THE NEW MOVEMENT
written by PABLO PARRA
cover via MARNI F/W 15
What is the first idea that comes to your mind when people talk about a new fashion campaign? Probably models lacking energy in languid positions, reinforcing the idea that in fashion it’s better to avoid briskness just in case clothes get wrinkled. On the other hand, you have probably spotted among magazines and Instagram pictures, a group of women who are executing odd fashion poses, closely reminiscent of a painting by Egon Schiele or a circus act and not the common fashion editorial we’ve recorded within our unconscious.
Shonagh Marshall (art curator) and Holly Hay (director of photography at Wallpaper magazine) spotted Posturing, a movement in contemporary fashion photography where the female body moves into a world of unimaginable and almost contortionist postures, staying away from the common place where there was only room for photos of hypersexualized women in glamorous environments and languid attitudes. From this, they decided to stage a photo exhibition touring London, Miami and Hong Kong, accompanied by a film and a book that celebrate this commitment for a diversity of beauty concepts.
this photo –
photo by Olivia Lagner
Something I find interesting about the posturing movement is the way clothes adapt to the body and not the other way around, stepping away from the idea of models as mere mannequins, where they come alive to strike a pose that can send a message linked to a topical issue. Yes, in many situations these editorials still have commercial purposes -at the end of the day, a business must pay the bills- but what better than create a balance between the artistic and the commercial. After all, if clothes and their meaning are constantly changing, the body and its role in fashion are also shifting and now, eccentric poses represent tools that could help us to tell new and different stories that will surely make us question things we have taken for granted.
Having grown up in Latin America in the 90s, I testified two kinds of publications in newsstands: those where women appeared in suggestive positions with provocative texts in squeaky colors, and those in which famous women showed mansions with excessive luxury and an ideal of beauty that, at least in our Mexican society, is something almost impossible to achieve.
photo by Gemma Bedini
for NR Magazine
top & bottom –
Just as posturing represents a window to contemplate fashion in a different way, it’s also a new possibility for those people of non-Caucasian races and bodies that were ignored in fashion editorials for a long time, showcasing a single body type or a rigid standard of beauty. Today there are many publications where we can find a woman of Latin descent with a physiological complexion that reminds us of our bodies, enriching not only the content of a magazine, but also mainstream culture and the way we define our generation’s aesthetics.
Added to this, Shonagh Marshall and Holly Hay question if it still makes sense to shoot fashion campaigns (especially haute couture) in mansions with sumptuous decor, perceiving that there’s a change in fashion photography where pompous atmospheres are being replaced by more surrealist environments or common places with a different approach, where the voices of a new generation of creatives are interacting.
“I questioned myself if this was due to the political, social and economic climate in which we live. Fashion photography communicates the vision of different designers every season, so it is natural that they end up talking about topics that affect us on a daily basis” says Marshall.
photo by James Peroll
top left – Way Model Management
top right – Heinui F/W15
this photo by Valentin Chenaille
There have been different ideals of beauty throughout history, not only in fashion but in decor, design or architecture; molded by different events that end up defining a generation and how they fight for a cause. Maybe now, we have an ideal of beauty more linked to multiplicity, where a garment or an accessory can tell many stories depending of how it has been worn, regardless of the pose that life requires us to take at that moment.
With posturing, the human body goes from being a mere mannequin to a bearer of the political, social or emotional posture of the present, and us, as spectators, get to see beyond a mere garment.
“It’s about the way that the body’s positioned, and how that alters our reading of the clothes.” – Shonang Marshall