Creative Process Journal: The Uncanny

Viktor and Rolf L'Hiver de L'Amour 1994
This post marks the beginning of a new creative project - that I've tentatively titled The Uncanny. The spark of inspiration for this project comes from a passage I read in the book Adorned in Dreams where fashion scholar Elizabeth Wilson considers the unsettling feelings created by the haunting spectre of costumed mannequins within a museum setting:

The living observer moves with a sense of mounting panic, through a world of the dead…We experience a sense of the uncanny when we gaze at garments that had an intimate relationship with human beings long since gone to their graves. For clothes are so much part of our living, moving selves that, frozen on display in the mausoleums of culture, they hint at something only half understood, sinister, threatening, the atrophy of the body, and the evanescent of life. (Wilson 1).

The element of the uncanny reminded me of the Viktor and Rolf retrospective exhibition at the at the Barbican Gallery in London in 2008 in which porcelain dolls of various sizes were used to present the designer duo’s fifteen years of work. The installation played with scale and was somewhat like a trip to Alice in Wonderland, which was exactly the intent of the exhibition designers (Evans 6).

Viktor and Rolf had used dolls in their collections before. Dolls were part of an early collection called “Launch” presented at the Torch Gallery in Amsterdam in October 1996 in which they presented their hopes and dreams for the future in the form of a miniature design studio, runway show, photographic shoot and boutique. Dolls reappeared in their subsequent collections as well and became the locus of their retrospective at the Barbican.

Over the weeks to come, I will explore the idea of the uncanny, dipping into Freud's essay of that name and as well as researching related topics like mannequins, dolls and the museum. The final outcome will be a visual response to this material. I hope you'll join me on my creative journey!

Evans, Caroline and Frankel, Susannah. The House of Viktor and Rolf. London: Merrell, 2008.
Wilson, Elizabeth. Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity. London: I.B. Tauris, 1985, reprinted 2011.

Huidenstraat, Amsterdam

Yves Saint Laurent SS12 PARIS

Yves Saint Laurent, SS 2012, Paris, Erjona Ala and Kasia Struss.
In honor of Stefano Pilati's leaving that was announced today:( SO SAD!

And that concludes SS2012! 
Stay tuned for AW 2012 which is happening right now, will be posting the new season this week!
And follow me on Facebook for more regular updates:)

Valentino SS12 PARIS

Valentino, SS 2012, Paris, Bette Franke and Freja Beha Erichsen.
My most favorite of ALL the shows. Give me a job Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri!

Louis Vuitton SS12 PARIS

Louis Vuitton, SS 2012, Paris, Morgane Warnier and Fei Fei Sun.
Marc Jacobs threatening Karl as the next big showman! Incredible presentation.

What's on the Fashion Calendar for March

March offers a number of exciting museum exhibitions related to fashion. The host cities span the globe:  from Los Angeles to Paris and between.

Peggy Moffitt wearing Rudi Gernreich
Photo from MOCA West Hollywood (Pacific Centre)
The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt, and William Claxton opened this past weekend in Los Angeles at the MOCA West Hollywood Pacific Centre. This exhibition celebrates the collaboration between fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, his model and muse Peggy Moffitt, and Moffitt's late husband, the photographer William Claxton, who created the distinctive images of Moffitt activating Gernreich's designs. The exhibition features selected looks from Moffitt's definitive collection, with films and photographs by Claxton of Moffitt modeling the clothes. "Fashion will go out of fashion" is one of Gernreich's many memorable declarations, but his designs continue to resonate, and still look modern 50 years after they were made. This exhibition will run until May 20, 2012.

Untitled #225, Cindy Sherman 1990
A retrospective of the work of American photographer Cindy Sherman opened this past week at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This exhibition traces her career from the mid-1970s to the present, bringing together 171 key photographs from the artist’s significant series—including the complete ―Untitled Film Stills (1977–80), centerfolds (1981), and history portraits (1988–90)—plus examples from all of her most important bodies of work, ranging from her fashion photography of the early 1980s to the breakthrough sex pictures of 1992 to her 2003–04 clowns and monumental society portraits from 2008. In addition, the exhibition features the American premiere of her 2010 photographic mural. Of special note is a gallery devoted to her work made for the fashion industry which showcases her commissions from 1983 to 2011. The exhibition runs until June 11, 2012, but if you cannot make it, the MOMA website offers an interactive digital gallery here.

Prada coat 1994-95 for The Sea at the Phoenix Art Museum 
On March 3, 2012, the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona will present The Sea in the Ellman Fashion Design Gallery. This exhibition explores the far-reaching influence of the romance of the sea on fashion design and includes ensembles from the 19th century to the present time, including Emilio Pucci, Emanuel Ungaro and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. This exhibit runs until July 15, 2012.

Marc Jacobs at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs
Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs will open at Musee des Arts Decoratifs on March 9, 2012. This exhibition tells the stories of two men of fashion, separated by a century, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, and will highlight their contributions to the fashion world. Designed to be an analysis rather than a retrospective, this parallel Vuitton-Jacobs comparison is intended to provide new insight into the fashion system during its pivotal periods, beginning with its industrialisation and ending with its globalisation, focussing also on its artistic professions and crafts, technological advances, stylistic creations and artistic collaborations.

The Art of Kuboku and Hisako Takaku
at the San Diego Museum of Fine Art
San Diego Museum of Fine Art in California presents an exhibition called Dyeing Elegance: Asian Modernism and the Art of Kūboku and Hisako Takaku which opened earlier this month. The artist Kuboku Takaku (1908–1993) perfected the ancient Japanese technique of wax-resist dyeing to create textile paintings on obi, kimono, and screens, merging cubist and modernist styles.  His daughter Hisako (born 1944) is now one of the last living artists who preserves the knowledge of this painstaking dyeing technique, and her obi and kimono continue to be among the most chic and sought-after throughout Japan. In this exhibition 71 obi, kimono, and other textile paintings of Kuboku and Hisako Takaku have been borrowed from museums and collectors and are on display outside of Japan for the first time.

Floral Pants, Amsterdam


..discovered this cute (if slightly overpriced) little restaurant called Poulette in Prenzlauer Berg. Loving the HAND PAINTED floral walls. So prrrretty!


You couldn't be more literal about getting in the mood for spring fashion..... Me likey! Prints by Sarah Ball for Anthropology

On The Nine Streets, Amsterdam

Oscar-worthy Gowns

Marchesa F/W 2012
Marchesa F/W 2012
Marchesa F/W 2012
Marchesa F/W 2012
Marchesa F/W 2012
Details of Back 
These exquisite gowns from Marchesa's recent F/W 2012 runway at New York Fashion Week embody the glamour and elegance of old-world Hollywood - making them perfect for the red carpet of the Academy Awards.

Photo credits:

Blue & Pink, Amsterdam

Dare to Wear Love at the Textile Museum of Canada

Dare to Wear Love at the Textile Museum of Canada
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
The patterns and vibrancy of African cloth will blow away the cobwebs of the winter if you venture out to see the colourful Dare to Wear Love exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada. This exhibition was designed to raise awareness and funds for grassroots organizations who are turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and showcases the work of Canada's top fashion designers including Brian Bailey, David Dixon, Fashion Crimes, Linda Lundström, Hoax Couture, Izzy Camerilli, and others. The designers have used African cloth to create fashionable pieces that celebrate creativity and social responsibility.

Dare to Wear Love 2 at the Textile Museum of Canada
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
Dare to Wear Love - Child's Dress by Izzy Camerilli
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2012
This tightly curated and beautifully displayed exhibition will run until May 6, 2012.

Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue (at Dundas Street West)
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2H5

Isabel Marant SS12 PARIS

Isabel Marant, SS 2012, Paris, Arizona Muse and Bette Franke.
I know this is SS but all I want for winter is multi-colour hand made knits!

Haider Ackermann SS12 PARIS

Haider Ackermann, SS 2012, Paris, Janice Alida and Melissa Tammerijn.
Such a beautiful projection of what this man (Haider) would wear if he was a woman.

Gareth Pugh SS12 PARIS

Gareth Pugh, SS 2012, Paris, Elsa Sylvan and Alla Kostromichova.
Amazing Shapes in stiff plastics. Loved the white feather eye make-up!

Hartenstraat, Amsterdam

My Picks from New York Fashion Week, Part 2

Marc Jacobs FW 2012
There seems to be a library chic/fashion geek vibe in this next batch of shows at New York Fashion Week. Although some designers seem to push that vibe into the frumpy (especially at Marc Jacobs and Rodarte), there are lots of wearable looks here. And since I am the penultimate fashion geek (one fashion magazine editor recently declared my my voice "too academic"), I selected these looks based on my own preferences. Perhaps they are not as elegant and sexy and the previous batch, but it is nice to mix it up!

J Crew FW 2012

Marc Jacobs FW 2012
Oscar de la Rente FW 2012
Michael Kors FW 2012
With so many designers, so many looks and so many shows, there really is something that suits almost everyone. To see more, visit

Photos sourced from

Carven SS12 PARIS

Carven, SS 2012, Paris, Kate Kosushkina and Larissa Hoffman.
My two very fashionable friends Andrea and Poppy got me onto this label, THANKYOU!

Emanuel Ungaro SS12 PARIS

Emanuel Ungaro, SS 2012, Paris, Aymeline Valade and Hanne Gaby Odiele.
My favorite colours in beautiful silk prints! But we need a head designer please!

My Picks from New York Fashion Week, Part 1

Victoria Beckham FW 2012
Of the shows so far, my favourite looks come from Victoria Beckham. Elegant, sexy and streamlined, these wearable dresses are ones that I would welcome into my wardrobe.

Victoria Beckham FW 2012

Victoria Beckham FW 2012

DVF FW 2012
Other favourites from the shows so far include Diane Von Furstenberg and Donna Karan. Funny how women designers seem to know what other women want.

DKNY FW 2012
Tommy Hilfiger FW 2012
Far too many looks from the runway seem heavy-handed and depressing (in spite of the tweets of fashion writers who seem to like everything they see). The predominance of black, leather and bondage inspired looks on the runway so far makes for a gloomy outlook, especially in Thieysken's Theory, Jeremy Laing, Carolina Herrera, and Zac Posen). At this point in the winter, I am utterly sick of black and welcome pops of colour into my wardrobe. With so many collections, they start to run together and all look the same. For me, elegance rules the day and Victoria Beckham is the new design star.

Photo credits:
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