Monday, 26 April 2010

today's diary

  • tried screen printing for the first time at Camberwell
  • was printing photos taken from last project onto translucent materials; tracing paper and white chiffon, to see if layering them would look good... It didn't really work very well!
  • but will see how it turns out tomorrow when it's dry.
  • think I used too much ink but main thing was that converting photos into black and white took away too much detail

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Emmet Gowin
Edith and Moth Flight 2002

Nicholas Hughs
In Darkness Visible (Verse) #17 2007

Sarah Pickering
White Goods 2007/2008

Just a few photos from the photographers gallry at the V&A which I thought could be relevant for my project. I like what was said about Sarah Pickering's photograph which was that at first glance you would think it was a charcoal drawing and not a photo, which is what I found when I saw it.

Fashion standing still

I visited the Fashion section at the Victoria and Albert Museum; another example of making fashion static. It was set out as a timeline, taking pieces of clothing from each era and displaying them chronologically around the room. To be honest, I don't think garments, especially those as beautiful as the collection in the V&A, should be kept on a still mannequin, behind a glass panel. The dim lighting and the grey walls in the gallery seemed to me to take the grandeur out of most of the clothes, especially Vivienne Westwood's 'Watteau' evening gown. I don't think the clothes can be enjoyed for what they are when they are displayed in a gallery; you can't feel the material, you can't see how it moves and fits on a living model and you can't examine the way it is made. I do agree that a lot of these garments are works of art and pieces of fashion history but it seemed somewhat unnatural to see them so still. However, i guess that in another way, this sort of display does mean that the garments are really standing on their own, and can be appreciated for the works of art they are, rather than being styled to look good with the right model, or in a styled photoshoot.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

fashion fades...

“Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Coco Chanel

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

New direction

After talking to Susan, my tutor, about the trouble I am having with solidifying my concept, I now have decided to go in a slightly different direction. The main problem I was having was that although I knew that I still wanted to investigate ghosts, shadows and specters, I wasn't entirely of my reasons for doing this. However, after researching a little into what these terms actually mean, particularly 'specter' I found that they convey something that is fleeting, like a glimpse of something from past, present or future and then it is gone, but it doesn't die - it can return. And this is something that can definitely be related to fashion, because fashion is ephemeral.

Therefore, in having my concept based around the idea of ghosts, I am going to relate it to the speed of the fashion industry and one of the main things I am going to look at is the way a magazine locates fashion trends in time; how it solidifies fashion and seems to stop it in its tracks - at least until the next month or whenever the next issue is out. But at the same time as being completely solid and giving all the current information on fashion, a magazine is still ephemeral and throw away, as soon as you have finished reading it, it's out of date; its last seasons trends.

I am thinking of creating a mock magazine, still incorporating photography, but explaining the ephemeral quality of fashion and quoting Caroline Evans and Jacques Derrida. Obviously much more research and thinking is needed for this idea and this is what I will do next.

Specters of Marx

relevant quotes from Specters of Marx by Jacques Derrida:

"a ghost never dies, it remains always to come and to come back." p. 99
"The specter, as its name indicates, is the frequency of a certain visibility. But the visibility of something invisible. And visibility, by its essence, is not seen, which is why it remains epekeina tes ousias, beyond the phenomenon or beyond being." p.100

Monday, 19 April 2010

Crit No. 1

Today was the first day back at Camberwell after the easter holidays, and so was the first crit of our Final Major Projects. The main thing that came out of this for me was that although there are lots of ideas and a there's a lot I can experiment with, my research has been too broad and has strayed from the original idea which means that I do not have a solid concept. This is something I want to work on as soon as possible because using this first week to create a rich research file is essential to moving on with my project.
I need to focus on giving more depth to my concept, which started off with the idea of 'ghost' clothes. I want to research more into the idea of what the terms 'ghost', 'specter' and 'shadow' mean in different contexts and need to experiment more with making clothing from translucent material and black and white photography. I have started reading The Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International by Jaques Derrida. Derrida explains and interprets the many ghostly metaphors in Marx's writings and establishes what Marx means by 'the specter of communism'. Although Derrida delves deeper into the meaning of the terms 'ghost' and 'specter' than I plan to do, his thoughts are useful and could lend something to my project, however I will write more about him once I have read and understood more of the book.

Also, another fashion photographer I have found who works in black and white is Paolo Roversi. There is something different about his photographs compared to other black and white pictures, I think its to do with a lower contrast in shade and a softer edge, yet he still manages to create a stiking image:

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Appearance of the Void

Another collection by Viktor and Rolf which also included the idea of shadows was their earlier 1995 installation L'Appaarence du Vide meaning The Appearance of the Void. This collection was based on the emptiness that the two designers felt was overtaking fashion. They believed that fashion was becoming superficial, it was becoming about the supermodels and the designers as stars rather than cloth and form. The completely gold lamé pieces were inspired by the superficiality and commercial use of wrapping paper and ribbons. Each gold garment was hanging from the ceiling and had its own shadow counterpart laid on the floor and made from black organza. Overall the installation was there to show the overblown glamour of fashion, contrasted with the emptiness that it was rapidly becoming.

The way the garments are hanging remind me of Caroline Broadhead's art which I researched for my previous project.

Creating an installation similar to these two is something I would also like to experiment with for my FMP. I think the hanging garments really give an atmosphere of emptiness and seem to convey ghostly memories of garments which is the basis of my proposal. Shelley Fox is another fashion designer who I researched for my previous project. Her Philadelphia Florist collection was also displayed as an installation rather than down a catwalk. Her idea was to give the installation a feeling of having just walked into someone's room where clothes have been tried on and disregarded so the entirely white garments are hanging from hooks and then draped over white blocks. This gave the idea of 'leftovers' as though they were once loved but are now forgotten.

Shelley Fox's website:

pictures found here


Viktor and Rolf's Autumn/Winter 2001-2 collection Black Hole was an entirely black collection where even the model's on the catwalk had their faces and hands blacked out. The lack of colour and pattern gave made the shape and silhouette of the garments the focus of the collection. The designers commented that the collection was based on black holes which absorb all light and energy and it came out of their own depression. However, I am more interested in the way the models,being completely clothed and painted in black, look like disembodied shadows. It seems like a way of making a flat shape come to life - 'a way of making empty shapes become visible'.

This is something I would like to explore further myself by experimenting with real life black and white photography/film giving the illusion that what is actually colour photography is black and white.


I visited the Gagosian Gallery for the 'Crash' exhibition which took its title from the famous novel by JG Ballard.

I have used the car not only as a sexual image, but as a total metaphor for man's life in today's society.
--JG Ballard

Before I visited the gallery i knew that the exhibition was not entirely relevant to my concept, however I found a few pieces which could really inspire my project. As the title of the exhibition suggests, a lot of the art in the gallery had links to destruction and decay as this is what inspired Ballard to write Bangwallop. I was interested to find a few fashion photographs by Helmut Newton which were all done in black and white, using deep shadows, similar to the kind of photography I am looking at for my project. Another piece which caught my eye was Francis Bacon's Still Life, Broken Statue and Shadow, 1984 shown above. It's as though the shadow is the ghost of the broken statue.

Pictures found here.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Carrying on from previous project:

Photographs from previous project.
I intended these photos to have an ethereal quality and I was inspired by an editorial found in Dazed and Confused magazine, which showcased garments made from translucent materials similar to the chiffon I used in my own photoshoot. I think the title of the Dazed and Confused editorial is relevant;

I made some 'ghost' jeans from translucent navy chiffon and although these worked well, they did not have the same ethereal effect in photographs as they did in reality where you are able to touch them and feel the weightless quality. Because of this, for my final major project I want also to experiment with different ways of displaying clothing and believe that clothing photographed hanging from hooks or hangers rather than actually being displayed on the body may have that more 'ghostly', forgotten quality that I am looking for.


The idea for my Final Major Project stems from a previous project in which I looked at the way clothes deteriorate as we wear them. This idea came after noticing the faded colours and tears in a pair of jeans I constantly wore, which I still keep but no longer wear. This led to an idea of ‘ghost’ clothes and I started experimenting with shadow and translucent material with an ephemeral quality.

For my FMP I also intend to research further fashion curation as this tends to deal with the display of past fashions; garments which are kept yet no longer worn.

Above are drawings from my previous project showing ripped/old and deteriorating garments which I already own.