DRESS to EX­CESS

Ever looked at the out­fits on a fash­ion cat­walk and won­dered: why? A new book has all the an­swers

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - FASHION - Words roy ec­cle­ston

FASH­ION is re­bel­lion, ar­gues Marnie Fogg in the open­ing pages of this book ded­i­cated to the en­cour­age­ment of those who boldly go where no fab­ric has gone be­fore. To be fash­ion­able is not to be smart and in keep­ing with the lat­est styles, she ar­gues, but to throw those old de­signs out and pro­duce chal­leng­ing new ones that hope­fully kin­dle out­rage and op­pro­brium. The key el­e­ments iden­ti­fied and ex­am­ined here are fan­tasy fash­ion, dis­place­ment, provo­ca­tion, dis­tor­tion and vol­ume, each hav­ing its own ex­am­ples and chap­ters.

Dis­place­ment, such as the Pier­rot cos­tume above left, is fash­ion’s an­swer to Sur­re­al­ism, she says. In this 2009 out­fit by Amaya Arzuaga, in­spired by a clown from 17th-cen­tury Ital­ian the­atre, the ef­fect is to make the model ap­pear to have two waists.

Another ex­am­ple is Thierry Mu­gler’s 1989 Au­to­mo­tive corset dress, be­low, which makes an “Amazonian state­ment”, but harks back to the golden era of Amer­i­can car­mak­ers with its sharp, an­gu­lar, shiny lines.

John Galliano’s Eques­trian out­fit, right, for Dior is from the Fan­tasy chap­ter. This isn’t fancy dress, says Fogg, it en­hances iden­tity.

Dis­tor­tion, which Fogg says is a way of cre­at­ing images “de­void of sex­u­al­ity, gen­der, cul­ture and age”, is ex­em­pli­fied with 2011’s Rec­tan­gle Dress, left, by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. The ef­fect is like “an an­i­mated sand­wich board”. Whether you'd wear it prob­a­bly de­pends on whether you agree with Fogg – that fash­ion is re­ally re­bel­lion.

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Pier­rot cos­tume, 2009, by Amaya Arzuaga Rec­tan­gle dress, 2011, by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Au­to­mo­tive corset dress, 1989, by Thierry Mu­gler Eques­trian out­fit, 2000, by John Galliano for Dior

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