The Flirtation Between Fetish And High Fashion
Seductive. Hauty. Elusive. Expensive.
The aesthetic of latex, a glossy “second skin,” carries a certain cachet with it:
Namely, one by which the audacious, highly theatrical fashion shows of Thierry Mugler (circa ’80s/’90s haute couture) made for a spectacular pairing.
[nipped wasp waists :: architectural silhouettes :: black fabric shimmering as light refracts :: eva herzigova's hair the hue of a cloud :: free of flaw, this...]
Two weeks have passed since I posted my tribute to Mugler’s heydey in avantguardia, though the “revisitation” inspired by Danièle Bott’s latest bio-pictorial Galaxy Glamour seems to have triggered an obsessive tendency in me—one that, quite frankly, borders on hysteria.
Akin to the proverbial Moment as referenced in 12-step programs, I can pinpoint the onset of insanity down to its precise longitude and latitude: my library, and the moment in which I realized Fetish Fashion Fantasy is no longer housed among its shelves. Despite the fact that I’ve purchased multiple copies of this book for gift-giving purposes since its release in ’88, somehow my personal copy ended up “in circulation” (in this case, a euphemism for consigned to oblivion).
Long out of print, used copies start around the $200 mark. Ouch.
Then again, Mugler himself said that fashion “is wonderful and very cruel….a very demanding mistress.”
Perhaps the histrionics of haute aesthetics and glorified artifice are key factors in why I relate to—and covet—the obscenely over-priced and fantastically impractical articles of clothing, the sumptuous imagery, the artifacts of eccentric glamour? Contrariwise, what if the motivation behind such a carefully constructed question was to allay my subconscious with a conscious (and conscientious) alibi? Though as for what? Well, the rhetorical questions—how they abound…
As is oft the case with human nature, what we fetishize most is what we cannot—or currently do not—have.
Pictured Above: One Of The Greats “giving runway” for One Of The Greats: top model-turned-gallery owner/curator Honor Fraser
In my case, the absence of Mugler’s earlier work (namely, that of the glamorously severe and extravagant nature) being easily accessible for visual stimuli unleashed nodes of longing and frustration. Admittedly, I’m hyperbolic by nature—I am, after all, a writer; it’s my job to imbue a cotton puff with meaning, if assigned a topic as such. Nonetheless, when I divulge there’s yet to be a day in which my focus has wandered off into some facet of compulsive research/Müglermania? Well, if that were not the case, somehow I doubt I would have been able to find this gem unlabeled and untagged on imageshack:
the illustration for Mugler’s “rubber-tyre” suit, complete with clutch—
along with a discovery via photobucket…
(the ‘reveal’ of which is a retina-shattering, mind-melding, gooseflesh-inducing moment in the first video post at 2:11—not that I’d, uh, be so much of a freak that I’d be privy to such minutiae!)
So spot-on, it seems as if the order were reversed: the fashion design; then an artistic rendering.
Queued next among the archives,
here’s another piece of perfect:
“A Gun For Hire,” photographed by Helmut Newton for Mugler :: SOURCE: Fashion Beyond Fashion ::
magnificent in both its architectural structure and pitch-perfect elements of fetishism presented by each artist—as well as their artistic medium, the model. At once, she is both dressed and undressed; accessible to the viewer, yet unattainable: her waistline cinched, bosom hoisted, and the garment’s design? Stark and architectural, like her surroundings. Of course, the iconography of other fetish accoutrements are also present: garters, seamed stockings with matching opera-length gloves of the same silky material, sewn into a stitch.
Even the model’s expression is exquisitely fetishistic: she emotes an elegant cruelty, the poised disdain of a divine villainess. And why shouldn’t she? Tell me, upon first glance, did you happen to notice the gentleman splayed out behind her—a three piece-suited carcass suggestive of a slaughter?
My apologies. If you’ve made it this far in my ramblings, I’ve probably committed the equivalent by boring you to death!
what you really want to see is:
Eva Herzigova, fully letting us have it in those latex tights…
(And I can’t say I blame you!)
Plagued! Plagued I am—
Damned with an insistent urgency, this exhaustive need for further exploration.
Oh, how the definitive question remains, dangling like an empty clothes hanger:
Have I fetishized the designer’s fetishism?
Tags: archived material, coveted material, digital archives of Thierry Mugler, Eva Herzigova, fetish, fetish in haute couture, fetish in high fashion, fetish in the 1980s, fetish in the 1990s, fetishism, high-fashion fetish references, Honor Fraser, latex, Manfred, Mugler's exploration of fabrics, PVC, rubber, rubber clothing, rubberwear, runway archives of Thierry Mugler, the obsessions of Clint Catalyst, Thierry Mugler, Thierry Mugler archives, unconventional fabrication