Saturday, January 17, 2009
I fit in a trip to NYC recently to visit the Dark Glamour exhibition at FIT.
There are several layers to the Dark Glamour exhibition, which is held, appropriately, in the dark basement of the FIT museum. After descending a staircase, one opens the tomb-like double doors to the exhibition area. Immediately, you're launched into the history of "Gothic" as a cultural force. An introductory theme is the culture of mourning as one antecedent of what is known as "Gothic". Shown are a variety of historical mourning garments such as this one from the Victorian era.
This dress, below, is a modern creation by Kambriel. The use of corsetry (dark restraint) and the romanticism of the lush, midnight black fabric, complemented by the ornate hairstyle and makeup, including blood-red lips, creates quite a seductive combination, without, however, showing any skin, except for the upper chest. To me, that's the appeal of Gothic style - luxurious darkness and structure. A statement of restraint and deep quiet can be very appealing. Sexy in a way different than is often seen today.
The exhibit was divided into several sections. There was a cabinet of curiosities, containing a death mask from the 1800s, jewelry of different sorts, some with a skull motif. One pair of earrings was made of severed bird talons, onto which Tahitian pearls were strung. The earrings were macabrely beautiful. They drew me closer, and repelled me at the same time.
The color red was prevalant, and was used most often, next to black. This dress, above, by Rodarte, is a confection of silk. Below, a different by John Galliano, is from 2000. Red symbolizes passion, blood, life.
My take away - fashion is ephemeral. Gothic style reminds me that we, too - at least, in our physical form, are also ephemeral.
So, celebrate the chance to enjoy the flower while it blooms...revel in the joy of every day..now!