Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crinolines and corsets are back....Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2013

In Sarah Burton's exploration of the feminine silhouette for Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2013, the body has been transformed by the extraneous supra-structures of the crinoline and corset. Playing with transparency and concealment, Burton has carved out a wasp-waisted, hyper-feminine look, reminiscent of the crinoline craze in the mid-19th century and Dior's New Look in the mid-20th century.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2013
The designer said: “The collection is a study of femininity. We looked at erotica. Vargas girls, cages, corsets and crinolines and the idealisation of the female form. Nothing is set in a particular period. It’s about sensuality and skin but not nudity. We also wanted to express lightness, for the clothes almost to hover over the women who wear them.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2013
This is not the first time that the exaggerated silhouette of crinolines has been invoked as a source of inspiration by a contemporary designer (see my post on Crinolines in Contemporary Fashion from 2009 and Crinolines and Yohji Yamamoto from 2011). In recent years, Viktor and Rolf, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Yohji Yamamoto,  and John Galliano for Dior have also invoked this hyper-feminine structure.

According to sociologist Jean Baudrillard,  fashion in the post-modern world exists for its own sake with the recycling of appearances creating a veil of triviality within the aesthetic of renewal. This inherent lack of utility and logic creates the opportunity for passion and subversion, which has been achieved to perfection in Burton's designs for Spring/Summer 2013. This collection is, for me,  a visual representation of Jean Baudrillard's almost impenetrable essay called "Fashion, The Enchanting Spectacle of the Code".

To see the video presentation of the Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2013 collection, link here.

Fashion, or the Enchanting Spectacle of the Code by Jean Baudrillard in M. Gane (ed.) Symbolic Exchange and Death, Sage Publications 1993.

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