fashion: April 2004 Archives

(un)Fashion

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Tibor and Maira Kalman's book (un)Fashion is the result of Tibor's desire to "catalog his giddy obsession with mankind's ingenious expression". With only a handful of words and hundreds of photographs of clothing and costumes from around the world, I get something different out of this book every time I pick it up.

The pictures are grouped into high-level categories based on:

  • parts of the body (eyewear, footwear, etc.)

  • type (accessories, underwear, uniforms, body art, etc.)

  • function (garments used to carry other humans, modesty, etc.)

  • context (work, play, death, etc.)
  • The variations within each category, as expressed through different lifestyles and cultures, are fascinating. "Work" includes photos of traditionally-dressed chimney sweeps in France; a Samoan businessman dressed in a shirt, tie and skirt; a Peruvian man carrying what must be a 150-pound fish on his back; and two French cocktail hostesses wearing black leotards and dresses made of translucent tiered serving plates holding tiny cakes. "Body Art" includes a picture of a tribesman from Papua New Guinea wearing traditional face paint across from a photo of a Nigerian soccer fan who has painted his face and chest with his team's colors.

    These and other visual pairings in the book probe questions of what is appropriate to wear, how we place value on clothing and accessories, and why we adorn ourselves. But if you're not in the mood to do any deep thinking, just toss the book on your coffee table and enjoy the beautiful pictures.

    If you're reading this, then you haven't yet been distracted by the eyeball picture. I applaud you. I also applaud the merging of technology and fashion that resulted in this limited edition phone (only 99 are being made) from Motorola and designer Vivienne Westwood.

    This is exactly the type of product I've been waiting for, and I'm extremely excited about the possibilities that this type of partnership may lead to in the future as we move beyond gadgets and on to garments.

    ***

    My interest in wearables is mostly limited to things worn on, not in, the body, but I just couldn't resist including the "JewelEye". God help me if I ever decide to have jewelry implanted in my eyeball, but apparently there's a waiting list of people who are up for it. The procedure takes only 15 minutes (!) and is said to have no side effects. I can only imagine that this will pave the way for more functional eyeball implants such as miniaturized displays. Eeesh.

    - Both items via notes from somewhere bizarre, a very cool site.

    About this Archive

    This page is a archive of entries in the fashion category from April 2004.

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