The Phantom Jacket

The Phantom Jacket

Le Corbusier and the buried legacy of Le Forestière

The persona of the architect first emerged in the Renaissance, when the discipline forcibly elevated itself above the building trades, professionalising what was previously a vocational pursuit. This schism created the need for a distinct professional identity, as, like doctors and priests, architects now required a uniform. The all-black clothing of the architect is now ubiquitous within the discipline, and its diverse associations with other social groups such as punks, beatniks and monks are all useful in cultivating the architect’s mystique. No other figure is a better exemplar of this tendency than Le Corbusier.

READ MORE

Aquanautica: Fathoming Futures of Underwater Apparel?

Aquanautica: Fathoming Futures of Underwater Apparel?

Can we fathom a framework for underwater fashion? Iconographies of underwater pursuits and their accompanying imaginaries find frequent form in fashion; think of Alexander McQueen’s Atlantis collection which featured his iconic ‘Manta’ dresses, digitally printed to conjure piscatory flesh, like armoured underwater camouflage. But what about the apparel actually worn underwater? If our knowledge of the undersea world is indebted to diving, then it is also indebted to the habitat apparel of deep-sea diving dress. The spheres of activity joined together by the practice of diving are webbed and vast, entangling the ancient art of pearl diving and spearfishing, histories of ornament, and the emergence in the eighteenth century of the discipline of natural history.

READ MORE

Hello, Welcome. I’m John.

Hello, Welcome. I’m John.

Each Maasai has about six outfits. Men wear robes – we call them shuka – in different colours and patterns. You can wear whichever colour combination you like, as long as there is red in it. Red is very important. I’m wearing two shuka tied together now. It has to be long, to cover the body but not so long that you can’t run in it. Would I ever wear Western clothes? Well maybe if I went to Europe.

READ MORE

Are fashion designers made or born?

Are fashion designers made or born?

Class, Aspiration and Pedagogy in India

The discourse on class mobility is pervasive in contemporary India, and is in itself seen to be one of liberalised India’s greatest fruits. In particular, the public imagination often portrays creative professionals as fuelled by drive and ambition and thus capable of rupturing historical boundaries of class and caste thanks to this imagined innate power. The National Institute of Fashion Technology Delhi is one of the places where students continue to flock in order to emerge as successful creatives. But considering how many students come from upper caste and class backgrounds, is this idea of class travel a mere myth?

READ MORE

The Hat

The Hat

Varenka quickly got dressed, grabbed her new hat and once again began trying it on.

‘Absolutely stunning! Especially like this, from the side…’

Oh! What a woman can get away with when she’s wearing a hat like this! Things that a woman wearing any old hat wouldn’t even dare to dream of.

READ MORE

What’s the pointe?

What’s the pointe?

‘Ballet is a purely female thing; it is a woman, a garden of beautiful flowers and man is the gardener,’ the impresario George Balanchine reflected to Life Magazine in 1965. Ballet is an art form enmeshed with its history: steps drawn up in the court of Louis XIV remain today; blockbuster ballets like ‘The Nutcracker,’ ‘Swan Lake,’ and ‘Giselle’ were choreographed a century ago and gendered roles of prince and princess habitually play out with men lifting and women being lifted en pointe. A ballerina dancing en pointe transcends, she floats but she does not meet her partner on equal footing.

READ MORE