Based on the exhibition of 2016 at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 Years investigates the duo’s conception of “wearable art.”
The exhibition argues that a singular DNA weaves its way through these two branches of Margiela’s creative career, reconciling the apparent disjuncture between Margiela’s identity as a rebel against the fashion system and a designer for one of French fashion’s most patrimonial houses.
Set in my traditional fashion exhibition viewing ways, I declined to try on any of the pieces on view. However, I found myself reaching out to touch the garments on the racks, examining the screen-printed sweatshirts as I would while shopping.
I’m not sure why I signed up for the introduction to the London College of Fashion Archives, but I’ll never forget the feeling of walking into that seminar room and seeing a trolley full of archival boxes with some of their contents already carefully laid out on Tyvek-covered tables.
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I sat there in the back eyeing what I could see of the others, trying to figure out who would be my friends when you walked into the room and my brain went "HER". What I saw was you wearing your white t-shirt dress with the rose print on, black booties, a peacock feather tattoo, and an annoyed expression which I would later learn was your default expression at 9 am.
I first did drag my senior year of college, dressing in character with two of my girlfriends as a performance art piece. I borrowed their clothes and a cheap Ricky’s wig and bought a pair of cheap heels from Payless that I didn’t yet know how to walk in. I’ll never forget the first time someone referred to me as a “lady,” even though I still hadn’t quite figured out how to do my makeup.
My style is a testament to the beauty and effortless cool that women of color, and in particular, BLACK women, possess. It was in this spirit that I chose to reflect the rich legacies of the black women who came before me through my visual project, #WhoButABlackWomyn.