VOLTA Fashion & Lifestyle Society
The sole responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the authors. Its contents do not reflect the opinion of the University Students’ Council of the University of Western Ontario (“USC”). The USC assumes no responsibility or liability for any error, inaccuracy, omission or comment contained in this publication or for any use that may be made of such information by the reader.
table of contents 04 CONTRIBUTORS this issue’s Volta team
14 W. EUGENE SMITH by Emily Smibert
05 EDITOR’S LETTER Kasia Knap and Nicole Lippay
15 MODERN MUSE by Joanna Braund
07 MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS notable magazine members
16 ORGANIC BEAUTY Takaya-inspired headdresses
08 COVER PAGE & SPONSOR the production team behind the cover image
22 CULTURE London’s highlights of spring
09 THE ECCENTRIC STYLE PARADOX by Emily Fister
26 THE MIDDLE SEX the trend of masculine feminine dichotomy
10 IN SEASON transitioning textures
32 THE DEATH OF PAINTING by Jag Raina
36 THE VIRGIN SUICIDES classic shapes with a peacock- inspired colour palette 44 PEACOCK PARADE by Nicole Lippay 46 WELL SUITED tailored spring ready to wear 58 THE SPECTACLE OF KITSCH by Kasia Knap 62 PRINT IT a daring new way to mix prints 70 SUBLETY IS KING by Andrew Pel
CO-EDITORS IN CHIEF Kasia Knap and Nicole Lippay CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT LARGE Emma Barrett
WOMEN’S FASHION DIRECTOR Trisha Paguyo
CREATIVE ADVISOR AT LARGE Shaista Kitabi
LAYOUT DIRECTOR Kasia Knap, Jacqueline Mok
MEN’S FASHION DIRECTOR Daniel Canavan HEAD WOMEN’S STYLIST Faustina Sari Setiawan
CREATIVE ADVISORS John Zackhary Erica Aversa Kennedy Ryan Adam Jan
CONTRIBUTING LAYOUT EDITORS Joyce Yu Mary Wong Kerstin Maciuk
WOMEN’S STYLISTS Patricia Omoruwa Stephanie Wood Dipti Kewalramani Shivani Patel Tania Ramkumar Alexa Prest
PHOTOGRAPHERS Sorin Popa Jacqueline Mok Jan Kuzan Mack Ludlow Katelyn Landry Maira Tilson
MEN’S HEAD STYLIST Rel Ollivirrie
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jessica Francis-Raven Emily Fister Kasia Knap Andrew Pel
MEN’S STYLISTS: Aaron Gray Armin Hossni Merrick Chan ASSISTANT MEN’S STYLIST: Kevin Hurren
WRITERS Emily Fister Emily Smibert Joanna Braund Jacqueline Mok Shaista Kitabi Jag Raina Emma Barrett Misha Gajewski Kevin Hurren Keerat Kaur Trisha Paguyo Nicole Lippay Kasia Knap Andrew Pel MAKEUP ARTIST Jasneet Nijjar MODELS Bianca Peluso Paul Comartin Dominik Dobransky Jonas Welisch Anneli Loo Shradda Inamdar Ashley Byers Elsa Fridriksson Feras Amacha Naila Abdullayeva Mica Lemiski Qamar Abdi Shantana Thompson Caitlin Herold
LITERARY EDITORS Emily Smibert, Andrew Pel TEXT EDITOR Emily Johnpulle FASHION BLOG Kennedy Ryan Erin Riley Dipti Kewalramani WEB DESIGN Dipti Kewalramani Kasia Knap
Letter from the Editors
Welcome to the spring 2012 issue of Volta Magazine! This year has been an incredible step forward for our entire team, and we are thrilled to have been able to release two issues. For the spring edition, we focused on current sociopolitical issues affecting university students, and the trends surrounding us this season. In “The Middle Sex” and “Print It” editorials, we used trends to create bold looks while maintaining a student sensibility. We wanted to encapsulate the whimsical aspects of the trends, still keeping in mind their wearability. For “The Middle Sex” editorial, photographer Jan Kuzan composited multiple images to experiment with lighting for dramatic effect. We were able to maintain our strong rapport with both Mesh Boutique and American Apparel, and were happy to feature their clothing once again. The articles featured in this issue are relevant to the political scene of 2012, and issues the student body has taken an active interest in. As students prepare to leave the Western bubble, we hope that they will begin to inform and educate themselves on current issues: these articles offer a sampling of various undertakings that influence our culture. As our final issue working together, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped to build Volta to be the successful publication you hold before you. Our team inspired us and motivated us; our success is attributed to their dedication and enthusiasm. We have greatly appreciated all of the support we have received in the past two years, and sincerely hope that you enjoy the issue. Your editors, Kasia Knap
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
Faustina Sari Setiawan: Head Womenâ€™s Stylist As the youngest member of our team, Faustina has contributed and styled for all the photo shoots in this issue. She is quick at doing tasks and very job-oriented. Staying true to her Balinese roots, we canâ€™t help but marvel over how pleased she is to accept any spicyeating food contest. Her favorite things include the beach, rummaging through flea markets, and discreetly snapping photographs of the most candid moments behind the scenes.
Jasneet Nijjar: Make-Up Artist Although a Sociology student, Jasneet Nijjar showcases her artistic talent as she takes on the large responsibility of makeup artist for this year. Her easy going personality enables her to be flexible and patient; and with her large prepared kit it allowed for any look possible. She definitely added to the team dynamic, and we had a great time working with her.
Jan Kuzan: Photographer More than just a pretty face, this first year student impressed us with his original ideas. Soft spoken and easygoing, Jan worked well with the team, in directing his own shoot. His light panning technique was something we had never tried before, but we were happy to see his hard work pay off. Jan is fascinated with African elephants and the colour burgundy.
COVER Photographer: Jan Kuzan Creative Director: Jan Kuzan Fashion Director: Trisha Paguyo Make-Up: Jasneet Nijjar Model: Ashley Byers
written by EMILY FISTER
The Eccentric Style Paradox
photo by Emily Fister
At the intersection of Broadway and East 14th Street in New York City, a distressed trendsetter lies on the ground. Tailored in an original creation with a palette colourful enough to rival a Skittles commercial, he remains unnoticed. A young businesswoman proudly displays a Louis Vuitton handbag, striding past the eccentric. I snap a couple photos out of curiosity and adopt the role of a street style blogger. After all, the homeless guy on the ground is a peculiar spectacle with a style as brash as Nicki Minaj. North American popular culture thrives on unconventional style. No longer strictly reserved for the likes of the Alexander McQueen catwalk, bizarre fashion is the new norm. With the rise of shock queen Lady Gaga, the dominant trend over the past few years has been to mimic art and evoke mass critique. Pop singers like Minaj and Katy Perry become sartorial aliens as they constantly try to one-up one other. At last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, Minaj fastened the contents of a playpen to her hips and legs. For the appearance of grandeur at the Grammys, Perry donned a futuristic gladiator get-up—with blue hair to differentiate herself from Madonna. I return to the photograph: the man casually lounging on the city concrete. He deserves a name. For the purpose of this article, the unlikely visionary will be referred to as “Andy.”
I’m not suggesting that pedestrians should worship this lowly man in uppity Manhattan’s Union Square, but they shouldn’t so easily dismiss him. After spending an afternoon in the neighbourhood, my small-town eyes are constantly drawn to the details of his costume. The cartoonish quality of spastic patterns recalls the sheen of pop art. The outfit is one part commercial, one part satire. There’s a certain familiarity to the flashy, over-the-top headdress comprised of felt and feathers. There’s also an element of excess: too much material; too much colour, and not the typical “hobo” stereotype in burlap brown. Andy is an inescapable exhibition, much like the wall-to-wall fluorescent signs of Times Square. However, his creation is not branded. It’s not part of the Summer 2012 line for Thierry Mugler or Betsey Johnson. But, if worn by one of the Gaga caricatures, it could generate monstrous media buzz. I envision an E! reporter interviewing the latest over-the-top pop princess, Jessie J.
E!: “We just gotta know… Where does your unique style vision come from with this outfit?” JJ: “It’s inspired by the street style of Manhattan’s most coveted fashion hobo, Andy.”
So Andy will never receive recognition for his creative vision. He’s a nameless nobody. Instead of admiring his quirky style, passersby dismiss him as mentally ill. The story behind his homemade garment has substance, yet he will never be heard over the commerciality of celebrities. Minaj can release a music video where there is no lyrical substance and cause fashion frenzy. In “Stupid Ho,” she relies on cotton candy-coloured outfits and outrageous animal prints. Behind this vulgarized pizzazz is the fact that her sophomore effort is rap rubbish. While Gaga can empower marginalized groups through songs like “Born This Way,” her shock-factor fashion shtick is being used as a watered-down default for struggling stars like Minaj. In the music industry, this debate of style versus substance has become a dominant issue. A successful musician can have zero songwriting talent or performance credentials, yet so long as the mention of their name recalls an outrageous outfit in People, then they can be labeled a genuine artist who is serious about their craft.
Immersed in materialistic Manhattan, I encounter a style paradox. This anonymous man brings the “society of the spectacle” issue full circle. I’ve named him Andy after the pop art pioneer Andy Warhol. Much like Warhol, the Andy I observe is critical without being too cynical. He embraces a culture of flair and an outsider’s persona, all the while parodying the consumer culture that disregards his equally unconventional existence. This first-time trip to the Big Apple has taught me that behind eccentric style, there can also be substance. For my next analytical adventure, I’d like to interview Andy and put this real story behind an unlikely muse.
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
SE AS ON
photographer: Sorin Popa creative director: Emma Barrett creative advisor: John Zackhary creative advisor at large: Shaista Kitabi stylists: Faustina Sari Setiawan and Tania Ramkumar model: Bianca Peluso
Bianca wears retro 80s blu clay bracelets ($18), brown velvet skirt by Steilmann ($28), sheer peach blouse â€œI made this for youâ€?by Sarah Duke ($20)
Bianca wears vintage fur coat ($300), striped multi coloured scarf, leather pants in black, leather boots in burgundy, stylistâ€™s own
Bianca wears cotton aztec-print flared skirt, sheer polyester top in ivory, leather moccasins, woven clutch, stylistâ€™s own
W. Eugene Smith: A Legendary Photojournalist
written by EMILY SMIBERT racing the pages of numerous publications with his hauntingly beautiful photographs for more than 45 years, W. Eugene Smith is one of the most highly regarded photojournalists of the modern era. His work has developed into an influential chronicle of daily life and vivid images of war. Born December 1918 in Wichita, Kansas, Smith developed a fondness for photography at a young age due to his mother’s passion and encouragement. After being published in The New York Times at only 15, he went on to formally study at Notre Dame University but left after one semester to study at the New York Institute of Photography. His inherent ability to capture exquisite freeze-frames of reality naturally led him to the crème de la crème of photojournalism by the time he was 21—Life magazine. Smith resigned from Life in 1942 after having his photographs published with more than 80 articles and took his photography skills overseas to act as a war correspondent where he reported and captured the horrific realities of war. In April 1945, while working on a
commissioned piece for Life, a mortar explosion left him recovering from injuries for nearly two years until he returned to work in 1948. Upon his return, Smith continued to work for Life until he resigned a second time in November 1954. The magazine had published some of his photographs despite his explicit objection. Smith believed in authorial control which often aroused issues with editorial control over some of his photo-essays including, “A Man of Mercy,” “Country Doctor,” and “Spanish Village.” These differences ultimately caused the parting of ways between Smith and Life. In 1971, he lived in Japan with his wife Aileen Mioko for three years. While working there he took photos of victims of Minamata disease, a disease more commonly known as mercury poisoning. These are said to be the world’s first photographs taken to awaken the world to the effects of ecological abuse. Smith later published his photographs and brought awareness to the seriousness of the problem in his photo-book entitled Minamata. This was his last work.
For a man whose “station in life [was] to capture the action of life, the life of the world, its humour, its tragedies, in other words life as it is,” he achieved his artistic aspirations in every sense. Life magazine editor Gordon Parks writes, “[Smith’s] surpassing concern for the rights of all people- indeed, for humanityrendered his pictures and photo essays sublime.” After long term drug and alcohol addictions, Smith died of a stroke in 1978. Smith had a passion for photography and for the images he captured, but what rendered him one of the great photographers of the modern era was his belief in what he did: “Each photograph strikes a certain note, and when you hang a group of them together, they strike a chord. It’s like composing a symphony.” His ability to capture emotion and unwavering charisma for photography have made an imprint on photojournalism and verifies his importance to a profession that is sometimes cast in the shadows of the journalistic world.
A MODERN MUSE A MODERN MUSE written by JOANNA BRAUND Rooney Mara has become a modern muse after undergoing an astonishing transformation taking on the role of Lisbeth Salander in the American film adaption of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Despite success in previous roles such as Mark Zuckerberg’s ex-girlfriend in The Social Network, she has not stood out on screen or on the red carpet. Fortunately, this changed when she prepared to play the Swedish punk computer hacker, Salander. She was hardly recognizable with dyed dark hair, a partially shaved head, multiple piercings and bleached eyebrows—a drastic change from her previously pretty and preppy style and long curly brown hair. Though it is a well-known series, Mara has been recognized for how she has embraced the outlandish character and used this to accessorize her elegant style. Mara pairs her newly dark and cropped haircut with bright red lipstick and neutral-coloured structured dresses with cutout details. The way she glamourizes the edgy punk style has not only received attention on the red carpet but has also inspired designers in their runway and wearable collections. Calvin Klein’s collection at New York Fashion Week was very much inspired by Mara and the style from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Many models emulated Lisbeth Salander’s recognizable dark hair and highcropped bangs. The other looks seem to be more inspired by the actress with clean lines in dark colours and have more of a feminine touch to Salander’s tom-boyish distressed punk outfits. The collection is fairly minimalistic but the elegant lines are enhanced by Mara’s fresh edge with the use of metallic belts, thicker fabric and hints of texture. Mara sat in the front row of the show in a black dress with a black cutout top, an incredibly predictive choice. H&M has also recently launched a collection inspired by Mara and her character. The retailer has been very excited to support the Swedish novel and collaborate with Trish Summerville, the costume designer for the movie. The collection features dark coloured urban wear with distressed and punk details. Denim, leather, and cotton are layered in a grunge-style that captures the character while remaining wearable. There have been mixed reactions to the collection with some accusing the company of glamourizing sexual assault victims. Though the clothes are based on a narrative and do aim to tell that story, the clothes do not explicitly carry any message about sexual assault. The company has taken this complaint seriously and apologized for possibly offending the persons involved. Perhaps Rooney Mara will inspire you to take some risks. It may not mean bleaching your eyebrows but updating your look can inspire your own work and quite possibly someone else’s.
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
organic beauty photographer: Jacqueline Mok creative director: Emma Barrett creative advisor: Erica Aversa head womenâ€™s stylist: Faustina Sari Setiawan stylist: Stephanie Wood models: Naila Abdullayeva, Mica Lemiski, Qamar Abdi, Shantana Thompson, Caitlin Herold
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
backpacking around the world If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? On Saturday March 10, 2012, UWO’s Fashion & Lifestyle Society hosted their annual charitable fashion show, ‘Backpacking Around The World,’ with all proceeds going to Soles4Souls. Guests crowded into Museum London and were treated to the latest trends from London’s favourite boutiques and a trip around the world. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has collected shoes from retailers, companies and individuals, and have distributed them to people in need. Seventeen million pairs of new and gently worn shoes have been given to people in over 127 countries including Kenya, Thailand, and Nepal. The show opened with models in little black dresses walking the runway in wildly unique sky-high heels. The first destination was Milan, featuring couture pieces from D’Lane Fashions Inc. tied together with a cobalt blue palette. New York City was next and the looks were akin to images from The
Sartorialist, highlighting interesting street style fashions. Guests were then taken to Moscow and showed lingerie with fur accessories. In London the models channeled their inner Kate Middleton with royal-worthy frocks. Melbourne brought great energy with bright beach-bound pieces and interesting prints. Singapore emphasized soft pastel colours and flowing chiffon pieces sponsored by American Apparel. In Madagascar models wore bright swimsuits with vivid headscarves. Our trip ended in Paris where models walked down the runway in soft high-fashion looks from Leslie’s on Richmond. The fashion show co-coordinators, Caitlin Herold and Kirin Sennik, took their turn on the runway and thanked all of the volunteers and sponsors for the success of the show. With the raffle prizes handed out, a Juicy gift basket and a beautiful Missoni scarf, guests were ready to head home inspired to begin experimenting with their own wardrobes. Be sure to join F&LS next year as the annual fashion show will be nothing less than spectacular.
male plus size model Despite the fashion industry embracing the increasing plus size market with multiple campaigns showcasing female curves, men have yet to make their mark. New York Magazine points out, “the equivalent to curves on a man is a beer gut and love handles, and that’s not sexy.” This may not be a typical view of an attractive man, but who says a plus size man can’t be fashionable? In 2010, Fantastic Man editorialized the full figured man with the tagline, “a series of stylistic suggestions for bold summer fashions to be worn by gentlemen of quite marvelous shape.” The magazine showcased men in their full masculine glory, beer
bellies included. This refreshing change from the common androgynous male image emphasizes how the plus size male market is underdeveloped. In an industry where there is a tendency to discount male fashion, especially high fashion, plus size men deserve comparable industry exposure. The introduction of male plus size models could revolutionize the male high fashion industry and shed light on the often overlooked body image issues men face. Men’s fashion needs to jump on the plus size bandwagon because everyone’s body is beautiful.
- MISHA GAJEWSKI
In this past year, the public eye was exceptionally focused on the Internet about concerns over copyright and ownership laws. With the development of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the similarly designed Protect IP Act (PIPA), the entire framework of the Internet was put into question. These bills set out to extend the abilities of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking of copyrighted intellectual property. One of the most significant repercussions of passing the bills would be enabling enforcers to block access to entire Internet domains due to alleged infringing content on a single webpage or blog. Due to a number of contentious disputes regarding censorship and concern for free speech, as well as protests organized by websites such as Wikipedia and Google, debates were put on hold and neither bill was passed. Another major concern about passing SOPA and PIPA is the future of innovation on the Internet. Although the SOPA document claims it will “promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation,” it is doubtful that increased surveillance of online activity will foster these attributes. Because online intellectual and digital copyright laws are such contemporary concepts it is difficult to predict what the outcome of ownership will be. There is one industry, however, which can be examined vis-à-vis the current dilemma: the fashion industry. About a year before PIPA is introduced, media scholar Johanna Blakley made a number of astute observations about the fashion industry and notions of intellectual copyright.
Make no mistake, the fashion industry is rife with copyrighted material. While the trademarked label for an company cannot be replicated, a design can be. Designers therefore cannot copyright a cuff, a sleeve, or a skirt and restrict use and adaptation of the building blocks of clothing. Following the logic of SOPA, because there is little ownership and copyright in fashion there is less creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation. This, however, is the opposite of what has happened over the past few decades. Precisely because copyright laws are more relaxed in fashion, designers are able to take inspiration and techniques from one other and reach greater heights of style and technique. Designers can sample from both past trends and their peers, forming an open and collaborative community. While competition does exist and copying is frequent, designers are challenged to improve their merchandise and establish a signature style, enriching the industry still further. While supporters of more restrictive regulations of online content ownership may put their faith in the notion that control and progress are associated, the opposite can be true. The virtues and benefits of open source establishments go well beyond those discussed here, benefits that are recognized by worldwide designers and academics like Johanna Blakley. Perhaps it is time for the proponents of SOPA and PIPA to put down their pitchforks, pick up a pair of heels, and take a lesson from the fashion industry.
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
- KEVIN HURREN
spageddy eddy’s Don’t let the walk down an alleyway to a somewhat shady door at the end, scare you from experiencing this restaurant that is as unique as the journey to get there. Spaghetti Eddy’s, located on 438 Richmond Street, is a small underground authentic Italian restaurant that does a pretty good job of giving you a bang for your buck. If you are not a fan of Italian cuisine, this probably isn’t the place for you, as the restaurant’s slogan says, “ya gotta love pasta.” The décor, a mix between an old antique shop, a log cabin and a garage sale has every inch of
wall and ceiling covered with odds and ends. The atmosphere does reflect however the rustic and authentic feel of the food. This is a place you go when you are really hungry because the portions are huge, and when I say huge I mean a bowl of classic spaghetti with meat sauce ($8.99) comes out in a bowl the size of a large flowerpot. Appetizers are basic but flavourful, such as the garlic bread (3.99), if you stick to Italian flavours the restaurant does so well, instead of experimenting with Greek dishes such as the Saganaki (7.99).
- SHAISTA KITABI
invisible children On Kony 2012 - People might read this and say: “Don’t jump on the heartless, brute bandwagon because after all, Invisible Children is promoting a good cause.” However, before readers come to any conclusions, I’d like to make certain critiques of this campaign. Invisible Children Inc. has recently come out with a video entitled Kony 2012, which has had over 30 million views this past week alone. The video is ostensibly meant to raise awareness about the abduction of children and their use as child soldiers in Uganda. Although this is a great cause to advocate and support, there are some notable flaws in the execution of this campaign that can be manipulative and misleading. It is extremely important to consult a variety of sources before we form solid opinions about information we are presented with. Unfortunately, many of us have jumped to conclusions based off of this one YouTube video. I’d like to dissect this video from a few angles: This is an extremely well-executed and carefully compiled video meant to elicit a strong emotional response among its audience. This movie does not simply
provide factual information and statistics, but intertwines elements such as music, anecdotes and emphasizes the sense of empowerment that supporting this campaign brings. The director even includes a concerned young toddler to heighten the emotional response, which urges the audience to take action as suggested by the video (purchasing action kits, making donations, etc). Another, less noticeable, criticism of this video is its portrayal of Uganda as an intrinsically corrupt nation in need of help from the West. Kony 2012 embodies the cliché of the civilized West needing to act as the saviour for the unstable East. The ignored fact is that the West may have been the one responsible for having planted these seeds of corruption in the first place. The British had ruled over Uganda and colonized it for almost 70 years until 1962. Upon gaining its independence, the country was left economically, socially, and politically unstable. This instability left it prone to developing flaws in its governmental system; it is important to have a grasp of world history before we begin pointing fingers. Lastly, after Invisible Children’s
financial audits were made public, it became clear that only about 30% of the funds that are raised are spent on helping the cause. Approximately 1 million dollars have been spent on travel and transportation for the Invisible Children team, and over 1 million have been generated from filmmaking alone. This essentially presents Invisible Children as a money-making business posing as a non-profit organization. There is no denying that the cause being advocated is an important one. In fact, Invisible Children has directed the public’s attention to the atrocities going on in Uganda, and have emphasized a global responsibility to fixing these. However, it is equally important to get the whole picture before an organization is supported. Organizations may be sensationalizing the situation by using marketing tactics and may also be hiding or highlighting certain facts in order to skew public opinions. Perhaps, we should be donating our money to nonprofits that don’t spend more than half of their funds on themselves but spend their money on revamping the region’s medical and educational system.
- KEERAT KAUR
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
The Middle Sex photographer: Jan Kuzan creative director: Emma Barrett head creative advisor: Shaista Kitabi women’s fashion director: Trisha Paguyo men’s fashion director: Dan Canavan men’s stylist: Merrick Chan men’s assistant stylist: Kevin Hurren head women’s stylist: Faustina Setiawan women’s stylist: Patricia Omoruwa make-up artist: Jasneet Nijjar models: Feras Amacha, Ashley Byers
The Feminine-Masculine Dichotomy In Givenchy editorials, on Milan’s runways or even with the pair of boyfriend jeans in your closet, it is evident that the resurgence of the masculinefeminine dichotomy in the fashion industry is no longer a trend, but a staple. Challenging societal norms has always been a part of fashion, but there has always been a distinct line between menswear and womenswear. YSL Le Smoking and power suits in the 80s beguiled the industry, and gave rise to a greater acceptance of masculine trends within a fundamentally feminine world. But the theoretical line between genders has become increasingly blurry thanks to today’s menswear designers. Jean Paul Gaultier’s attempt in 1993 to reintroduce skirts for men is just one example of how designers can attempt to amend what is perceived to be ‘traditionally masculine’. This revival is, in short, another instance of how the fashion industry is maturing and embracing the disintegration of gender binaries in modern society. -TRISHA PAGUYO
Ashley wears camel blazer, leather shorts, Brogue heels, stylist’s own. Velvet bow tie ($26), chiffon oversized button-up ($65) by American Apparel; Feras wears pinpoint oxford button-up ($65), wool cable knit cardigan ($98), high-waist zipper pant ($85) by American Apparel
Feras wears a red two button blazer and graphic silk scarf, stylist’s own
Ashley wears a vintage letter jacket, gold lame shorts, stylist’s own
Feras wears a cotton button up shirt, tapered pant, stylists own; Ashley wears a tartan blazer, silk button up blouse stylists own, velvet bow tie ($26) by American Apparel
Breaking Autonomy written by JACQUELINE MOK The ability to do as you please is a common desire of all humankind. Having control of a situation and your actions enables a sense of freedom through the availability of choice and decisive power. How does this fare within the white walls of a gallery setting? As a person walks into an exhibition space, they may receive a guide showing the floor plan of the building, the possible levels, and the placing of individual exhibition pieces. The person is then able to decide where they would like to start, and how they will navigate through the area. The ability to wander is generally easy for the audience, especially if the exhibition space is displaying two-dimensional artworks and modest sculptural pieces. In the case of installation work, the same ability is not always granted. Installation works often reconstruct the space they are in. At times, the installation is all-encompassing, filling the room entirely, such as Pipilotti Rist’s video projection and sound installation Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters) (2008). Commissioned and hosted within the Museum of Modern Art in New York, people were able to move freely through the room containing the twenty-five foot high projections to experience the piece. However, installations can also direct movement by sectionalizing spaces or constricting them so that the person entering the space only has one way to move, such as Bruce Nauman’s Live/ Tape Video Corridor (1970) – a work that was constructed with only one passageway and consequently only one definite viewing experience. This has the potential to be problematic. What happens when autonomy is restricted? Does it necessarily create a negative impact when less choices and less freedom are available? These questions will be addressed through the analysis of Bruce Nauman’s Live/Tape Video Corridor and Pipilotti Rist’s Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters). The early development of installation art could be dated back to the 1960s when experimentation and other avant-garde concerns gained substantial interest in the art world. As previously mentioned, installations often encompass an entire space and reconstruct it, but the main feature of installation art is that it is often created to give a total bodily experience. The popularity of video art during this experimental period was due to the consumer accessibility of the Sony Portapak, allowing everyday people to create naïve art and experiment with the new form of technology. The combination of light, sound, and time in conjunction with space has made video art installations a popular artist practice still today. From an audience perspective, Margaret Morse makes a distinction between two different engagements with video artwork in her 1990 article Video Installation Art: The Body, the Image, and the Space-in-Between. A person viewing work in an exhibition space is simply a viewer or spectator. However, a person that is breaking the space-in-between becomes an essential volumetric component of the work is a visitor. In the latter engagement, the artist often plays the role of the choreographer, structuring their installation in such a way that the visitor’s movements are also constructed and manipulated.
After Bruce Nauman graduated with his MFA in 1966, he took part in the movement of video experimentation with a background interest in how an activity could become art. His piece from 1970 exemplifies his role as a choreographer. Live/Tape Video Corridor was a closed-circuit installation in which one monitor was set above another at the end of a tight corridor. The corridor was thirty feet long but just less than two feet wide, allowing only one visitor at a time. It represents the definition of a video installation in the most literal sense as it makes an example of how to create a bodily experience by making the passage a snug fit for a person to walk through. The bottom monitor displayed a video of the corridor, while the top screen was a live view of the corridor from the entrance about six feet high. This positioning created a particular effect. As the individual moved down the corridor towards the monitors they naturally distanced from the camera, and their image became smaller on the screen. The image also showed their backside. These factors created an unsettling psychological effect, as being closer to the screens did not equate to better visibility or a frontal view, such as how a reflective surface would act. Orientation is disrupted and alienation is heightened by the narrow space. Nauman reaffirmed this experience with each visitor as there was literally no room to attempt another way of engagement with his work. Though Pipilotti Rist did not choreograph movement through specific structural demands like Nauman, she still created a full body experience and broke the space-in-between using another approach: manipulating emotion. Pour Your Body Out from 2008 was an expansive multi-channel video projection installed in the Marron Atrium of the MoMa. Images of lush plant life, particularly pink tulips, spin and turn in a kaleidoscopic manner against a blue sky. As if the massive projections that spanned entire walls were not enough, ambient music also filled the space. In the center of the room was a large circular sofa which was used by many to sit and lie on. The bodily experience in Rist’s piece was much different than Nauman’s. Instead of creating a restricted space in which the body had to navigate through, Rist’s installation was very open yet still immersive through these techniques. The advances of technology allowed for the quality of the images to be vivid for their scale. The installation evoked the sublime through its power to overwhelm. The issue in question that was posed as the basis for this article was the impact of restricted choice, and if the cost of freedom was in sake of any benefit. As mentioned, the overall effect of Nauman’s specific installation was disorienting which could be generalized as negative when compared to the pleasant awe and wonder effects of Rist’s piece. However, just because an experience was disturbing does not mean that the experience needs to be weighed negatively, within an artistic context. This is to say that negative experiences can also serve for a good purpose. But what is the purpose of art? Historically, early art forms were created mimetically and with a desire to represent a reality. Since then, it has drastically changed in form and style, but conceptual art brought the impact of the mind into the foreground over vision. Art needed to be stimulating. Actually, each wave of new art eras preceded the former by offering a new experience to its audience. This is the purpose of art. Art exists to function as a platform that people can access so that they may experience something new. In this sense, Live/Tape Video Corridor had the ability to give something to its audience, even if it was received with confusion. The construction of the space and its limiting, demanding quality was crucial to meet those means. In a similar way, the openness of Pour Your Body Out was essential in aiding the sensation of the sublime and heightened the feeling of being overwhelmed as people were only tiny parts of the entirety. Art has a responsibility to continue to stimulate our bodily senses and encourage new ways of thought. Though one may be put into an uncomfortable situation that has been designed by an artist, the situation is only temporary and the unusualness of it has the potential to provoke new thought. New thought allows for development and change if the participant is willing to partake in it. For this reason, when the visitor’s autonomy is restricted in the art world, it is not necessarily a bad thing. It is what you make of it. And if a person is not open to the potentials of what strictly choreographed art has to offer, they have the freedom to choose to walk away.
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
THE DEATH OF PAINTING
written by JAG RAINA
French poet, essayist, and philosopher, Paul Valery once said, â€œJust as water, gas, and electricity are brought into our houses from far off to satisfy our needs in response to a minimal effort, so we shall be supplied with visual or auditory images, which will appear and disappear at a simple movement of the hand, hardly more then a sign.â€? There is an eerie foreshadowing to what Valery is suggesting for the world of art, particularly painting. For me however, painting has always been this blissful way in which I have been able to happily construct my concepts and emotions in a rich, satisfying manner. I have always had this unexplainable hunger of painting inside of me, and being around the smells and textures and materials had become so familiar. I had settled into this serene comfort zone where I was ignorant to accept other mediums of art, not even giving abstract painting a chance. Looking back on my childhood and teenage years, I had viewed painting as this beautiful tool to create realistic and surreal depictions of my life and the world around me. Nothing else mattered- no concepts, no materials outside of painting, nothing. It was this very notion that I penetrated to my advantage; building a thick wall around myself so I would never step out of my little bubble of painterly comfort. It wasnâ€™t until I left for university that I realized just how terrible this mindset had been. Arriving at university two and a half years ago, I was blown away by just how little I knew about the progression of contemporary art. I felt like an outsider who had stumbled upon this liberal world of technology and junk that my peers and professors were now teaching me to accept as art. To say I felt uncomfortable is an understatement. I had no desire to let go of painting and accept these obscure mediums that I was constantly being bombarded with. I decided to learn more about why this had happened to painting. The long process of researching, of sifting through theorists and critical essays to find the answer to this question was strenuous. Educating myself with a brief history of painting made me appreciate the art form more. I learned how painting had always been seen as this immortal medium that always continued to stand the test of time. It is the unspeakable language of the unconscious, the doorway to our astonishing but turbulent past, and continues to be an anchor for the future. Thinking of art in the most traditional form, painting is the medium that immediately comes to mind. There is no specific timeline to painting. It reaches back to artifacts from pre-historic humans; spanning all cultures, continents, and millennia. Painting has always been seen as this continuous movement of creativity. Until the early 20th century, painting relied mostly on representational, religious, and classical motifs, but time has seen painting become purely abstract and conceptual.
The late Walter Benjamin, journalist, and art critic published “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” to give an understanding of how the art world functioned in the early 20th century and the damages it would have to the traditional and classical forms, painting and drawing, which had always been regarded as an immortal medium. Benjamin stressed how important the idea of reproduction has been to art in a historical context. A work of art has always been reproducible but Benjamin gives birth to the term Mechanical Reproduction which represents something new in the art world. Historically, it advanced in leaps at long intervals whether it was through the birth of the printing press for literature, lithography for printmaking, or photography. If anything has truly changed painting profoundly it is the birth of photography. One of the many reasons why photography was such a tremendous success in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was due to its impact on the public. For the first time in pictorial reproduction, photography was able to free the hand. It broke down the barrier between painters and spectators, allowing this art form to be accessed by everyone. The painter was no longer held up on this pedestal of being one of the few that could mimic reality and render it in a two-dimensional form. More and more people began having access to the camera. This was just a taste of what was to come. The late 20th century and early 21st century has seen an explosion of the use of technology and the effects it has had on the art world. Nowadays there are so many mediums an artist can choose from to convey their work. They can turn to video, film, photography, printmaking, installation, sculpture, performance art, and so on. Benjamin believes mechanical reproduction produces a progressive attitude towards the way we begin to view art. To further understand what this means, Benjamin starts to critique the painting medium by saying that it is an art form that has always stood an excellent chance of being viewed by people, has always presented viewers with the opportunity of an enriching experience. Painting, however, no longer solely has the power to present viewers with this collective experience due to technological media such as photography and film. Reading about Benjamin and finding out just how profound the use of technology has had on painting was definitely an eye opening experience for me. It is disconcerting to learn that this art form has lost the momentum it had attained for centuries. Even though I know the reasons as to why painting has lost its force throughout the decades, it is still something I struggle to come to terms with. But reading about the history of painting and allowing myself to reason why this had happened allowed me to now view the slow demise of painting in a positive light for the first time. By allowing different medias of art to open up, it has given a voice and opportunity to people from all walks of life. Performance art gave the feminist movement a new way to communicate important ideas in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Early pioneers of video art such as Andy Warhol helped spark the gay liberation art movement with his flamboyant and outspoken lifestyle. Photography and film have allowed us to see, hear, and experience the lives of other people. For hundreds of years, looking back at painters from the past, we generally see nothing more than white European and North American men orchestrating these masterpieces. Different art forms have allowed people of all races, genders, and sexualities to speak. That being said, I want to stress most that the days when artists can solely rely on this media are long gone, and to anticipate what is to come. I know the day will come when I will have to step back from my paints and brushes and force myself to embrace other art forms as a means to keep moving on in this world. As the 21st century continues on, so do the everchanging technologies. We continue to move deeper and deeper into the world of technology, and there is an eerie foreboding feeling of the painter who is stuck at a distance from reality. While the cameramen, video artists, photographers, and performance artists delve deeper into social media and the World Wide Web, I do not believe painting will be completely eradicated. It will always stay with us. No one knows where the future of painting is headed, but if there is anything that I hope for, it is, in the words of Phillipo Marinetti, to “let art exist, though the world perish.”
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
THE VIRGIN SUICIDES
photographer: Mack Ludlow; creative director: Emma Barrett; creative advisor: Kennedy Ryan; creative advisor at large: Shaista Kitabi; womenâ€™s head stylist: Faustina Setiawan; make-up: Jasneet Nijjar; models: Ashley Byers, Elsa Fridriksson
Ashley wears silk top in turquoise ($70) by American Apparel, silk full length skirt ($30) from MESH, turquoise and gold ring, peacock feather necklace, stylistâ€™s own; Elsa wears blue velvet full length dress ($15) from MESH
Elsa wears a long accordion pleat skirt in Almondine ($69) by American Apparel, camisole in Plum Wine ($28) by American Apparel; bronze headband, layered gold necklace, gold snake bracelet, stylist’s own; Ashley wears a chiffon puff sleeve blouse in Bone ($50) by American Apparel, chiffon double-layered full length skirt in Bone ($66) by American Apparel, velvet twist scarf in burgundy ($17) by American Apparel; ruby locket stylist’s own Ashley wears celvet crop tee in Purple Reign ($40) by American Apparel, mid-length accordion pleat skirt in Creme ($58) by American Apparel, silver pendant necklace, silver cuff bracelet, spotted-feather headband stylist’s own
Ashley wears cotton spandex sleeveless turtleneck crop-top ($29) by American Apparel; emerald and gold collar necklace, stylistâ€™s own
Ashley wearâ€™s Cotton tunic dress Ivory MESH $25, Petticoat slip skirt in Ashley wears cotton tunicin dress in Ivory ($25) from MESH, petticoat Ballet Pink (worn as collar) American Apparel $82 slip skirt in Ballet Pink ($82) by American Apparel $82
peacock parade Global Fashion at Your Doorstep written by NICOLE LIPPAY photo by Maira Tilson Fashion is without a doubt a globalized industry; brands are accessible worldwide. With extensive coverage of fashion weeks around the world, anyone has access to this phenomenon of haute-couture. The online industry has grown exponentially and many sites will ship merchandise to your doorstep. That being said, living in Canada can prove difficult at times when it comes to shipping. Either American or European sites won’t ship at all, or the taxes and handling fees end up costing almost as much as the product itself. Business and fashion savvy Canadians, Jan Gandhi and Nancy Sahota, were able to turn this around with the launch of their online shopping site, the Peacock Parade in July 2011. Gandhi and Sahota, both in their thirties, met in New York City while working as a senior strategist for a marketing agency and as a lawyer for MTV Networks, respectively. Living in one of the fashion capitals of the world allowed the women to soak up every trend and style imaginable. The pair quickly came to the realization that Canadian women were unable to relate to this—with few sites shipping to Canada, there was a business opportunity waiting to be acted on. Thus, the idea for the Peacock Parade was born. Naming the enterprise was an important task: “The Peacock Parade is about having access to amazing merchandise and having confidence in your everyday life. We’re big on empowerment and really wanted a name that invoked this feeling in our customers.” This is not only significant on a local level, but internationally as well. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver participate in Fashion Week, and yet these cities are lacking recognition as legitimate ‘fashion capitals.’ With ventures like the Peacock Parade giving Canadians access to haute-couture items, the Canadian fashion scene is slowly starting to evolve. While working in a fast-paced glamorous field sounds thrilling, creating a company from the ground up is never an easy undertaking. Their previous careers would certainly be an asset, but Sahota states that “We spoke about our startup at every event and conference –you just never know who you will meet and who people know! The biggest error that some start-ups make is not talking about their idea enough for fear that it might be stolen or that it will fully commit them to something. You just have to put yourself out there. You certainly can’t be shy when it comes to making contacts.” This is encouraging for students in their final stages of schooling and for those contemplating life after university. Sahota also cautions that you must be ready for hard work: “We work A LOT but love it because this is exactly what we wanted to do. We also live by the philosophy that if you really want something, you have to put in the necessary time and energy. Things don’t just happen...you have to make them happen.” Fashion is often associated with ideas of frivolity and elitism, but the reality is fashion plays a huge role in our every day lives and is a large part of our culture. There are endless opportunities in terms of career options if you are passionate and innovative. As Gandhi and Sahota have proven, drive and determination are what it takes to transform a dream into a career. Whether you choose to think locally or globally, the fashion world is growing—with companies like the Peacock Parade, global fashion trends are as close as your doorstep.
photographer: Katelyn Landry; creative adviser: Adam Jan; men’s fashion director: Daniel Canavan; men’s head stylist: Rel Ollivirrie; men’s stylists: Aaron Gray, Armin Hossini, Merrick Chan; women’s head stylist: Faustina Setiwan; women’s stylist: Alexa Prest; models: Paul Comartin, Dominik Dobranksy, Jonas Welisch, Anneli Loo
Paul wears a Hensch Man cotton oxford shirt, selvedge cotton chambray tie, new standard selvedge denim pants, Gravity Pope leather brogues, stylist’s own; Jonas wears a cotton contrast stripe shirt, vintage silk military club tie, cotton-twill chinos, leather loafers in black, stylist’s own; Dominik wears a silk tie, 5-pocket cotton trousers in grey, orange and white checkered cotton pocket square, red and white gingham check cotton shirt, Franceschini viscose suit, calfskin loafers in brown, stylist’s own
Paul wears a cashmere scarf, cotton jeans, penny loafers, kid skin uppers, calfskin leather soles, 2-button notch lapel jersey blazer, cotton Polo in black, stylist’s own; Dominik wears a cotton shirt, cotton jeans, polyester Barracuda jacket, stylist’s own; Jonas wears a pair of cotton jeans, cotton Maritime t-shirt, cotton oversized scarf, wool cardigan, stylist’s own
Paul wears a wool, acrylic, and alpaca shawl collar toggle cardigan, twill-cotton chinos, leather loafers in black, cotton ¾ placket shirt, stylist’s own; Anneli wears a floral cotton dress, knitted wool cardigan, leaf cuff, heeled sandals in nude, stylist’s own; Dominik wears a pair of calfskin penny loafers in black, Japanese cotton shorts, wool crewneck sweater, stylist’s own; Paul wears a cotton trenchcoat, virgin wool and angora scarf, cotton gloves, cotton-twill trousers, leather boots in black, stylist’s own
Dominik wears a fisherman waffle-knit wool sweater, a trench coat with a gabardine cotton shell, cotton torso lining, and viscose sleeve lining, and leather lace-up boots, in black, stylist’s own; Paul wears a cotton trenchcoat, a virgin wool and angora scarf, cotton gloves, cotton-twill trousers, and black leather boots, in black, stylist’s own; Jonas wears a wool trenchcoat, cashmere lined leather gloves, wool rollneck sweater, 5-pocket cotton trousers, and leather boots, in black, stylist’s own
Paul wears a Selvedge 5-pocket denim jeans, cotton retro Coca-Cola t-shirt, a denim overshirt, rubbersoled canvas sneakers, stylist’s own; Jonas wears a twill-cotton chinos, cotton gingham safety-pin collar shirt, cotton waterfall sweater, rubber-soled canvas sneakers, stylist’s own; Donminik wears a wool beanie, cotton jeans, polyester Bermuda jacket, cotton cowl neck sleevelss shirt, leather work boots in black, stylist’s own
Paul wears a wool two-button shawl collar blazer, cotton crewneck graphic sweatshirt, cotton jeans, stylist’s own; Jonas wears a cotton 3-button notch lapel blazer, cotton-twill chinos, cotton sailor T-shirt, apache leather, wood-soled chukka boots, stylist’s own; Anneli wears high-waisted leather shorts, faux fur coat, leather pumps in black, stylist’s own; Dominik wears a cotton oxford shirt, alpaca V-neck sweater, cotton jeans, silk bowtie, leather work boots in black, stylist’s own
Dominik wears a wool and silk shawl collar bespoke tuxedo jacket, silk knit tie, cotton micro-check wrinkled shirt, cotton mircro-stripe trousers, calkskin penny loafers, stylist’s own; Anneli wears a leather corset ($30) from MESH; high-low silk blend skirt, gold snake coil necklace, gold double ring, cutout patent leather heels in black, stylist’s own; Paul wears a cotton French cuff woven shirt, leather belt, 5-pocket cotton trousers, leather loafers, stylist’s own; Jonas wears a wool two-button notch lapel suit, cotton graphic patterned shirt, silk bowtie, leather lace-ups, stylist’s own
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
The Spectacle of Kitsch written by KASIA KNAP photos by Kasia Knap An interesting duality presented itself to me the night I discovered the location of the disco. Just a few weeks back, the snow in London had shaped the city into a Narnian landscape, especially in places like the forest trail I take to school. Absorbing and reflecting light, it was perpetually glittering. Suddenly, the world was less dreary and the winter months were made easier to withstand. Treading through the sand that night in Panama, I became aware of the glitter of the sand as it behaved beneath the floodlights. It reflected light much in the same way my pseudo-Narnian world had, evoking similar charm. The juxtaposition of these binary conceptions recalled both a childish excitement and naivety; the reaction of encountering something so simple yet so aesthetically pleasing on immediate impression that it ceased all other thought. Realizing that two vastly different worlds could share such a fundamental quiddity was simultaneously comforting and unnerving. I experienced complete, if fleeting, disassociation. During my recent trip to Panama, when I wasn’t baking in the sun, or searching for the elusive discotheque, I was in the communal eating areas. It’s only natural if not inevitable to relate things when in a new place to ideas you’ve learned before. At the time, I had just finished China Meiville’s Embassytown, a clever sciencefiction novel which not only utilized Saussure’s theory of the language system, but subverted it to produce a compelling narrative that sought to emphasize how much power language truly can hold. With this refresher of semiotic theory still at the forefront of my mind, I couldn’t help but dissect and analyze the manner in which people interacted with one another, especially when brought together over the blatantly kitsch. The dominant languages filling these all-inclusive buffets and restaurants were Spanish, French, and English. The staff could understand some English, but beyond the basics they were lost. I, on the other hand, was in a completely foreign territory when it came to Spanish. I only knew what I had retained from Dora the Explorer but even then, I was too anxious to actually put any to use. People had to communicate largely through signs via hand gestures, facial expressions, or other visual data. The number of coffees, pina coladas, or tequila sunrises needed were indicated by using fingers. Allusions to activities were theatrically mimed, becoming impromptu games of Charades. Thanks or referents for dissatisfaction appeared through inflections in the face, the latter never darkening mine until I visited Embera. These kinds of interactions occur when visiting a foreign place and are inherently understood but overlooked. The common dynamic between a local and foreigner seems to follow a common dialectical model. Certain signifying objects or actions will have a universal understanding. Ironically, viewing interrelations from a linguistic perspective reveals that the things that bring people most commonly together possess the lowest amount of semiotic content. Food, light, and music are by and large associative
through sensation. The type of excitement and satiety they elicit serve as a common denominator for people cross-culturally. They are familiar and relatable phenomena anywhere in the world and bring people together even if they don’t belong to the same cultural codes. This is why you don’t necessarily have to relate to others through a prescribed verbal system. The simplest actions are transitive. At the time of my visit to the country, the annual Carnival was taking place. A parade of colourfully dressed dancers filled the streets. Harmonized trumpets reverberated off the walls of buildings in tangent with the ever-present drum beat. Everybody would flock together to catch a glimpse of the show. Every single night like clockwork, fireworks would light up the sky and feign a brilliant violence. The nightly show would halt locals and visitors alike in mid-action of whatever they had been doing and force heads up to the skies in brief adoration. What expectedly followed was the unison of cheers and clapping—an intuitive human response to such a display. This isn’t something individual found at tropical resorts, this happens everywhere. Fireworks are a delight and always great entertainment. So what does this mean? Are we biologically hardwired to be drawn to kitsch? It explains my initial excitement about the glitter of sand and snow. On the last day before my departure back to Canada I had the opportunity of visiting the indigenous village of Embera. I was immediately aware of the implications inherent in a trip of this nature. If it was being offered through the resort, there was already something wrong. The village couldn’t be self-sufficient and couldn’t be “indigenous” in its traditional understanding; it must have already become a commodity. Not wanting to be contained within the parameters of the resort though, I bought a ticket. I wanted to see something besides Bijao Beach. In the back of my mind I reasoned some of the money must go to the villagers. I don’t think this was good enough rationale. The bus ride each way was four hours long. Though not a third world country, Panama certainly isn’t prospering. With the construction of the Panama Canal you think it would be, but with a population of only 3.5 million the rich only get richer and the poor become poorer. The sleek skyscrapers you see when arriving at the airport in Panama City are deceiving at first sight. As soon as you venture out of the city’s heart you begin to see what actual squalor the general population lives in. The outskirts of the city rapidly disintegrate into poverty. Garbage in horrid excess lies by the roadside in ditches unceremoniously dumped, spilling out of yards.
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
Just before the sun reached high noon, the bus arrived at the banks of the Chagres River. The fringes of jungle on the opposing banks cast a green hue to the clear water. Immediately I knew this was going to be different from what I had just traversed over for hours. About a dozen long wooden canoes seating roughly twenty idled there with large motors strapped to their rears. Several village boys donning colourful beaded skirts waited for us with long rods in hand just for show. Life jackets in tow, the tourists clumsily stumbled into the boats. Igniting the motors, the boys brought the boats to life and we began the journey around the bend of the river into the tropical Fangorn. The boat ride was long, too long for many of my fellow disgruntled travellers. These were mostly middleaged men and women whom I feel were expecting a rare glimpse into the untamed ways of the Panamanian natives. This may be a generalization of an ignorant stereotype, but it quickly proved to be not far removed from the truth. Approaching the village from the river, it looked surprisingly industrial. The grass was cut to an unnatural length like in your run of the mill suburban home and a staircase ascended from near the water’s edge. Urban additions had been made to the village to make it more pleasant and familiar to perceive. The huts were what I expected in the sense they had dried banana leaves covering their roofs, a housing type you learn of in a high school world studies or geography class, or from travel brochures. A group of men and boys in beaded loincloths played on wooden instruments at the shore; women and girls in sarongs and mirror-ornamented tops greeted us with a crimson hibiscus adorning their hair. They were the spitting image of an ethnographic tourist postcard. I would like to say happily greeted but no one had a smile on their face. They had done this many times before and would repeat it countless times after. The song stopped. I think I was the only one who clapped. Everybody else ambled up the wooden staircase in hungry agitation for food. We were given baked fish and plantains for lunch in the hut designated for celebrations and meetings. A male villager described the roles of men in the village and an adolescent girl the women’s roles. The men then took up their crafted instruments and commenced the song from our arrival while the women danced in a circle to the beat. This wasn’t the ecstatic jubilated movement of the crazed Carnival dancers, but a somewhat downtrodden and half-hearted sequence of well-rehearsed steps. I felt guilty for being a part of what instigated this forced performance. The villagers and their home had become a spectacle, a kind of zoo that we ogled at for the price of an admission ticket. They performed dances that they would normally only perform at special festivities. Judging by the groups that came and went before us, these dances were reenacted several times a day. What initially had been reserved for rare occasions had been transformed into the mundane. The tour guide asked if anyone had taken a picture of me. I said “No,” so he picked up the camera and called two young village boys over. I felt awkward; the action objectified them. Afterwards, we were encouraged to partake in the obligatory vacationist practice of purchasing souvenirs. That’s what you do after a performance; you buy keepsakes to show your friends about the cool thing you just saw. Each family had a table to themselves; this is how they made their living. I spent the rest of my money there, buying pendants and accessories carved from nuts and wood. I would later wear them, unique trinkets that nobody else owned which showed off where I had been. Equipped with these souvenirs we filed back into the canoes. Embera hadn’t welcomed us. They had no choice but to let us in and make them dance— let us exploit them. I’m not projecting the blame onto the tourists I was with, as a part of the system, I’m as much to blame as anyone. I took the trip, just like them, because I wanted to see what it was like. By becoming a tourist attraction a village immediately looses some of its authenticity and the experience of going there becomes cheap. There are subconscious expectations that accompany a trip marketed in pamphlets and on the Internet; you need them in order to fulfill your preconceived notions. In this case, notions of what constituted an indigene sanctuary left untouched from the spoils of modern life that the rest of the world had assimilated. But they aren’t untouched. The reason you’re at such a place is because they’ve been tainted. So how do you help solve the problem and where do you lay the blame? The Western kneejerk reaction is to hold authority responsible and demand political reform. But here I am with a romantic ideal that in itself won’t help or change anything. Utopian visions never did anyone any good. A community is drawn together when something universally delightful presents itself, usually manifesting in kitsch. Those engaged with the excitement taking place are put on an equal playing field and differences disseminate, if even for a moment. There is, however, no dissolution of innate power structures when faced with this other kind of kitsch, the kind I encountered at Embera. At Embera the power dynamics not only became reinforced but were heightened through the imposition of our expectations of the already immoral spectacle.
FASHION & LIFESTYLE SOCIETY
photographer: Maira Tilson; creative director: Emma Barrett; creative advisor at large: Shaista Kitabi; women’s head stylist: Faustina Sari Setiawan; women’s stylists: Dipti Kewalramani, Shivani Patel; make-up: Jasneet Nijjar; model: Shradda Inamdar
Shradda wears beaded dreamcatcher earrings, gold-plaited elephant ring, stylistâ€™s own
Shradda wears full length creme chiffon skirt ($66) by American Apparel; lapin-patterned collared blouse, beige woven belt, stylistâ€™s own
Shradda wears a silk snakeskin tank, floral-print jeans, gold tiger ring, gold and turquoise wing, ballet flats in black, stylistâ€™s own
Shradda wears vintage polka dot shirt, pleated print chiffon skirt, vintage gold pendant, black bracelets, stylistâ€™s own
Shradda wears an illustrated chiffon tank in Paris 65 ($40) for American Apparel; tribal highwaisted shorts, feather necklace, tribal bead bracelets, gold elephant ring, stylistâ€™s own
Shradda wears a beige knit sweater, pastel floral-print skirt, leopard-print headscarf, elephant ring, ballet flats in black, stylistâ€™s own
Shradda wears a Printed Cotton Jersey Sleeveless Turtleneck in Creme Black Stripes ($31) by American Apparel, Sailor Striped hairclip ($16) by American Apparel; ruffled print shorts in black and white, ballet flats in black, stylistâ€™s own
Style Revolution: Subtlety is King, Emperor, or President
written by ANDREW PEL photos by Andrew Pel; model: Peter Von Zahnd
“I avoid combining too many flashy colours because I like matting natural elements. I enjoy having mutual colours match the physical environment – such as gray buildings – and having one or two strong constituents emerge”. - Peter Von Zahnd The French have a knack for doing things their own way – just consider a Parisian runway or the longevity of any regime since 1789. Your style can be this assertively unpredictable without sporting a pinstripe sarong or bellowing “La Marsaillaise” with explosives in your pocket: it just takes self-assurance. Good style is timely and notable. Great style is timeless and understated. Be bold in proportion, and you’ll cut a fine figure. As litterateur Jean Cocteau put it: “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” Think about it.
This is an enlightened fusion of colours, patterns, textures and lines. Note the complimentary shades of light brown, beige, and the black, white and silver of the waistcoat, watch chain, and tartan trousers. It’s neither too formal nor contrived, but simply unique.
Heavier fabrics will keep the cold out, but also make you look cool. This marriage of materials captures the texture and subtle hue of autumn leaves; against a contrasting white and black background, you see an interplay of more neutral brown and golden hues. The angularity of the scarf and handkerchief nicely mirror the jacket’s stitching.
We’ve lost the mellow tones here, moving to navy blue on black. The look is subtly anchored by the cufflinks, waistcoat and scarf: the gold and black cufflinks tie the latter two pieces together, while the white stripes on the trousers match the shirt and handkerchief, as well as the lines on the jacket. Details count. Notice how the cufflinks match the scarf? Both are black and gold. The pocket watch is a little antiquated, but holds the grays and blacks together for a smooth contrast. This is exactly what happens in the fall – we see an ambience of mellow contrasts, a natural gentleness and gentility.
VOLTA: [vohl-tuh, vol-; It. vawl-tah] In literature, the volta, also referred to as the turn, is the shift or point of dramatic change.
Fashion and culture magazine based at UWO, London, ON