Re-Orienting Fashion

Global fashion is at it again! I’m so excited by the ad-packed Spring issue of Vogue only because it’s right on par with my nomad escapist fantasies as of late. I could write a rip-tide of an entry on all global musings cluttering my brain like excited butterflies, but I’ll focus my current energies on the Eastern corner of the globe. 

Fascinating that Oriental aesthetics are, again, creeping into the West. I say “Oriental” not just to be provocative, but to encompass the essence of how I feel Westerners perceive Asian countries, particularly China and Japan. My American history is a little rusty (probably cuz the only interesting thing about high school history was that my teacher’s red-tinged cheeks and hot attitude always made the students think he was drunk), but Columbus perceived India somewhat of an exotic enigma, didn’t he? Before he gave everyone syphilis? 

Anyway, snarky comments aside, Asia is the land of the exotic and fetishized restraint, from geishas to Dragon Ladies, to cheongsams and bound feet. I’m neither of Chinese nor Japanese heritage, but I still consider women of either background as sisters from a different mother(land) and the exotification of Asian cultures irritates me. 

Aside from creating aesthetic pleasures and expressing the creative self, fashion serves its purpose as a “place” to play. And in this economic day and age, we can never have too many opportunities to play. Can I get an amen! Escape, escape, escape –that’s the name of the game. Because Asia is typically known to Westerners as filled with mysterious and exotic Others, it becomes the fashion world’s most sought after playground. 

The ethnic boom this Spring is Belgian designer, Dries Van Noten’s forte. His Spring collection exhibits at full-force his signature style, an eclectic mixture of prints reminiscent of China and Southeast Asia. I hate that I’m so influenced by trends, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued by the all the pretty colors! 

 

Artist Yang Fudong provides a more intellectual exploration of the modernity of China in his film short “First Spring” for Prada’s Spring 2010 collection. 

Rather than pretend I know what I’m talking about, I’ll let Susie Bubble analyze Fudong’s representations of the various dynasties, 1920’s Shanghai and surrealist elements intersecting with Prada’s fashion-forward thinking. 

 

Floating people...surreal...

 

Scorpion hair coifs and neck-breaking headgear

 

Haunted by Dynasties past

 

East meets West meets Old World meets New World

 

The modernity of China

 

Suspicious eyes

 Images from Style Bubble

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