Sunday, January 16, 2011

Voids and Vitrines: A-Dressing Female Sexuality

It's not groundbreaking to make fashion from a psychoanalytical perspective; Bella Freud did that capably a couple of decades ago with her famous Freudian Slip dress.

This floaty frock boasted a large image of the designer's grandfather, Dr. Freud, on its front.

I am, however, currently intrigued by two dresses that call upon the latent Lacanian scholar in me, dresses that appear to represent perspectives on female sexuality by depicting portals at each garment's midsection.

For his spring 2009 collection, Christopher Kane printed enormous heads of gorillas, baboons, and apes on tops and dresses, each with a wide open mouth.

Notice the placement of the gorilla's mouth

Is the gaping mouth on these dresses suggestive of a Freudian abyss, a void?

If so, there is a cheerier prospect for spring 2011, via the designer Mary Katrantzou.

Katrantzou's portals are well-appointed rooms (wombs?) with a good view.

in Vogue's Index, January 2011

worn with a cozy

Her images come from photographs by Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton, photographers who knew a thing or two about picturing female sexuality themselves.

Which portal do you prefer, gentle readers? Kane's black hole?  Or Katrantzou's "dress-ing room"?


WendyB said...

What does it say about me that I like the gaping void?

materfamilias said...

so interesting to read this just as I'm immersed in the psychoanalytic, working my way through Claudia Benthien's cultural history of skin (which, inevitably, looks at the metaphor of skin as clothing). So glad to have your so-observant eye on the fashion world, making these witty, apt connections.

La Belette Rouge said...

I want the Freud frock. I could wear it to work and write it off as a business expense.

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

Wow! I don't know why, but I find the Black Hole dress weirdly disturbing... I'd love to wear the "dress-ing room" one though and would proudly wear on a daily basis. Love from London xo