Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The May 2008 issue of Vogue (cover: a luminous Gwyneth Paltrow, furiously pimping for Iron Man) has an article about the New York Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, running May 7, 2008 – September 1, 2008.

This homage to Poison Ivy is STUNNING:

More photos here

press release

Objects will be organized thematically around specific superheroes, whose movie costumes and superpowers will be catalysts for discussion of key concepts of superheroism and their expression in fashion. Superman and Spider-Man costumes will address the subject of The Graphic Body, relating Superman's 'S' chevron to designer logos and branding. Catwoman will represent The Paradoxical Body, which will explore the character's vacillating manifestations of good and bad. The stars and stripes of Wonder Woman's uniform, a composite of the American flag, epitomize The Patriotic Body and designs that appropriate patriotic emotions implicit in the character. The Hulk, a metaphor for male potency, will introduce a section on The Virile Body, which includes inflatable clothing that swells to exaggerate the male physique.

I really can't tell if this is super cool or totally lame. I vacillate between the two every time I read it!


The Flash – a character who possesses superhuman speed -- will address the Aerodynamic Body as manifest in high-tech sportswear such as Nike's "Swift Suit" and Speedo's "Fastskin Suit," which enhance athletic performance in sprinters and swimmers respectively. Batman and Iron Man will represent The Armored Body, and examine avant-garde fashion that merges mesh and metal, skin and chromium. The Mutant Body, denoted by the X-Men, will highlight clothing that morphs men into beasts. Ghost Rider (the biker-demon with flaming skull) and The Punisher (the vigilante who sports a giant death-skull emblem on his T-shirt) will symbolize The Postmodern Body that suggests an anti-hero identity through the eclectic mixing of street styles.

Oi, Mark will love this:

Nathan Crowley, a production designer of films including Batman Begins and the upcoming The Dark Knight, will serve as the exhibition's creative consultant.

More riot cops for my bondage party. Whee!

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Blogger Mark said...

These look great. And as I always say, hopefully someday some effin' genius will see that it's possible to dress a character in a superhero movie with this level of glamour and grace, rather than always going the post-Burton fake muscles/post-Matrix black leather route. Maybe around the same time you can make a superhero movie without filling the soundtrack with awful nu-metal bands. That sort of thing.

April 23, 2008 at 2:43:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Trevor said...

I really can't tell if this is super cool or totally lame. I vacillate between the two every time I read it!

That's the joy of all "art-speak," and, I think, fashion in particular: it's both! You don't have to decide. It's super cool because it creates (and here comes some art-speak) valences that intersect and overlap creating a palimpsest of ideas, directions, signifiers and signified. In other words the statement is thought out, creative, and intriguing.

But it's super lame, because as we can see from some of the fashion, the designers were thinking of none of these things--they just wanted to make a cool and haute (hee hee)outfit--they never really gave too much thought to the whole raison d'etre defined in the statement.

April 24, 2008 at 10:06:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Trevor said...

I, too, look forward to super-hero movies w/o the metal. Unless it was a Lobo movie--then metal, and baaaad metal, would be necessary.

April 24, 2008 at 10:08:00 AM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

I really love the pieces -- the Armani "Silver Surfer" dress and that Poison Ivy homage in particular. So fun and so beautiful.

It isn't the art-speak per se, but you're right Trevor: the images and catwalk descriptions from the past coupled with the statement of purpose seemed a little stretched, and false. But I didn't pick up on that at first -- I fell back on "ooh, it's probably just pretentious art posturing and that's why I'm thinking it's lame."

It is a cool concept; however, with the images it just seems like someone trying to talk themselves, and us, into something (if that makes sense).

I want them to own it, and it's the juxtaposition of the statement with what is being presented that is the problem. There seems to be a breakdown, an insistent reach for something that isn't really there, and that comes through.

I wish we could see it in person to make a full assessment though!

April 24, 2008 at 11:25:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

In the LOBO movie in my head, the soundtrack is by Wolfmother.

April 24, 2008 at 1:44:00 PM PDT  

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