(The Forest Can Hide Us by Maria Mastori & Filep Motwary)
"The theme of the collection this time is MONSTER," observes Rei Kawakubo about her insanely oversized, insanely cool Fall 2014 Comme des Garçons collection. "It's not about the typical Monster you find in sci-fi and video games. The expression of the Monsters I have made has a much deeper meaning. The craziness of humanity, the fear we all have, the feeling of going beyond common sense, the absence of ordinariness, expressed by something extremely big, by something that could be ugly or beautiful. In other words, I wanted to question the established standards of beauty."
Starting with her opening look, which immediately brought to mind that awesome giant suit in 1984's Stop Making Sense. David Byrne seriously rocked that outfit, noting that "I try never to wear my own clothes. I pretend I’m someone else. I wanted my head to appear smaller and the easiest way to do that was to make my body bigger.” (David Byrne image: source)
Thanks to that giant suit.
(All the World's a Stage by Piers Atkinson)
What I did find interesting was how a play of proportions in 1984 morphed over the next three decades into monsters. Although Kawakubo's monster wasn't meant to reference the literal bogeymen that inhabit the Syfy channel and World of Warcraft, that breed of monster resonates precisely because it depicts a face that fits the myriad weird undercurrents making life today feel perpetually puppet-stringed and off-balance, including quagmires like:
Is Monsanto really planning bio-genecide via GMO?
What really goes on when the Bilderberg group meets?
Is shit really that different from shinola?
Modern monsters are becoming so spooky and unsettling, they need to be portrayed in a way that is video-game'y and humorous. Fashionable helps, too, judging by the number of monstrous creations prowling the catwalk. From atypical shapes to strange fabrics to extreme volumes that cover and mask the face, the body appears transformed into something hybrid and supernatural, even. The ARRRGH! Monsters in Fashion exhibition recently explored this phenomenon using designs by Rick Owens, Issey Miyake, Bernhard Willhelm, Walter van Beirendonck, Viktor & Rolf, Bas Kosters, Bart Hess, Charlie Le Mindu, Maison Martin Margiela and others - 40 designers in all, both established and emerging. Curated by ATOPOS Contemporary Visual Culture, a curatorial and artistic collective in Greece, they also compiled their research into Not a Toy, Fashioning Radical Characters (Pictoplasma Publishing, Berlin; 2011). (image)
Monsters and other scary things, including the pop culture swirl around the Endtimes, are one of the strong interests (some would say fixations) of the Apocalytical fashion tribe*. And if interesting fashion like this results, then I say: fixate away!
*[NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT EACH FASHION TRIBE, START HERE]
at right: Out of this World, Alexis Themistocleous (source)
Podcast music: Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
- Lesley Scott