbara Kruger. It makes me think a lot about how fashion imagery (and really all commercial imagery in general) is painstakingly constructed in order to appeal to our aesthetic and sexual selves and how in postmodernity nothing is quite removed from capitalism. Which is fine and well in one sense because I love soft leather gloves as much as the next fashionista, but ultimately what Kruger questions is the empty nature of the pleasures promised. How fitting for someone who used to work in the art department of consumer magazines!

Here's her biography from Tate Online:

American conceptual artist, designer and writer. She enrolled at Parsons School of Design, Syracuse, NY, where her teachers included the photographer Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel (b 1924), a successful graphic designer and art director of Harper's Bazaar, who was particularly encouraging. When Kruger's interest in art school waned in the mid-1960s, Israel encouraged her to prepare a professional portfolio. Kruger moved to New York and entered the design department of Mademoiselle magazine, becoming chief designer a year later. Also at that time she designed book covers for political texts. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she became interested in poetry and began writing and attending readings. From 1976 to 1980 she lived in Berkeley, CA, teaching and reflecting on her own art. In photograph-based images she examined the representation of power via mass-media images, appropriating their iconography and slogans and deconstructing them visually and verbally. Such works as Untitled (You Invest in the Divinity of the Masterpiece) (photograph, 1.82×1.16 m, 1982; New York, MOMA) exploit an economy of image and text to articulate and undermine the power-based relations established in such media images. Major influences cited by Kruger include films, television and the stereotypical situations of everyday life, and especially her training as a graphic designer. Her messages have been displayed in both galleries and public spaces, as well as on framed and unframed photographs, posters, T-shirts, electronic signboards, billboards and flyposters.

September 12, 2006

Hello world.

The academic journal Fashion Theory takes as its starting point a definition of ‘fashion’ as the cultural construction of the embodied identity.

This blog, which is not in any way affiliated with the journal, will hopefully be an insightful and whimsical look at the Fashion system and its manifestations through my eyes. Hopefully, I will find time to write about Roland Barthes and Marc Jacobs in interesting ways, and in the process find my own voice as an editor and writer.