Mower, S. and Martínez, R. (2007). Stylist. New York: Style.com in association with Rizzoli.
"A flight of imagination using fashion as an expressionistic tool. It may be romantic. It may be dark. It may be cinematic, literary, historical, satirical, or political – or perhaps, sparing happy. The distinguishing mark of a great stylist’s work is the imagination that makes it something that could only come from one person’s mind. Artistically respected, commercially, effective and intimately involved in the way the fashion world runs."
an introduction by Sarah Mower from Stylist (2007)
Carine Roitfeld works as a stylist along side with fashion photographer, Mario Testino. Here, she incorporates high fashion pieces with a very mundane approach; the model is eating chicken drumstick passionately and messily on her white apron. The clothes itself doesn't have any identity. This black loose dress is a black loose dress on its own, but when somebody embodies it. The dress' identity immediately forms according to the person wearing it. Like in these photos, the garments are from luxurious brand, but when they are worn with dirty apron, and the model poses very mundanely (in the kitchen-like situation). The threads hanging from the hem of the shirt reflect the idea that this dress is no longer new and that the woman has been working tirelessly in the kitchen.
tw1975, (2012). John Berger / Ways of Seeing , Episode 2 (1972). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1GI8mNU5Sg (Accessed 11 Oct. 2015).
Women have many roles to play, and those roles contribute to their individual identity. To consider how successful life is, as John Berger says, 'is how she appears to men'.
"Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at."
Gender identity is defined by birth. Either male or female, we look at ourselves and observe how the opposite sex thinks of us. John Berger didn't say how men want to be accept by women because male has always been considered as a more superior gender than female. The need to be welcome or be admired at, still exists among everybody especially women. In European art, nudity was used to disguise identity of the women in the painting, as their bodies were idealized for the audience. Likewise, in modern society, fashion can be compared as nudity in European painting. Women use clothing to portray to the public of what kind of women they want to be or want to be seen as; fashion is tool for us to communicate the identity we want the world to see us as.
Everybody has their own sense of style. When it comes to how one dresses oneself, a style can communicate to the audience so differently. Similarly, looking at different collections from Spring/Summer 16, these are the high brands that have their own individual aesthetic and identities. I feel like the girl who choses to wear Moschino (by Jeremy Scott) has to have certain personalities to be able to pull the look off and not just wearing the garment just for its function. This idea also applies to the other brands as well.
Moschino: The pattern on this dress is very vibrant and playful. The length of the skirt is at knee-length, which is a perfect length for active people. The model looks like she's outgoing, energetic, and happy. The garment she's wearing is communicating to me of what the model's personalities is like. This model may not be outgoing as I perceived, but the clothing she's wearing is portraying a persona of Moschino to its customers.
Giambattista Valli: By putting this picture side by side with the Moschino collection, Giamba model suddenly looks so subdued. The look is not casual but not too formal because of the length and the gladiator sandals. The model looks sweet, innocent, and not too conservative. The shoes suggests that she is quite active and likes to move around a lot. The whole look makes me think of an afternoon tea outfit or perhaps a day time social party.
Celine: The dress by itself could have been worn for formal occasion or to work, but when it's on the model with large stylish ring earning and high heel boots, the persona overall is still quite formal but more playful and chic.
By comparing these images together, the essence of who would be wearing these pieces from the SS16 collections is shown through the style of each look, whether it's an outgoing/fun girl, lady-like girl, or an office girl. The identity of each fashion brands reflects what kind of their customers are.
Taken by me on 20-21 September 2015
These photos were taken during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016 on 20-21 September 2015. The weather was terrible switching between gloomy and rainy, but the people who attended the fashion shows were still dressing in distinct styles. It was starting to get cold as well. I was wearing a raincoat jacket, sneakers to get around easily from show to show, and also had a plastic bag covering my camera. On the other hand, these people in the photos were wearing pretty much every thing that couldn't be worn in real life especially with the cold weather. However, they went to each of the show venues by sponsored car or by taxi, there were no need for them to be exposed to the weather much. If these are the styles people in London actually wear, it would be hard to even imagining them using public transportation like tube or bus with a lot of walking around the stations.
The purpose of fashion in this case is very superficial in my opinion because the style doesn't work in reality, and these people just dress up for the sake of them looking 'stylish' for fashion shows and also for the street style photographer to take photos of them. From my personal experience, I didn't take photos of people whose style I consider 'normal' because there's nothing new to be recording.
Fashion is a tool to present ourlseves to the public; to project to the audience that we're attending a fashion show and are 'fashion' people. These projections don't necessarily reflect the real identity of those people whether they are smart, outgoing, or confident, etc. These are just for the visual judgment from the public.
Wearing, G. (1996) 60 Minutes of Silence. Available at: http://www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk/artwork/60-minutes-silence (Accessed: 24 October 2015).
Gillian Wearing works with ranges of people by filming them wearing police uniforms in a set up as a group portrait through the period of one hour. The whole film is the same from beginning to the end because there is no movement at all. The 'polices' had to stay in the postures and silence.
This piece shows the power of uniform, on how fashion can influence people into characters, who are able to stay still for the whole 60 minutes. Wearing said that none of these participants are actually polices, so wearing police uniform must have given them the feeling of having to portray a role, a serious police in a uniform. Likewise, the feeling that everybody else is also dressing the same and having to stay still together is probably another reasons why these participants feel the pressure to obey the instruction by Wearing.
Fashion can create an identity for a person when he or she is being viewed differently than the usual point of view. Because fashion is something that can be thought out and not something that comes from within. Fashion, therefore, is un-certained, and be used to portray and disguise identity at the same time depending on the purpose of the person wearing it.
http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wearing-im-desperate-p78348 (Accessed 24 Oct 2015)
This is one of the photographs from the series, Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say (1992-93) by Gillian Wearing. At first glance, by the look of the man, he is wearing a black suit with a neatly tied dark red tie. His hair is combed to one side showing that he actually cares how he looks. He smiles genuinely like he's happy about something. Nevertheless, the message he actually wants to give out is 'I'm desperate', which is a statement that changes the view of this photo completely. The smart suit conveys an idea of a salary man who earns good amount of money and is well-off. He wants to tell other people that he's desperate. Whether he's desperate in his love life, family life, or working wise, with just the visual look of him, it is impossible to get the message he wants to say from his looks.
Fashion works the same way. People deliberately dress themselves into something they want to portray to other people; for themselves to have confidence, for their friends and family and to the unknown public to show what they want to portray. Sometimes people want to show their 'real' self, but often there are other factors like dressing up for special occasions visual presentation is important. I think that fashion is just a personal projection because we can choose what we wear, so people can think of us in a certain way, whereas our true identity may or may not be like that. It's all about impression.
http://www.juancole.com/2012/07/kuwait-stock-exchange-andreas-gursky-photograph.html (Accessed 13 Nov 2015)
This is a work by Andreas Gursky named, Kuwait Stock Exchange (2007). All men working at stock exchange in Kuwait all dress the same: the full length white robe with a center opening and long sleeves, the white cap with white extension of fabric covering the sides and back of the neck. Everybody seems to be busy talking to each other and is anticipating with the stock market price. The traditional costume these men are wearing isn't considered fashion because it hasn't changed within the past 14 centuries. However, it shows the power of conformity. These people are working towards one goal like the way they are all sharing the same garment. Unity is created from the fact that people are being marked as collective group by the way they look. Clothing in this case doesn't define a single man with his identity but rather, the group as a whole.
Fashion and Identity Creative Outcome
Collage mixed media
background photo from: Antonioli, T. (2013). THE FAST LANE: THREE HOURS IN MIAMI. [image] Available at: http://www.suitcasescholar.com/2013/02/21/fiv-hours-in-miami/ [Accessed 19 Oct. 2015].
To me, fashion is role-playing. People use fashion as a tool to project the image they want other people to perceive of themselves. It's true that while somebody picks his/her clothes in the morning, there's not necessarily the image/role they're trying to portray, but unconsciously everybody does so, whether one wants to be perceive as care-free, professional, high class, or active.
I chose a mundane image of a quiet street as a background echoing a everyday life-like scenery where street style photography is taken. I wanted to create a runway show that's for everybody to perform. Using a figure from fashion magazine, I created a different outfit based on interesting texture I picked up. She seems out of the place with her extravagance clothes because I'm trying to portray the idea of bringing a performance into real life with the use of fashion. At the same time, there are many eyes looking towards her. These eyes represent the audience or the public, the people whom she's trying to impress with her mask of clothes. Also, the eyes are cut from newspaper, which is a printed medium for people, reflecting the idea of general public even more. I coloured in her eyes with black pen to indicate that this is not actually her; it's the luxurious identity she's portraying to the crowd, but not the 'real' her like she's hiding behind the mask of clothes.
Schuman, S. (2012). The Sartorialist: Closer. London: Penguin Books.
What people chose to wear in the morning can reflect what him/her was thinking at the time and could also be translated from his/her personality. Fashion is a tool to show who you are physically and sometimes mentally as well.
In this photo by Scott Schuman, the woman is on her bike, perhaps stopping for a short moment to reply her text. She's wearing a white long sleeve shirt, bamboo hat, sunglasses, and golden flipflops. On her bike's basket, there's blue and white stripes towel. Judging from the visual component, I'm assuming that she's wearing a swimming suit underneath the shirt and is on her way to the swimming pool. She looks pretty active with the muscle line on her legs and looks good even without bottom garment meaning that she's quite confident with her body. She's probably enjoying the nice sunny weather outdoor while keeping herself busy with the phone as well.
There are so many assumptions I can make from this particular image, but what has helped me identify my points was her style. The unconscious choice of clothing can reveal the identity of a particular person.
White T- Shirts
White T Shirt. (2015). [image] Available at: http://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/photo-galleries/white-t-shirt/page/6 [Accessed 12 Oct. 2015].
All the images shown above are categorized into 'formality' of the looks. They are varied from casual/vacation style to business women style. However, what's interesting is that these women are all wearing plain white T-shirts. Styling is really important to the fashion world because it helps people distinguish from each other and to move away from the conformity. It helps these women to be able to project themselves the way they want to be seen with the same style of clothing.
White T-shirt on its own could perhaps be considered as an anti-fashion item because it's a classic item. Nevertheless, combining it with other fashion items accordingly to the 'role' one wants to portray, a white t-shirt becomes more than just a white t-shirt. It becomes a part of the look that without it, the person wearing it would look so much different and wouldn't be able to complete the 'image' they're trying to project. I wouldn't say that styling is based purely on everybody's unique identity, but more like what is the role playing one's trying to perform. For example, in the second row of the images above, the women dress themselves for some kind of a work that requires them to look professional and sophisticated. They cannot wear a casual look like the first row images even though they wanted to, all else they would be considered 'unprofessional.' They are using fashion as a tool for an attempting to project images of business women.
A stop motion short film by Cindy Sherman portrays a story of a doll woman, who suddenly feels embarrassed of her own naked body, so she gets out of the plastic envelope in the doll book to find herself something to wear within the doll book. She flips through several pages, and in the end, she finds a nice little dress that she puts on, admiring herself in the mirror. Suddenly, there are giant hands taking the dress from her and putting her back into the book where she was at the beginning. She is naked again without the clothes, but she couldn't do anything about it.
In my opinion, I think that Sherman is trying to convey the fact that the female in the film is trying to express her identity through the clothing choice, while she was selecting the style she wants to wear from the pile in the doll book. She seems to like the image projecting in the mirror once she puts on the dress. In contrast, the hands perhaps reflect the fact that there are certain restrictions from the society that forbids everybody to truly express ourselves accordingly to our identity such as when parents don't want to see their child dressing up crossed gender, and so the main character is put back into the book without the identity she has chosen.
From this, clearly, fashion is a way to express. It allows people to project what they like and what they think they should be or look like. However, there are going to be people, who judge what and how you wear fashion at the same time.
Antique photo from Photographer's Fair at Bloomsbury (Bought on 8 Nov 2015)
The woman in this photo looks constructed. Her pose was well thought as she's sitting on a velvet chair. Her hand posture reflects the proper etiquette she contains. She is expressionless, but her eyes focuses on the camera perhaps as a fierce attitude. This photo is an antique because it was printed when there was no color photography yet. The costume she wears is quite tight especially at the waist, as she's probably wearing a corset underneath. The fluffiness of her skirt is from different layers of fabric being constructed together as a part of the dress. There is decoration from crochet in flowers pattern on the upper dress part. It seems that she is well-off because of what she's wearing and the general surrounding that's probably in the big European house. However, the fact that her waist is very tight, thick layers of long dress, and long tight sleeves reflect the idea of constricted body. Any movement made by her is probably difficult. The style she's wearing symbolizes her role as a female in the society that she's excluded from physical occupation and is assigned to take care of domestic affairs.
Fashion portrays the idea of identity in terms of gender role because its design reflects how a person live their lives (role in the society) and also how people in over the period of time see male and female differently based on the freedom given by the clothes.
http://www.jeongmeeyoon.com/aw_pinkblue.htm (Accessed 13 Nov 2015)
Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. This is a typical stereotype seen everywhere in the world. Linking the idea of color in fashion and the idea of gender together, female dresses in a certain way to indicate that she's a woman, and vice versa for the male. The little girl and boy in the photos are overwhelmed with these conventional toys and divide them between male and female.
The photograph series by Jeong Mee Yoon, The Pink & Blue Project (2005-present), reflects the idea of the stereotypical idea of gender differences nowadays that has shaped the way children think of themselves as distinct male or female in which affects the way they dress when they grow up as well. "This project explores the trends in cultural preferences and the differences in the tastes of children (and their parents) from diverse cultures, ethnic groups as well as gender socialization and identity. The concept of gender equality emerged and, as a result, reversed the perspective on the colors associated with each gender as well as the superficial connections that attached to them . Today, with the effects of advertising on consumer preferences, these color customs are a worldwide standard" (Taken from http://www.jeongmeeyoon.com/aw_pinkblue.htm).
The shades of pink, red, and purple for girls are found in domestic affair toys like cooking, dressing up, and make up, whereas, the color blue for boys portrays the idea of robot, science, dinosaurs, and robots. Parents may or may not be aware of the color stereotype, the way the children are raised with, in association of color and gender would help them understand gender different more as they grow up. Influences from what we understand of gender differences and how genders are portrayed differently in the media, men and women dress differently accordingly to their gender to assist their own understanding of gender differences.
Therefore, the difference in style and design of the female and male garments are because we are different gender, and we function differently in the society. Fashion helps us distinguish our role in the society and also helps up understand our own identity as well.