Friday, May 14, 2010

Visible Invisbility

by PeiRong Zhou

The juxtaposition of the two contradicting words, with the former suggesting prominence and ease of perception and the latter suggesting concealment and obscurity, brings about a conflicted hegemony of drawing attention to a form, which in theory, would provide camouflage, and a sense of hiding behind it.

Malcolm Barnard discusses in the third chapter of Fashion as Communication the idea of clothing as a form of protection. This could be for physical protection and comfort and specifically in this essay, protection against the harsh elements of fall and winter. Barnard also mentions the use of thick, dark-coloured and stiff clothing as protection against Moral dangers and clothing offering protection ‘against the general unfriendliness of the world’ or ‘as a reassurance against the lack of love’. In the previous chapter Fashion, Clothing, Communication and Culture, he writes about an argument proposed by Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood that garments could be used as ‘fences or bridges’, where fences signify a segegration or isolation, a barrier, and bridges signify a bringing together, a connection.

The Satorialist

Visible invisibility is the term coined to describe the situation when one dresses in a way that suggests a form of ‘hiding behind’ and anonymity but instead, draws attention. The connotative ‘hiding behind’ and anonymity ties into the fences, where there is an idea of distancing and differentiating oneself from others. It also suggests the idea of camouflage and blending in to certain extent.

Left The Satorialist and right Yohji Yamamoto

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