Developing a link between theory, practice and creativity in a master’s program is more difficult than I imagined. It seems easy enough to read, and critically reflect upon theory and somehow it feels just as easy to obsessively draw imagery based upon the sum total of information coming at me all the time. My process comes down to that of a sieve: one which is constantly weighing, filtering and separating components which feel prescient and special from the superfluous or boring.
My study focuses on how Edwardian social attitudes towards sex, female emancipation and leisure resulted in unique forms of boudoir clothing, which in turn heavily influenced Modernist clothing. As a result I am currently reading “A History of Modernism” by T.J. Clark. He conveys the slow burn which is the rise of Modernism and expresses its duality. Also close at hand is Loschek’s “When Clothes Become Fashion,” in it she discusses how recognizable clothing forms convey meaning and communicate ideas about identity and social structures. It is clear that clothing forms, as bizarre as they may be at times, are simply reflections of our complex social attitudes. Loschek discusses clothing as a “second skin”, but also as “a self referential system focused on self-organization” while Jennifer Craik asserts “clothing designs the body.” Going forward I aim to connect these broader scholarly concepts to Edwardian and Modernist attitudes more closely.
Loschek explains “vestimentary fixation on the body is prescribed by a community’s communicative agreement on morality.” Edwardian boudoir clothing would have reflected a multiplicity of moral attitudes ranging from erotic and provocative to merely “an intimate sphere for the body. Sheer, yet loose garments were ornamental yet often basic in their geometry, connotative through the “power of their materials” such as expensive lace banding and detailed surface structures.
As I work through my research I hope to correlate a connection between these Edwardian boudoir clothes to Modernist clothes through specific designers and garments, until then I leave you with some obsessive sketches....
Anna is a Hamilton based knitwear and textile practitioner blogging about her collection development as well as pre-1950's knitwear technology.
amy lawrence designs