Friday, December 21, 2007


stylized sculpture

tonight after work ($5 after 5pm!) i wandered over to the asian art museum to see the japanese fashion exhibit, Stylized Sculpture. the exhibit was brief, but i got one huge awesome dab of thought out of it:

For the past quarter-century, Japanese designers have made their mark on fashion with avant-garde shapes, stark color schemes, and innovative textile technologies. To anyone familiar with traditional Japanese clothing, these radical contemporary garments resonate with the aesthetics of a culture more fascinated with silhouette, surface, and cloth itself than with the delineation of the body... [emphasis added]

(check out some photographs of the collection here.)

now...i purchase clothes with UniqueAndAwesome as one of two primary factors. it's probably even the slightly more prominent factor. BUT. the other primary factor is how it works on my body. i readily admit that i generally eschew items of clothing that i don't find 'flattering' to my figure.

in the past year, working more closely than prior with a few local designers (bad.unkl.sista and miranda caroligne in particular), i've tried to be more open to wearing clothes that are artistic and beautiful without being as flattering as my idealized version of attire. it's reeeally hard for me. i want my body to look as good as it can. and in general, even the designers that strive for clothing as art are still cognizant that they need their clothes to make the subjects 'look good' from a standard perspective. (be as creative as you want, as long as your clothes adhere to some sort of accepted beautified form...)

but these pieces in the show... nothing doing.

female form? BAH.

these were clothes as Art, clothes as Cloth Sculpture; standard body accentuations be DAMNED. it was, quite honestly, unnerving. i know, for instance, that my favorite pieces were the ones that managed to stay flattering to at least *part* of the body while swooping off into the unknown in discrete sections.

in sum: i left this exhibit feeling more determined to think of my attire as art and expression with less regard to societal norms about female form.

i don't expect me to make any drastic changes in how i'm willing to array my body, but i hope that i can start incorporating pieces into my wardrobe that are interesting and beautiful but that DON'T help mold my body into the standard western template. we'll see how it goes...the dominant paradigm is known for its dominance for a reason, you know...

(in the meantime, go see the thing. it's only here til january 6th. next thursday it's $5 from 5-9pm. and they give you an awesome supplemental booklet-thingy when you go, so you can read up on the designers later and look at the pretty pictures. neat!)

ah orange that you for your investigations of what true beauty is...i am honored to cloth you and open to experimenting with you newfound inspiration of art as clothing...big surpize yes?...
big hugs from your bad unkl
very interesting.

I appreciate the point about moving away from the fashion goal of looking all pretty and fem, in a "traditional" sense. However, I feel that a lot of clothing that is just about shape and silhouette, at the expense of attention to the body, is unduly ascetic, sometimes even...i dunno, a different kind of misogyny (the history of misogyny in japan is different than the history of misogyny in the west, but no less present). It's not great if the only thing considered beautiful is slim waist, large breasts--but to reject breasts and hips is no better.

Clothing should be about the body. That is its challenge, the way that iambic pentameter &c are the challenges of the sonnet. And it should be about the beauty of the body, the embrace of the body.

anyway, full of cookies here, and rambling. all to say: yes, finding a path through the art of the body is one of our challenges, indeed.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?