On Emma Watson’s ‘tits’ & Feminism

Emma Watson Feminism Vanity Fair Tim Walker March 2017

A few days ago, Vanity Fair revealed a new cover story on Emma Watson, Rebel Belle. Included in the feature is a photo that sparked controversy for Emma Watson’s feminism and that, in my opinion, uncovers one of the main debates around feminism today.

In the photo, shot by Tim Walker, Watson wears a white crocheted bolero jacket, thrown open over her shoulders, half-revealing her breasts. To many, posing seminude in a widely-spread magazine was a clear antithesis to the feminist standards she so much proclaims to follow; it was nothing more than a hypocritical action, revealing how bad of a feminist she actually was.

Sara Berman’s Closet at the Met Museum

Exhibition Review: Sara Berman's Closet at the Met Museum

Fashion. If you’ve been reading along for the past year or so, it might be quite evident that what fascinates me the most about fashion is its capacity of communication: through our choices of clothing we send messages to the world about who we are, what we think, how we view the world. But fashion—the clothes we wear—is also about reinvention. In moments of change, fashion and self-fashioning are among the main tools used for the creation and expression of our new identities.

Sara Berman’s closet, now on view at the Met Museum, reveals the story of her life and her reinvention as a woman.

Celebrating woman?

Celebrating International Women's Day

 

March 8th. International woman’s day.

For some reason, likely related to the infallible power of the patriarchy that brought me up, this day brings the vague memory of the strange tradition, celebrated for the first time in my childhood: roses, cheesy words, empty phrases about female power. A tradition that, several years ago, I decided to forget, despite the yearly messages I get from my mom:

I know you don’t like it, but happy women’s day! [Picture of a rose with some cheesy quote about feminine beauty]

It’s not that I don’t like it, ma. I just refuse to celebrate this day if we are going to limit it to the superficial and the ephemeral beauty of the rose.

Fashion for Feminism

"We should all be feminists." Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior SS17.

My relationship with fashion dates back to the early childhood. Dressed in floral ensembles with glittery boots of matching colours, a tiny bow decorating the bob haircut I—to the horror of my mother—had insisted on getting, I daydreamed about becoming like the empowered, stylish woman that brought me up: always immaculately dressed with pastel-coloured pantsuits, sky-high heels, and long curls framing the beautiful smile that still manages to comfort me more than anything else in the world. The early ensembles were often replaced by full-skirted dresses for special occasions; later, and more permanently, by outfits made up of cropped tops, bell-bottom jeans, and 5-inch platforms; and eventually by pussy-bow shirts, culottes, and floral Gucci slippers. As I grew, the ways I fashioned myself changed, but one thing remained constant: the sense of empowerment that I give myself with clothes.

The “garçonne” in Colombia, according to the archives of “Fotografía Rodríguez” at the Piloto Public Library

As a fashion historian, one of the questions I find repeatedly asking myself has to do with the truthfulness of representations of costume in Latin America before the invention of photography. Although, until relatively recently, posing for a photo included a very delicate selection of the outfit—and it continues to be the case for some occasions—we can assert that the clothes that appear in a photograph are real: they are much more than the idealized product of an artist’s imagination, which, quite undoubtedly, is trained to show the power of the sitter through a series of visual codes, or a perfected copy of the European model, to which the American character is added.

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

Manus x Machina - fashion exhibition at the Costume Institute Metropolitan Museum of Art New York

Past the galleries of Medieval art, with fairy tales narrated by the tapestries on their walls, and welcomed by a short glimpse of the most beautiful Chinese ceramics, the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibits the Costume Institute’s latest creation: Manus x Machina. The exhibition, which transformed the renown Lehman wing into the cupola of a Florentine Renaissance church, opens with the dress that inspired it. Designed by Karl Lagerfeld as the closing garment for his autumn/winter 2014-15 haute couture collection for Chanel, and made with synthetic diving-suit material, its surface soft as a whale’s skin, the dress extends about 6 metres backward, its train showcasing the most perfect intersection of manus and machina. The brocaded pattern was first hand-drawn by Lagerfeld, then pixelated with a computer aid. Rhinestones were inserted using a heat press, and the gold paint and pearls were embroidered by hand, taking the artisans no less than 450 hours of manual labor in the completion of this masterpiece. If the dress presents a pregnant figure, made specifically for the model who wore it down the catwalk a few years ago, it also presents the conception of the most recent creative vision of the curatorial genius that is Andrew Bolton, curator in chief of the Costume Institute.