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