29 March 2010

Intimacy and Armor in Fashion

I buy lingerie when I am in love. I buy jewelry when I have been disappointed in love. I think it is a sort of armoring. It is a retreat inside of a fortress. It adds ostentatious value to me. I like feeling the weight around my neck, on my ears and wrists, and wrapped around my fingers. It sometimes invites, and sometimes prohibits. But it is always between--a layer of metal and stone between me and the world.

 The season six Project Runway winner, Irina Shabayeva, had an interesting take on women and their fashion armor in her winning collection. She dressed her models in close-fitting, leather/faux-leather black, donning them with helmets. Her philosophy behind the collection was that women in New York City are often, because they need to be, warriorlike.

When I am in love, my fashion thoughts turn to the underlayer--not necessarily in an overtly sexual way, but in an intimate, delicate and inviting way. I think, contra most popular belief, lingerie doesn't need to be a soft weapon, but rather a welcoming and beautiful repose. There is something about filigree, also, which visually imitates the complexity and nuances of intimacy. Most fashion works on broad, sweeping themes--smoothing curves, isolating a color palette and shapes almost like creating a brand. Lingerie, while it does adhere to these principles somewhat, allows the body to speak more for itself, and with a complexity and subtlety we rarely allow ourselves to share with other human beings.

The idea of refuge, whether alone or with others, is essential to a concept of "home." Where we draw boundaries, who we let in, and how we treat them once they are there is essential. A British lingerie company reported an increase in sales since the recession. This perhaps suggests a return to more fundamental things--the soft and the safe. There is something about softness and about creating safe spaces for ourselves and for others that is fundamental to our humanness and to our concept of home.

This beautiful piece is from Etsy shop SarafinaDreams.

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