Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gardens in Pockets

I came across an advertisement for Woolly School Gardens, a non-profit, in the New York Times. It made me think of Maria and her exploration of materials to use in her growing garments. These wolly pockets are made from "the highest quality, sustainable and locally produced materials we can find. Our breathable felt is made from 100% recycled post-consumer plastic bottles (PET)."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Contemporary Art or Material Culture?

I came across this article that touches on the nebulous, perhaps at times contested, space that contemporary costume and garment-based work occupies in the artworld. Since this is a topic of conversation and investigation in our class, I thought you all mightbe interested:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Clearly Communicating Expectations

In an effort to have frank and clear communication about the requirements of MME I and admittance to MMEII in the Spring, I have created the following rubric. Assessment criteria for this class are based on the fact that the class is an upper level capstone class, requiring a high degree of commitment, team-work and self-direction. Student performance will be evaluated on a case by case basis by me, your instructor, and by your colleague's/classmates' feedback. The intent in posting this 'rubric' is not to intimidate you; rather it is my attempt to make transparent the assessment criteria for this course, support each other's progress towards individual goals and towards the group's goal: the Multi Media Event in April.

In order to be admitted to MMEII, you must be able to demonstrate your ability to:

1. complete a substantive body of work by February that relates to the concepts discussed in this class, specifically experimental fashion.

2. constructively participate in the collaborative design, organization and production of a multi media event .

Satisfactory progress towards these two objectives will be assessed by the following criteria:

1. Presenting a compelling body of work that is at least 60% complete by December 14. This could be constituted by:

a. 3-4 completed ‘looks’, costumes or garments OR 7-8 looks that are 50% towards being completed, or equivalent

b. a proposal and completed elements/components for a performance, video project or other relevant work

2. Demonstrating the following in individual projects, class activities and assignments:

dependability and reliability (as demonstrated through follow-through on tasks and assignments, punctuality and attendance in class and class related events)

thoroughness and thoughtfulness in work (craftsmanship, care, attention to detail as relevant to the work being undertaken)

completing assignments and meeting deadlines

the ability to work independently and be self-directed

ability and willingness to communicate with peers and instructor (as demonstrated through active listening and participation in critiques, discussions in class, responsiveness over email, participation in the blog)

commitment to constructive collaboration with peers (as demonstrated through a balance between one's individual interests/needs and vision and those of the group)

being responsive and reflective towards feedback (as demonstrated by active listening, questioning, reflective journaling or writing, revisiting work and making revisions, etc.)

We will talk about this more in class. Please do not hesitate to ask me for clarification on any of these points.

I meant to post this a while ago but I never did. This is a video Harmony Korine did for Proenza Schouler's Fall 2010 collection. I thought it was a really interesting combination of art and promotion...
Anyway, it doesn't have anything to do with my presentation but I think everyone should watch it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Amelia - Edouard Lock

This dance film was shared on the Platform 13 website by Boudicca, the design team I will be presenting on. I know I will not have time to show this during my presentation time and its really not related to the designers other than that it has served for them as a beautiful piece of inspiration, as I think it can do for many members of the class.

The video can be accessed through this website
I'm sorry I can't embed it.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Janelle Monae: "Many Moons"

This music video, other than it portraying a multi media, plays with the ideas and the format of the runway. It uses the runway as an auction/slave block which plays with the ideas of commodity in fashion and the role of the model on the runway. When models are on the catwalk are we being sold the clothing or the model and the idea we can look like them? Also the idea of the model being just a walking mannequin, or androids in this case. Also it uses the format of the runway as a narrative element which I find very interesting and helps to flow ideas of how a runway show can be more multi-dimensional and in-depth.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pointer: The Shoe Building Process

My friend came across and sent me a video on how shoes are made, so I thought I'd share this with you. I can't get the video directly on here, so here's the link to the blog it was posted on Yin&Yang

Follow Up/References

We spoke briefly about the following pieces in class, so I thought I would share images and links with you all here:

Alexander McQueen's S/S 1999 show (pictured above and on vimeo via this link.) I highly recommend a perusal of the designer/artist's website archive of runway video footage that goes back to 2002.

Christo and Jean-Claude's Wedding Dress (above) and the iconic crocheted wedding dress made by Yves St. Laurent (below)

As an aside, it might be worthwhile noting the relationship to the following garment by Hussein Chalayan a few decades later:

We also spoke about Home-Made, the book about the objects made in post-Soviet Russia. A link to images from the book (and links to other related websites and blogs about craft, low-tech design and the handmade) can be found here.

Another great resource for viewing a lot of work from a variety of fashion designers is the searchable database at NY Magazine.

Lastly, I also mentioned the embroidered hospital gown obsessively embroidered by Alice Ligon circa 1949.

Paying your Materials Fee

1. Go to MICA Store website:

2. Click on “Fibers Art Supplies”

3. Find your fiber course/s by class name and or instructor name.

4. Click on your appropriate course or courses and add to your cart.

5. The website will then ask for an email and password, “registration” information.

6. Click “register” if not already registered and make an email and password.

7. Once registered, continue to make payment online with Micard Flex Account or credit card information.

8. The transaction is recorded digitally so there is no need to bring the receipt back to the Fiber Department for a tally.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

High Zero Festival

This week marks the beginning of the High Zero Festival, the premier festival of Improvised, Experimental music on the East Coast, fully devoted to new collaborations between the most inspired improvisors from around the world.

The festival brings together 28 core musicians each year, but also involves a much larger subculture of musicians in Baltimore and on the East Coast. Unlike many related festivals, High Zero is not narrow in terms of sensibility or subculture, but rather widely inclusive of all the different types of experimental music-making in the moment. The fact that half of the festival's core participants are from Baltimore speaks to the depth of Baltimore's experimental music subculture, which in recent years has grown to be one of the richest cities in the country for experimental art.

Lady Gaga and the Meat Dress

Lady Gaga, a former Tisch student at NYU, seems to have dipped into fashion and performance art history yet again. He recent appearance on the MTV music awards wearing a dress made of flank steak, and designed by Franc Fernandez drew much attention. However, in none of the coverage did I see a reference to the work of Jana Sterbak, performance artist who created a flank or 'skirt' steak dress in 1987 entitled: Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic.

Lady Gaga in her meat dress at the 2010 MTV Music Awards.

Jana Sterbak, wearing her meat dress (above) and an image of the piece (below), 1987.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Origins of Inspiration

Traditional Northern Indian Headdress, possibly Nepal

As we consider the various influences and sources of inspiration in our work, and reconsider Peter Wollen's closing words in "Art and Fashion: Friends or Enemies", I thought I would share the following excerpt from Anne West's essay "Weaving Out Loud":

The visual symbolic language - the condensation of widely shared and deeply felt information and experience into primal nodes of truth - is at once universal and particular, dynamic and radical. For a visual symbol to communicate subtle, hidden life and function with spiritual grandeur and fecundity, it must be allowed to pervade all levels of reality, from the mental layer through the mythic. Lamentably, in contemporary Western culture's tendency toward an ever increasing, devitalizing fragmentation, few are in touch with the resonant, unifying power of shared, symbolic language. Vital symbols, once a treasure for constructing an understanding ofour humanness and a means to further spiritual life, have been eroded by what communication critic Neil Postman calls "the great symbol drain" by technology: the trivialization of the symbolic language by entertainment enterprises whose sole interest in the visual is to further commerce. Public myths and images circulated daily in the media make difficult the maintenance of a holistic perception of the world and the ability to establish relative priorities from the multitude of sensations that engulf us. Today we consume images, yet we do not know how to access their deeper sources and meaning. Cosmic truths, with a grammar and syntax of a shared symbolic language, have been ignored or overwhelmed by technology and progress. The opportunity for grasping the substance of our lives and a sense of rootedness and continuity has faded as the pace of activity has increased." (p.62)

Christian Dior runway look circa 2001

There are myriad examples of the situation described above in the mass media, and in the world of fashion where cultural signifiers are often appropriated willy-nilly for visual effect.

However, artists/cultural workers, from the Dada cabarets to the warehouse performances of Baltimore, have worked along a different vein. They search through the chaotic pile of cultural material and the rubble of blown-up 'truths', endeavoring to understand, make sense of, reconstruct or recontextualize - in a meaningful way - the myths, customs, rituals and stories we inherit from our many ancestors.


In response to Rachel's post of Pieter Stockmans work, and our discussion about fashion and design history, I thought it appropriate to post the following image:

Lady Gaga 2010 (left) and the Skeleton Dress by Elsa Schiaparelli (codesigned with Salvador Dali in 1938)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pieter Stockmans

Pieter Stockmans is an artist (creator of Studio Pieter Stockmans), who is exploring the relationship between materials and the human body, more specifically ceramics. These are some images from one of his "performances" (he does not label them runway shows). See more at (art > see more pictures of the art collection > performances).


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Resources and References

Suit (Tyvek), James Rosenquist for Hugo Boss, 1998 (Metropolitan Museum Collection.)
Mariano Fortuny's Delphos Dress with Wrap, c. 1920 (Metropolitan Museum Collection)

In addition to the resources available through the research databases, you may also be interested in perusing the following:

British Pathe, a news and entertainment video film archive covering 90,000 videos covering newsreel, sports footage, social history documentaries, entertainment and music stories from 1896 to 1976.BoldYou can find footage of fashion shows from the 1940s and other more unusual fare!

Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable with The Velvet Underground

The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, sometimes simply called Plastic Inevitable or EPI, was a series of multimedia events organized by Andy Warhol between 1966 and 1967, featuring musical performances by The Velvet Underground and Nico, screenings of Warhol's films, and dancing and performances by regulars of Warhol's Factory, especially Mary Woronov and Gerard Malanga. Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable is also the title of a 18 minute film by Ronald Nameth with recordings from one week of performances of the shows which were filmed in Chicago, Illinois in 1966. The Exploding Plastic Inevitable had its beginnings in an event staged on January 13, 1966 at a dinner for the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry. This event, called "Up-Tight", included performances by The Velvet Underground and Nico, along with Malanga and Edie Sedgwick as dancers.[from Wikipedia]

On UbuWeb:

Couregge and Paco Rabanne

A clip from a German Television Show, "Paris Aktuell" (1968) shows the influence of the space age and fascination with futurism in the designs of the day.

The Triadic Ballet and Rondo

Still from Hilary Harp and Suzie Silver's 2005 Rondo

Costumes from Oskar Schlemmer's 1922 Triadic Ballet

The web between fashion, costume, dance and experimental performance is complex. We viewed an excerpt from Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet today, which - despite its origins in 1920s Germany, remains influential and inspiring to contemporary artists and designers. In the words of the artists who created "Rondo", a multi media performance and installation in 2005:

Rondo (2005)
Embracing curator Laura Domencic’s theme of “play” we created Rondo specifically for the 2005 Pittsburgh Biennial. Inspired both by Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet and by the kaleidoscopic dance routines of Busby Berkeley, Rondo is pure spectacle. We combined the live action improvisatory movements of Mark and Christine Cato, outfitted in absurd geometric costumes, with digitally animated forms and physically constructed models. The resulting assemblage presents a layered machine or system in which figures, constructed forms, and digital abstractions intermingle in a dynamic and colorful matrix. Presented in an oversized geometric kiosk, the video can be viewed from any starting point and defies any narrative expectations. Paired with a large projection of a virtual mechanical system the installation suggests the ridiculous workings of a pointless, but visually pleasing machine.

LOIE FULLER and the Serpentine Dance

Related to Peter Wollen's Art & Fashion:Friends or Enemies, were a series of images about the various artistic movements during fin-de-siecle France, as well as the interwar and postwar years in Europe.

We looked at images of Loie Fuller, an American-born dancer, choreographer, performer and inventor, whose Serpentine Dance may have inspired modern dance movement spearheaded by women like Isadora Duncan. The Serpentine Dance was captured on film in 1896 by pioneering filmmakers Auguste and Louis Lumiere.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Christophe Coppens

Christophe Coppens is a Belgian milliner and fashion designer. Unfortunately, his personal website is under construction but you can still find arresting images of his work sprinkled around the internet.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Florence and the Machine: the Dog Days are Over!!!!!

WOW!!!!!THis made me think of the event portion of this class, in the music video its like a celebration, and event. AND THE COSTUMES ARE SOOOOO BEAUTIFUL AS IS THE MAKEUP!!!!! THATS SOMETHING I HAVENT YET THOugHT ABOut MAKEUP!!!!!????


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Art & Fashion Friends

David Bowie, accompanied by Klaus Nomi on Saturday Night Live in 1979.

In Peter Wollen's Art and Fashion: Friends or Enemies, the discussion revolves in part around the interdependent relationships that have long existed among designers and artists. I will be presenting some images and examples of this in a slide presentation next week, but also thought about the way in which this played out in the New York club scene in the 80s. The Club Kids were inspired (in part) by David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character, who in turn found inspiration in club personalities like Klaus Nomi. In an excerpt from Wikipedia, an example of this cross pollination of inspiration is described well:

David Bowie heard about Nomi's performances in New York, and soon after met him and Joey Arias at the Mudd Club. Bowie hired them as performers and back-up singers for his appearance on Saturday Night Live which aired on December 15, 1979. The band performed "TVC 15", "The Man Who Sold the World", and "Boys Keep Swinging". During the performance of "TVC 15", Nomi and Arias dragged around a large prop pink poodle with a television screen in its mouth. Nomi was so impressed with the plastic quasi-tuxedo suit that Bowie wore during "The Man Who Sold the World" that he commissioned one to be made for himself. Nomi can be seen wearing the suit on the cover of his self-titled album, as well as during a number of his music videos. Nomi wore his variant of the outfit, in monochromatic black-and-white with spandex and makeup to match, up until the last few months of his life, when he… wore a Baroque era operatic outfit complete with full collar.

Klaus Nomi

Diesel - Be Stupid Ad Campaign

Diesel Stupid Philosophy

Like balloons, we are filled with hopes and dreams. But. Over time a single sentence creeps into our lives. Don’t be stupid. It’s the crusher of possibility. It’s the worlds greatest deflator. The world is full of smart people. Doing all kind of smart things… Thats smart.
Well, we’re with stupid. Stupid is the relentless pursuit of a regret free life. Smart may have the brains…
but stupid has the balls. The smart might recognize things for how they are. The stupid see things for how they could be. Smart critiques. Stupid creates. The fact is if we didnt have stupid thoughts wed have no interesting thoughts at all. Smart may have the plans… but stupid has the stories.
Smart may have the authority but stupid has one hell of a hangover. Its not smart to take risks… Its stupid.
To be stupid is to be brave. The stupid isnt afraid to fail. The stupid know there are worse things than failure… like not even trying.
Smart had one good idea, and that idea was stupid. You can’t outsmart stupid. So don’t even try. Remember only stupid can be truly brilliant. ( Source from Diesel )

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Grass is Greener

Check out the work of Heather Akroyd and Dan Harvey who have been exploring photosynthesis, photography and sculpture for the last two decades.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy - Curatorial Talk - Part 1 of 3

Learn more about the exhibition:

The symbolic and metaphorical associations between fashion and the superhero are explored in this compelling exhibition. Featuring movie costumes, avant-garde haute couture, and high-performance sportswear, it reveals how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body. Objects are organized thematically around particular superheroes, whose movie costumes and superpowers are catalysts for the discussion of key concepts of superheroism and their expression in fashion.

Curatorial Talk to staff given by Andrew Bolton, curator, The Costume Institute


John Cage's Rules for Students and Teachers

John Cage's "Rules"
  1. Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.
  2. General duties of a student--pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
  3. General duties of a teacher--pull everything out of your students.
  4. Consider everything an experiment.
  5. Be self-disciplined--this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
  6. Nothing is a mistake. There's no win and no fail, there's only make.
  7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It's the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
  8. Don't try to create and analyze at the same time. They're different processes.
  9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.
  10. Break rules. Even your own rules. Leave plenty of room for X quantities.


I saw this blog post this morning and could help but share.See Bjork wearing other crazy and amazing things:
I stumbled on this croatian website while doing random google searches.  I don't read croatian, but I gathered that it was a sort of culture blog focusing on traditionally influenced hairstyles where croatian women could upload their own creations.  I like the fact that these elaborate updos are created by everyday women and not high-end hairstylists.  I'm interested in the way updos combine tradition, beauty, and practicality.  you can find the whole slideshow at:   aaaaand you can attempt to navigate more of this croatian website:  ---Ginny

Club Kids

From Leigh Bowery to Boy George, there are innumberable examples in fashion history of 'club kids' that had a lasting impression on the design world. Visit this Picasa page, for a collection of images of "The Club Kids", a group of young New York City club personalities mostly led by Michael Alig and James St. James in the late 1980s and early 1990s.