In 1998, Argentinian artist Nicola Constantino created ‘Peletería Humana’ (Human fur Boutique), a window display with twenty mannequins showing off Nicola’s heeled shoes, dresses and handbags. These elegant designs were fashion forward in a peculiar way: all pieces were made out of real human hair and colored latex cloth which patterns and textures imitated human nipples. The material, reminiscent of real human skin. was a definite erotic but also sickeningly monstrous and abnormal characteristic that made many recoil in disgust.
The attractive yet repulsive pieces delineate the artist’s ideas about two highly addictive societal desires: expensive consumer goods and sex. By creating these garments out of human hair and cloth that reproduced the human skin, she entices the viewer to see, simultaneously, both desires in the same object. We can also say that her ‘elegant’, high end creations (all which are wearable pieces of art) play with notions of the natural and the artificial, ideas of identity in a consumer society, and the materiality of the human body in contemporary times.
Australian artist CJ Hendry takes the items consumers long for: fashion accessories, high-end labels, designer purses, shoes and luxuriously-packaged perfumes, and spends days recreating them with absolute precision. Although there is precious little information to be found about the artist online (she maintains an active Instagram account, but does not seem to have a website or bio), it is quite obvious that she has an interest in seduction. By using the items which seduce consumers and inspire fashion choices, Hendry in turn makes them more seductive through her large-scale, pen and ink renderings of them, stating “It is all about the object. I am a product person and that is obvious through my obsession with the particular placement of each piece. It starts with the acquisition of the product I am intrigued by or have been obsessing over.” Hatching, shading and intricate line-work are used to entice the eye, an extension of the principles used by the fashion industry, designers, and advertisers to tempt the desires of consumer culture.
When asked to describe her detailed but simplistic rendering style in an interview with Youthedesigner, Hendry stated “There are so many ways to describe my style and I am sure people will have different things to say. I look at finished pieces and feel a strong feeling of simplicity. That might sound strange because most pieces are so detailed in their own right but the intentional use of negative space encourages an uncomplicated reaction with all focus on the object.” (via booooooom and youthedesigner)
Joining 3D printing and digital textile printing, the idea of a sprayable, wearable and fabric has the inventors of Fabrican LTD imaging the possibilities which go beyond its initial usage in the fashion industry. Fabrican’s ‘Euraka!’ moment came from another famous canned sprayable, Silly String. The science of the process involves the creation of a liquid suspension which is then applied using a spray gun or aerosol canister. The resulting sprayed fabric has natural, synthetic and recycled fiber options, and when applied typically feels like a breathable suede.
Practical applications have ranged past fashion shows into automobile interiors, furniture upholstery and even entire rooms (the material is easily washable). The fabric can be embedded with a variety of supplements and additives which make separate colors, patterns and (which also opens up the possibilities of quick-creating medical applications such as casts, bandages and even antiseptic-wound cleansing).
According to Fabrican-inventor, Spanish fashion designer Manel Torres, “As a non-woven material, Spray-on Fabric offers possibilities for binding, lining, repairing, layering, covering and moulding in ways previously not imaginable.”
Watch a slightly NSFW video of Fabrican LTD in action after the jump!
The photoseries Skins by British photographer Rosanna Jones has all the necessary elements of alluring art; a distinctive and unique perspective, inventive technique and haunting imagery. Describing herself as a fashion and portraiture photographer, as well as a mixed media artist, Jones currently studies photography at Falmouth University in Cornwall, UK. Created as part of her Final Major Project, Jones began the series investigating how the face many of us present publicly ends up being the front which conceals our true nature from ourselves. This perspective is particularly poignant for a fashion photographer, who no doubt has seen firsthand an industry which is quite openly based on hiding and disguising imperfections. Says Jones, “…my theme was Concealment - looking at concealing ourselves until we’re no longer recognisable.”
Jones’ work was also inspired by another photographer known for obscuring the human form, Rik Garrett and his Symbiosis series. Garrett explains his artistic goal in the over-painted photos as “erasing the boundaries of the human body. By applying paint directly to the surface of photographs, I have actualized an impossible dream…” a process that when paralleled to Jones’ Skin series creates a unique bond between the two photoseries.
Jones is intentionally vague on the specifics of how the over-painted and (possibly) collaged images are created, which only adds more allure to the shrouded and obscured works. Says Jones, ”A few people were confused when seeing them in real life about what they literally were – the more mystery the better I say – but they’re digital photo collages which are then overpainted”, giving each work both emotive beauty and metaphorical weight rarely seen in conventional fashion photography.
The artwork Andrea Hasler if nothing else is a critique of consumerism. Her Burdens of Excess series resemble the strange blend of designer fashion and a slaughterhouse. Fleshy blobs bulge between straps and buttons nearly turning the high fashion accessories into bizarre creatures. Zippers and stitching even begin to seem like biological features. Still, our “natural” biological sides as human is a jarring contrast to ideas as contrived as fashion, luxury, even money.
The press release from her recent show at Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles states:
“Hasler’s work focuses on constructions of identity and collective desires, and is characterized by a tension between attraction and repulsion. The works in the Desire series, in particular, focus on the obsession of projections of affluence and glamor. Reworking designer bags, shoes, and accessories into organ-resemblant sculptures, Hasler’s works engage with the psychological aspects of consumerism, blurring the lines between what you are and what you must have.
Through the transformation of GUSFORD’s Melrose Avenue gallery space into an indulgent, glamorous shop, Hasler’s installation embodies the epitome of luxurious excess, and looks to a dystopic future, where branded organs may one day be the ultimate fashion accessory.”
Watch a video of her installation at Gusford Gallery as well as a short interview with the artist after the jump.
The work of Koen Hauser floats somewhere between fine art and fashion photography. His series Modische Atlas der Anatomie illustrates this well. The series’ title is a kind play on words – literally it translates as “Fashionable Anatomy Atlas”, yet with a single vowel change it can be translated as “Medical Anatomy Atlas”. In the series, his subject seem to be modeling her organs as much as her clothes. Portions of the model’s body are cut away to reveal her inner workings. However, rather than depict the organs true to life, Hauser referenced traditional anatomy atlas’ – artistic medical reference works.
Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.
But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.
Yoko Ono needs no introduction. She is a well established art superstar and one of my personal favorites. Ono has a new video called “Make-Up Tips for Men” (made as part of her clothing line for Opening Ceremony). Over “uh-huh”s and a club beat, men are given commands like, “When you see a rainbow in the sky. Breathe it in,” or “Let everything in your room shine and sparkle.” Grooming be damned! (via)