'The long sleeveless evening dress is made of saxe- blue silk, completely covered with small matching sequins. It has a wide V- neck in the front, which dips to the waist at the back.' - Evening Dress, Chanel 1928
What does the mind conjure up when a garment is not seen but instead described in words?
Imagining Chanel is an exploration into how fashion is experienced through language. It explores the role of the viewers imagination in the creation of fashion to highlight that fashion is something that predominantly exists in our minds. Sociologist, Yaniya Kawamura says; 'Fashion does provide extra added values to clothing, but the additional elements exist only in peoples imaginations and beliefs. Fashion is not visual clothing but is the invisible elements included in clothing.'
Coco Chanel speaks of fashion in a similar vain when she says; 'Fashion is something in the air. It's the wind that blows in the new fashion, you feel it coming, you smell it. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.'
Imagining Chanel will use the descriptions of garments from the 1920s- 1960s Chanel archive at the Powerhouse Museum as a tool to draw attention to the role the imagination plays within fashion and that fashion is not something that exists as dress only. The performance mimics the Chanel Salon Fashion Shows from the 1920s to explore a range of physical descriptions from the collection. The audience took part in the fashion spectacle to design their own clothing through the device of their imagination.
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