arrrgh! monsters in fashion

Photography courtesy of Sheri Chiu

The monsters well known to sleep under the bed have joined forces with 58 established and upcoming fashion designers to create the imaginative ‘ARRRGH! Monsters in Fashion’ exhibition in Paris. Eighty mesmerizing creatures are presented at La Gaîté Lyrique, fashioned by Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Gareth Pugh, and Rick Owens to name a few. These monsters are unusual characters that test our comforts and conventions, reminding us that our differences are an important value to defend.

“ARRRGH!” is the cry of surprise, fear and worry. We scream to send a message to others, to notify them of potential danger. It is that very scream that reminds us that we depend on other’s human relationships to coexist. The monsters in this exhibition bring us together to study our fear and to reflect on fashion norms.

Photography by Sheri Chiu

What is a monster? For the ancient Greeks the word ‘monster’ described anything that was inexplicably strange, including the astonishing, heavenly, phenomena of the world and universe.

In the current fashion industry, the human body is constantly mutated into mysterious, strange, and sometimes monstrous figures. Designers and artists experiment to provide unusual shapes with textiles, creating abnormal forms and extreme volumes. These artists mask the human face and dress the body with animated colours, while simultaneously adding abstract elements.

Photography by Sheri Chiu

In today’s globalised society, ‘natural beauty’ is questioned. What is considered beautiful and desirable in one culture can be revolting in another.

In this exhibition, fashion steers clear of ‘Who I am,’ but focuses on ‘What I experience.”

What lies hidden behind a person or an identity? What constitutes identity in a secularized society in which we see ourselves both as a citizen of the world and as a member of a local community? Besides our real lives we now also lead virtual, digital lives on the Internet. We create and develop our very own avatar. Then who do we become when we look within ourselves and give our fears and fantasies free rein?

Photography by Sheri Chiu

ARRRGH! Monsters in Fashion is at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris from now until April 7, 2013

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Words / Sheri Chiu
Follow her on Twitter @schiuonthis

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