Monday, June 15, 2009

Apocalyptic Beauty?






Christopher Kane Resort 2010
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Although Christopher Kane claims that the subversive and disturbing images on his quite pretty and feminine dresses were from "images of nuclear test explosions from the fifties to the seventies," one can hardly divorce those "test" images from the actual ones resulting in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb explosions in 1945 that killed over 200,000 people. For a certain generation, those images are akin to our more current ones of two planes piercing the Twin Towers (and imagine the outrage if that image was used as fashion's canvas).
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But this is Christopher Kane: his spring 2009 collection featured close-ups shots of growling apes (from Planet of the Apes), and he won over fashionistas everywhere with the charm of a troglodyte (remember King Kong? We're Ann Darrow in his hairy grip). Despite all of the shock and indignation that his Resort collection incites, it also musters our admiration, awe, and wonder, as if some beauty is possible in this decimated afterglow. It reminds me of a Pixar movie that I finally saw that earned my disgust despite its widespread popularity: Wall-E. The ominous wasteland of endless trash; the obese, paralytic, and horizontal television-watching humans; the humane machines that are, ironically, more human than the actual ones: these apocalyptic messages awoke in me a kind of existential antipathy I had not expected when I sat down to watch a family-friendly film. Of course, as my brothers rightly pointed out, the redemption that arrives in the shape of a fragile plant in a boot does speak to some hope. Perhaps the future isn't as bad as it seems. Perhaps some beauty can be found after all.
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I certainly hope that this is Kane's message. The last two looks do resemble a floral sky, and if one blinks, those earlier images of war and destruction fade away.

3 comments:

-h said...

i dont get why everyone loves those ape shirts so much. or those margiela wolf shirts. not my cup of tea i guess.

miss cavendish said...

If you look at these dresses from an ecofeminist perspective, they're disturbing indeed: I'm no adherent to the woman = nature equation, because I find it essentialist and hence limiting, but explosive nuclear style as presented by the female body? I think I'll stick to the sun and the moon and the stars . . .

TLT said...

His concept is certainly innovative if rather unsettling. I do think that his message is meant to be positive and uplifting, however; as you mentioned, the last two dresses show a golden-yellow sky that's finally clearing, and no more of that disturbing white smoke...