In the last few years, the word ‘feminism’ has gained a new currency in the fashion industry. Emblematically written on a white T-shirt, the phrase sounds like a manifesto, yet it arguably fails to dialogue with the long history of feminism, the women’s liberation movement, and their intersections with the history of fashion. For Rosa Genoni, her work in fashion; her ideological commitment to the workers’ and women’s struggle; and her all out opposition to war and fascism were all overlapping and intersecting activities.
In a new millennium, Bond is faced with many difficult tasks; these have included parachuting into the London Olympics beside the Queen as well as taking on multinational crime syndicates headed by shadowy constantly-morphing villains. Now it seems he may have to fight battles and companies much nearer to home, if he is to preserve his own stylish image.
I’ve dressed kings, queens, beggars, prostitutes, lawyers, bankers. I dressed Gram Parsons, Dolly Parton, John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, The Rolling Stones, The Jackson Five and all four Hank Williams. I made Elvis’ gold lamé suit, and people say that I put Johnny Cash in black, but I’ve never in my life felt the need to be important or rich. I hate money, because of what it does to people. When Barbara Walters asked Johnny Cash about the black suits I made him he said, ‘I wore black before, but nobody put me in a better black than Manuel.’
Few directors have been as prolific in their lifetime as Kenneth Anger. Blending surrealism and the occult with homoeroticism, psychodrama and unashamed spectacle you could perhaps say that Anger’s whole vocation has been an ode to the art of magic. An early follower of Aleister Crowley’s teachings, Anger at various stages in his life mixed with occult practitioners and artists as diverse as Jean Cocteau, Anaïs Nin, Anton LaVey, Mick Jagger and Jack Parsons, and his life is as shrouded in myth and legend as his work is.
Desire. Intention. Ambition. If fashion has long been the crowning companion of the wealthy, it can also be a powerful accomplice to the disadvantaged through its sense of play and artifice. Assuming a persona can be empowering, and manipulating it adds to the irony. So what happens when the disaffected communities of New York take their dreams to the ballroom?
With the power to transgress social codes and conventions, clothes can reveal themselves as a weapon, a provocation, a liberation; in darker times, repression. From documentaries to features to recordings of performances, this series of films explores fashion’s intimate complicity to the film medium in order to summon power in both contemporary and past times.
In the realm of spectacle, fashion and image reign. Agents of illusion and artifice, they play a role within the system and game of hierarchy. With Italian filmmaker and provocateur Frederico Fellini’s unbridled theatricality, the Catholic Church comes under such consideration and mockery.