The illustrious fASHION PEOPLE were in attendance at the opening to Walter Van Beirendonck: Dream the World Awake, distributing next season’s most coveted item: the 'beardy weirdy'.
fashion People is an open and inclusive model of a 'fashion house' directed by RMIT lecturer and researcher Dr. Ricarda Bigolin and PhD candidate Adele Varcoe as part of an ongoing research project. Using the associated formats and languages of fashion design, fashion People investigate the way speculative and imaginative fashion products might encourage participation and social engagement. Body parts not normally 'fashioned' or sites for garments and accessories are chosen as suggestive and evocative fashion articles. The way these items encourage performance, expression and disrupt social interactions in public spaces is the intention behind the design process.
For the opening of Walter Van Beirendonck: Dream the World Awake, fashion People responded to the rich iconography of Beirendonck's practice to propose next season’s most coveted item, the 'beardy weirdy'.
The notoriety and potent symbolism of the beard was treated as an opportunity to investigate how fashion might represent the beard and how might a beard becomes a luxurious and desirable item? Revealing and interrogating the gesture of wearing a beard promoted a consideration of the simplest way to conceal/camouflage the lower section or jawline of the face. Inspiration was derived from the action of sticking a 'post it' note to the chin or even a stray tissue stuck on the side of the face offers as a constructed and simple or accidental way of 'bearding' the face. Along this line of thought, the format of a silk handkerchief was chosen as way to elegantly 'beard' the face. Four designs with playful suggestions of hair growth patterns were flocked onto silk chiffon in a variety of natural, clashing, joyous and challenging colour combinations. A matching flocked silk chiffon chain enabled the wearer to easily drape the beard around the ears, neck or head. With the operative of creating desire, a limited number of beards were distributed at the opening, reaching a peak when Associate Professor Robyn Healy encouraged the audience to 'beard up' during her address at the opening. Those unlucky enough to miss out on the beardy weirdy were left asking or contemplating a way to attain one, manifesting the way that desire in fashion is both embedded in the beauty of materiality of items but also through the context in which they are expressed to the world.
fashion People: Beardy Weirdy
Dr. Ricarda Bigolin
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