July 17, 2013 - Unbecoming.

   Today I ventured out in the oppressive heat, right into the heart of the garment district, an area that overbearing weather seems to be accentuated due to the crowds and the amount of energy passing through.  I think about this stuff that I am about to write a lot, especially when watching people on the subway, and ESPECIALLY in the summer.  Hot, humid weather causes our bodies to rebel against all of the measures that we take to hide the fact that we are, in fact, bodies.  You can literally see where every sweat pore is on a person's back as the skin tries to cool itself systematically through wringing out fluids.  The pull of a button, just enough to see some skin, the hem of a pant leg snagged on the heel of a shoe, the twist of an armhole leaving a mark.  These subtleties are tears in the fabric of our constructed personas, exposing our reluctant human-ness and vulnerability that we so desperately aim to mask.  Clothing allows us to transcend our bodies into symbols of economic, sexual, psychological, and emotional power, clinging to these transformations as we would our immortal perceptions of our selves.  I love both ends of this spectrum.  I love when I see someone so dramatically accessorized that they almost seem like they could be a character out of a movie, but I also love when I see a little pathetic sliver of flesh or a sad worn out shoe.  We are constantly both of these things in our own minds anyway, wavering from one to the other over and over.  Thinking about these measures we take in becoming, I was reminded of something I saw on BBC's Human Planet (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00d8tt5) In one episode, they cover the courtship ritual of Guerewol in Niger practiced by the Wodaabe Fula people.  Along with the intense movements within the dance practice itself, the elaborate make up and dress is totally fascinating, namely that they use the crushed, charred bones of egrets to color their lips black.  This is such a gesture and I think about it often.  Not only are men performing for the opportunity for procreation, but they are doing it with such care and precision.  It is so insanely human, but simultaneously so carnally animal.    

July 16, 2013 - knit dress

July 16, 2013 - as worn