This essay was given as a presentation - for the images look below the text, Weebly is not the best forum to post large papers with imagery. I am working on creating an online book for this piece. JLF
“Art does not have to become a form of life. On the Contrary, it is in art that life takes its form.” Jacques Ranciere
There is a constant dialogue, within the studies of images of women, that is reactionary and emotionally charged. Questions immediately emerge that signal the commodification of the physical bodies of women equated to their sexualized image and in addition to this equation; images of women are constantly relatable to a religious manifestation of spirit. Blurring the lines of representations between stereotypes of Mary Magdalene or the ‘urbanized whore’ and the Virgin Mary or the purity of the maternal essence in nature. The works by Italian artist Lucio Palmieri are not immune to these representations. Bodies of women are iconized through historical and cultural stereotypes. However, they can be regarded as an aesthetic experience of art through their overt representation and acknowledgement of historical conceptions of women done through the commodity industry of fashion; images created for the fashion house of Dolce Gabanna through their subversive online magazine, Swide.
This paper will develop through a twofold theoretical framework, concluding upon the notion that in order to approach images of women we need to acknowledge in them their inherent disposition within society and history, but also be able to recognize that they act within the political realm of aesthetics regardless of their representational depictions.
The first will be a discussion of the inherency of the commodified image of women through the historical materialist lens presented by Walter Benjamin in his essay the Theses on the Philosophy of History. In using his theory, my purpose is to brush the history of the images of women ‘against the grain.’ Against the commonly held notions that women are constantly subservient to the desires of men. That in fact, by looking to historical representations of actresses, we can decipher that women acted as players in society. We can act as witness to their entrance in to the public sphere, how this composition through the blending of class distinctions done through clothing their bodies and within the dialogue of fashion, has remained inherent in the portrayals of women. By the utilization of Benjamin’s theory on the rules of progress, I question is there something we have missed?
Additionally, the argument will take shape within the framework of the aesthetic regime presented by Jacques Ranciere in his discourse, Aesthetics and its Discontents. In which, Ranciere proposes that, “the work of dissensus is to always reexamine the boundaries between what is supposed to be normal and what is supposed to be subversive, between what is supposed to be active, and therefore political, and what is supposed to be passive or distant, and therefore apolitical.”
Palmieri’s work cannot step outside of its politics. His work, as with images of women are always already embedded in commodity, the first through its placement on Swide – a commercial forum as a lifestyle magazine – and the former within the mere conception of the modern woman. Yet, within the distribution of images over the internet, this action allows for a freedom of spectatorship; the art is available for everyone. The work also allows for a moment of play, a moment in which the dominance of the fashion industry, and therefore the dominance of commodity is no longer holding the reigns.
My proposition is that Palmieri has created a critical art practice by infiltrating the criticality of Dolce Gabbana’s online world of fashion dissemination as lifestyle magazine. His is a work of dissensus, by blurring the lines of fashion marketing in the creation of deviant images of women and utilizing the beauty of the commodified fabric to clothe their bodies, Palmieri has acted as a historical materialist. His work presents an unspoken truth of women, that their commodification is imbedded in their history; along with the history of fashion, celebrity and consumerism, that one cannot be easily separated from the other. However, by way of analysis he presents a formation of art that sits outside of the political realm one in which we are able to distinguish between mere representation and aesthetics.
During the course of modern history, women have been fetishized or dismissed. Their images have remained within the realm of the commercial – no matter what medium is used to depict them – their images remain as a threshold into their truer identities, and as a tool in the tradition of patriotic society. This tool is in the commodified form and its dissemination to the public. Nevertheless, some artists attempt to reclaim the body and its processes by presenting it in its natural state of nudity or enveloping it within notions of labour, class, domestic, gender or theological divisions. Walter Benjamin’s project on the repositioning of historical materialism away from the linear conception of a universal historicism speaks to this process through the need to battle class divisions “by enlisting the services of theology.” Meaning that linear historical time must be emptied of its methods of resistance and its false acclamations of goodwill. For history, is always positioned in support of the ruling apparatus by claiming a positive progress for its victors. However, Benjamin equates progress to a storm and that in it becomes one single catastrophe.
The images, bodies and objects reclaimed through war and repression are only viewed by illuminating the power over the object through the eyes of the victorious. To struggle against this sovereign gaze, one cannot go about it blindly. Benjamin is asking for an opening of the eyes, and the senses to remember everything that has occurred before regardless of its position in support of the subjugation of historicism. This everything is all actions that precede tradition. However, traditionally, we continuously perform the actions of the ruler. When it comes to the bodies of women, we overlook strides in equalizing the apparatus of rule to that of the body. The body continuously remains subservient to tradition. Theology allows for investigations into the underlining and invisible threads that hold tradition together and what Benjamin would call the ‘unrepresentable.’ The unrepresentable is that past image of oppressed peoples and their becoming as so. He words this as such, “the past can only be seized as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized.” However, Benjamin cautions us in holding the image, for it can then become another “tool of the ruling class” to subjugate its objects. This action must continuously occur, regardless of time and it is up to the historical materialist to position oneself in confliction from the progression of history.
Artists have represented the sensibilities of the feminine; either by embracing stereotypes, (as we understood with many performances by actresses such as Mae West), violently emptying the stereotypical image by reverting it to one that is abjected (which is illustrated here by the 1934 depiction of Coco Chanel as Marianne by Paul Iribe), or reappropriating the commonality of a repressive pattern of speech.
For example, the phrase, “A dainty line in underwear went dancing by on Fred Astair.” Spoken by British Comedienne Paddy Browne, in 1936, while performing her sketch describing a dream she had after a night out. The dream was a presentation of performance within a fashion show, and yet the models were the famous male actors of the period traipsing around frivolously in the latest feminine designs.
These examples illuminate the consistency of place or site for the historical, the mythical and the allegorical positioned upon the bodies of women. In Browne’s case, she reverts the allegory of the feminine and places it upon the male body, highlighting its absurdity.
This consistency remains today and is most notable in the world of high fashion. Particularly in the forms of advertisements and fashion shows. My belief is that fashion shows are the site for a crystallization of artistic experience in all its forms. Yet, they are also prime examples of the commodification of physical bodies, not solely those of women. Advertisements are a whole other ball game. They are purposely positioned to create desire in the consumer, and most often through a gag-reflex of kitsch.
But, what of fashion illustration? This form of fashion dissemination has constantly blurred the lines between advertising, celebrity, commodity and fine art.
The advent of celebrity coincided with the commercialization of art object through its reproducibility. Benjamin visits this in his text from 1936, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. In which he claims, with the arrival of technical apparatuses to reproduce fine art, they allowed for a more nuanced and revolutionary situation for the discussion of politics in art." The revolutionary aspect is the negation of the time and space continuum of historical artifacts. As once considered the spoils of war, the ways in which the ruling class asserted their power of interpretation over the citizens of state; the reproduced image is able to transcend the space required for this interpretation. Benjamin describes this as, “Even the most perfect reproduction is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence.” This unique existence of a work of art is what holds the history of its subjugation to the whims and rule of the powerful. For it is a demand of authenticity and only the esteemed authority can give the object its authentic essence within the institution of art. The image or object is then reactivated anew, through “the shattering of tradition and of which is connected to contemporary mass movements.” Of which the below image of musician Lana Del Ray by Palmieri can attest to.
The most reproduced image during the 18th century was that of the actress sporting the fashions which were incorporated into the public forum through conversations between nobility and the performers. Accordingly, Jessica Munns in her essay Celebrity Status: The Eighteenth Century Actress as Fashion Icon, lays out the framework of relating the commercialized image of women to women’s placement in modern society. In which Munns argues that during the entrance of women into the public sphere of the theatre, being actresses and patrons, their conversations also entered the public realm. Women took hold of their place in the social fabric through the theatre. Previously to this period, women of the upper class were observed as domesticated and were relinquished to the privacy of the home and women who were forced to perform on the stage were equated to the prostitute. This enforcement was due to the lack of financial means or class distinction to support themselves. The individual and collective voices of women were silent and they remained separated off from one another. However, as Munns states, “by the 18th Century we see them as social performers, trendsetters and fashion plates.” Fashion was key in solidifying Celebrity through the means of reproducing the image, and the detracting of traditionally held sites for women. The theatre was the site in which the integration of conversations between women could begin through “the exchange of roles and clothes between actresses and audiences.” Actresses would perform nobility with an emphasis on their attire through costume, and once this attire began to take shape within new designs, the nobility began to wear the costumes as fashion and vice versa, a dialogue began. Fashionable portraits as marketing paraphernalia replaced the iconography of religious narratives with the more mundane depictions of the everyday. They were images that represented the spirit of tradition, but also reverted this tradition back upon the repression of the female figure. Primary images of fashionable women were created for marketing purposes to entice patrons of the theatre. However, the imagery of actresses in costume were also a part of the art world. They were fine oil paintings shown in exhibitions, and they were the first examples of a mass consumerist revolt towards the art connoisseur done through their reproducibility. Collecting blurred the lines between the wealthy and the middle class. The reproduced image also led the way for the images of actresses to become icons, and in turn the actresses themselves. “Actresses were fashion icons, now discernible from the high society.”
Additionally, Munns describes that this image of Sarah Siddons painted by Joshua Reynolds in 1784, as the site in which the era of the theatre as fashion ended and celebrity as icon exploded. Reynolds positions the figure of Siddons as tragic muse taken from Michelangelo’s depiction of the prophet Isaiah in the Sistine Chapel. By incorporating, the history of the religious into the image of the actress iconizes the actress. It speaks to the nature of the sublime, and tragedy; concepts once only relatable to religious icons, but now as something more inherent in human experience and primarily in the experience of to be a woman. The theatre set up a form of spectatorship and conversation; it was a site for “public culture of social exchange.”The exchange was embedded into the fabric of mass culture as that of spectatorship. Today, spectatorship is in many places consecutively through the dissemination of imagery over the internet. It is ingrained within our society and in which we conduct the act of being spectator individually and collectively.
A dilemma of utilizing Benjamin’s text, Theses on the Philosophy of History, for an investigation into the modern day depictions of women is in the lack of references to women. In fact, there is only one, a slight of hand. Benjamin motions to historians with a suggestion that they should find themselves in a bordello. “The historical materialist leaves it to others to be drained by the whore called ‘Once upon a time’ in historicism’s bordello. He remains in control of his powers, man enough to blast open the continuum of history.” Equating the bodies of women within the cultural artifacts as spoils of war: women too can be seen as these spoils, primarily the whore. Women’s primary place in the course of history, up to that literary moment, and continuing was/is as an abjected figure standing outside of history or as a figure of pure entertainment and imagery. In suggesting to the historian, the man who does not ascribe to the rules of historical materialism, to find himself in a bordello equates the bordello to the drug of ignorance or blindness and the women in the act of supplying this drug of false memory through violations of their bodies. Associating, the desire for history as complimentary to the victorious desire in the viewing of women as objects, objects only available to the men writing history suggests that there is far more at stake in sexually violating the bodies of women, hence illuminating the outmoded methods of historicism. The bordello stands in for the method of allegory, the phrase “Once upon a Time,” is the fantastical role of the allegorical. Christine Buci-Gluckman, in her monumental work on the works by Walter Benjamin – Baroque Reason – has elaborated upon Benjamin’s use of the allegorical within the discussion of mass art movements. The historian is always writing or contemplating about the ‘unfreedom of men,’ allegory is the imaginary tale of freedom. The straightforward direction of history is executed through the lens of the ruling class over the bodies of the oppressed. Accordingly, Benjamin is quoted in saying, allegories are always “allegories of oblivion,” they are such that the course of true history is forgotten, and it is only when a glimpse of the reality of modernity’s triumphs are contrasted against the old forms of regulation, “allegory testifies to a seat of resistance, of representation prior to representation.” Benjamin has discussed the entrance of women into the public market place, primarily through “the recognition of women as the allegory of modernity.” The feminization of the modern is ascribed to Benjamin as that of being the hope for a great upheaval of history. It is through the experiences of women that we would be able to bare witness to the revolutionary forces at play in modern society. As Buci-Gluckman cites, “The feminization of culture could be the trace, the allegory or the theoretical, for we, as yet, have no experience of a women’s culture.” Therefore, women are relegated to the site of the imaginary, the allegory. “Woman becomes one of the privileged sites of the ‘mythic correspondence’ within which the modern technical world and the archaic world of the symbol now operate.” If we continue down the path proposed by Benjamin, we will constantly find ourselves up against the ruling class. Woman as allegory is also as ‘mass produced article,’ as we saw with the forms of reproduced imagery artists were beginning to work with. In addition, with the allegory of the prostitute Benjamin consents upon historians. It does not take philosophy to point out that women have continuously found themselves violently removed from social life. Women are either whore or icon; at times, they can be both. But, is there anything else?
During the 18th century while fashion and celebrity were taking on lives of their own, so too was the world of the philosophical through contemplations on aesthetics and beauty. This period is one in which Benjamin has equated to a transformative power in representation and human change; it is also the period when Kant began an investigation into the world of aesthetics in relation to social and theological politics. Buci-Gluckman claims, Benjamin saw “art as beginning to lose any social role, especially in relation to politics, through the aestheticization of the everyday.” She goes on to point out the period of commodification as understood as, “a culture industry that produced an artificial public arena by combining high and low culture, reiteration, sentimentality, and easy passions that valorize the self.” Ranciere describes this period, “as defining a specific sphere of experience born under the banner of equality: the equality of all subjects, the definition of a form of judgment freed from the hierarchies of knowledge and those of social life.” Ranciere emphasizes that Benjamin was mistaken in attempting to separate the sphere of experience as art from knowledge and social life. However, Benjamin could contest Kant’s theories through the acknowledgement that if an artist reached back into social history and used its myths as allegory one can illuminate its pivotal moments of transformation, “testifying to a seat of resistance in Western history.”
Art and the object of ordinary life can both be represented as a thing that stands under dominance of what Ranciere would call “an absolute other.” Art in the representative regime is dominated by the canons of doing, how an artist should represent their worldviews through acts of mimesis, and ordinary life is dominated by the politics of the state, how citizens should interact with one another in the public forum. Yet, art in the aesthetic regime is not dominated for it stands outside of the rules for domination. It is not dominated by regulations, in fact it disburses the rules of form, sense and experience. Creating what Ranciere would call “the paradoxical sensorium,’ a new manifestation of the sensible.”
However, the modern movement of a revolution towards a new equality remained under the dominance of the ruling class. As we saw with Benjamin, all that remained in modernity, under the trajectory of history and its progression through conquest, was the violence hidden under the shadows of the sovereign. Aesthetics were delegated either to the realm of elite sentiment or to the triviality of beauty. Counter to modernism’s allocation of aesthetics, Ranciere considers it to be of a separate regime, one in which was not legislated by the representational. The representational regime is one that complies to the ‘Law of Mimesis.” In which Raciere defines as “the fine arts as a regulated relation between a way of doing, a poiesis and a way of being which is affected by it – aisthesis.” The autonomy of an art is absorbed by “the plurality of arts.” The rule of fine arts is a social nature that holds within them an entanglement of sites as interpretation, and of imitation. Ranciere classifies this social nature as comprised of three forms of nature, “the productive nature, a sensible nature, and a legislative nature.” Each one holding their own form of dominance over the object as art. Accordingly, Ranciere describes Aesthetics as the practice of separating the various components, breaking them apart through the movement of discourse. By this action the reasons for doing art or its poiesis is stood against its ways of being or its aisthesis accumulating into a new regime, that of the Aesthetic Regime. The Aesthetic regime is one of contrast, division, displacement and rupture, and how, in its polarity, can influence a new formation of life through what Ranciere claims as, “to agree from human nature lost or a humanity to come.” Through the lens of contradictions, we can see where this new humanity to come can be present; it is in the crack between borders of decisive regulations of sense. Ranciere elaborates, “Aesthetics is not a domain of thought whose objective is sensibility. It is a way of thinking the paradoxical sensorium that henceforth made it possible to define the things of art.” Ranciere traces the history of Contemporary Art through an understanding of the Aesthetic Regime of Art, touching upon modernism, post modernism and new relational media. For he confirms, “human nature is always simultaneously a social nature.” In which he speaks to the concept of aesthetics to be political, and adds that art is always political. Even further, we cannot have one without the other. The nature of being social is an investigation into a trace found in conceptions throughout history. The politics as a social site is through the allowance or disallowance of speech in the public forum. As with art, politics works as “a distribution of the sensible.” There are members of society that possess the rule of speech; they are the ones who designate the space for those rendered speechless. However, citizens are no longer voiceless, modernity and postmodernity enabled a multitude of voices to be expressed. Yet, what matters to the progression of civility, is their speech, the formation of what people say and how it is accepted, folded or interpreted into the site of the public politic. My belief is that Benjamin would agree with Ranciere in his analysis. That the sensibility of speech he speaks of, is equivalent to the “spark of making visible the invisible,” as proposed by Benjamin.
Before, I speak to this nature of the political in art as applied by Ranciere, I would like to introduce my case study of Lucio Palmieri’s illustrations for Swide, in order to relate his practice within the previously outlined conceptions of history and how they come into play.
Lucio Palmieri is an Italian artist now working in Berlin. He graduated from the Accademia di Brera in Milan, with a degree in contemporary art restoration, with an emphasis on works paper and historical ephemera. His art practice has included investigations into the world of celebrity as commodity. He seems to work primarily with collage and illustration, and both mediums have been incorporated into his work for Dolce Gabbana. He also works with animated digital GIFs presented online.
Dolce Gabbana discovered him during his exhibition Hollywood Babylon Reloaded, of which collaged representations of pop icons such as Madonna were presented.
They saw in his work a similar visual aesthetic to their own practice, one of presenting the past for the contemplations of the future.
Dolce Gabanna is the house of high fashion of Stephano Gabanna and Dominico Dolce. They have been working together for over 20 years and have designed some of the fashion world’s most esteemed creations. In 1985, they presented their first runway show for Milan’s Fashion Week for spring/summer 1986. Their inspiration for the show were strong female icons of the Italian film industry, such as Sophia Loren and Isabella Rossellini. One fashion reporter has claimed that they “are also to be credited in some part for the way women in the 1980s empowered themselves by reclaiming sexual stereotypes and using them for their own gain.” Removing the boxy masculine fashions of the 80s and replacing them with a more contoured and defined shape. Accordingly, the reporter mentions that, “The duo revamped strong styles that were previously seen as degrading to women, Confidence and irony are key to the Dolce & Gabbana look.” This confidence and irony follows Dolce Gabanna into the 21st century.
However, instead of looking to the era of Italian cinema, they move further into history and reclaim the Sicilian Baroque. Palmieri is too working within the visualization of the baroque period. His extravagated forms and the act of representing figures through the materiality of found historical and contemporary papers attracted Dolce and Gabanna.
Previously, through Benjamin, we traced the history of celebrity, fashion and the spectacle equating it with the imagery of women. We have discussed the roles in which the industrialization of the 18th century had an impact upon all forms of social life. How new forms of reproduction affected the essence of art in the transference of aura and how through this transference the political state of community was altered. Ranciere would discourage our thinking that politics and art as distinctly separated from one another. Art is political, through these very separations and distancing. Politics is the conflict of space, Ranciere states, “politics is not the exercise of, or struggle for power. It is the configuration of a specific space, the framing of a specific sphere of experience and the arguments formed surrounding objects in that space.” Art distances itself from this space of contestation, and in doing so distances itself from politics, which is essentially a political act. This distancing is done through the negation of wanting to overrule the politics of space and can be classified as dissensus, and its form is within a category of the dispositifs or the apparatus of rule. Accordingly, Ranciere would caution us against questioning if something is art merely from the sake of its being an object in a space that represents a political affirmation. Art is political for its use of space, and time not in its representation, but outside of whatever it is discursively presenting. There are four temporal shifts that Ranciere equates to the Aesthetic Regime of Art, in how it conflicts within the space of the political. These four are, The Play, The Inventory, The Encounter, and The Mystery. Subsequently, I wish to speak of Palmieri’s work for Dolce Gabbana under the guise of three of these categories, those of Play, Encounter and Mystery.
Palmieri is quoted in saying, “It’s the material that talks to me, not me to it. Often a story is suggested by its self. I let myself be fascinated by the random materials I find, and let them suggest what to do. I associate things without planning. It’s random. I meander the surface until it finds its way, its story.” This randomness of thought and usage of material is key in the formations of his work. We can also consign Palmieri’s illustrations to the Aesthetic Regime of Art. They are not merely works of imitation. Palmieri approaches his ideas through materiality as a speculative theory of play, and in how playing with found materials can conjure up essences of what it means to find emptiness in today’s modern society. Ranciere explores the concept of a randomness of play and how it can be contrasted to politics through the free appearance of signs and in its separation from methods of modern art. Play is defined as “any activity that has no end other than itself, and does not intend to gain any effective power over things and persons.” Art, which uses play as a medium, is also one that diffuses the need for one rule or method to be subservient to another. The category of play is considered, “through the suspension of the relations of domination and is the antidote to the passivity of spectacle.” Play is a contrast between action and passivity. It asks for unbiased participation, and one that does not dominate the action.
Palmieri’s use of fashion illustration as collage is the site where segments of commercialization and commodity can find a synthesis within conceptions of play. Ranciere proposes that collage is also a method of creating critical art. He states “collage combines the foreignness of aesthetic experience with the becoming-art of ordinary life.” Its criticality can be seen in the burring of borders between commodity, or political aesthetics, and the aesthetics of art.
Palmieri’s art also blurs the borders of spectatorship, in its placement upon a virtual fashion magazine. Swide is a lifestyle magazine created by Dolce Gabanna, in which they have hired artists and writers to speak to the nature of popular culture, but in doing so utilizing their fashions within an aesthetic of the everyday. Palmieri has clothed illustrated saints, celebrities and random figures in Dolce and Gabanna fashions. His figures are not commercially pretty; they are nuanced and distorted from their attachment to the commodity of fashion. They play with the conceptions of the sublime and the beautiful, of history and the present. Images transcend time with their presence on the internet; their period situated in time is no longer inherent in their meaning. The internet allows for a blurring of temporality, in so much that one can switch between images created in different eras by the blink of an eye and a click of a mouse. Doing so opens up a space that is not dependant on the politics of space; it is only dependant on the viewer’s interaction with the visual form in how they can relate the imagery to their sense of history and commodity.
When designers approach other forms of artistic expression, they can alleviate the commercial aspect of their work. Dolce Gabbana are not naïve to the power of the internet in producing dialogue between class divisions and spectators. Their practice of fashion has become one where they are personally disassociated with the everyday market place. Within the 20 years of their practice they have become billionaires.
Gabbana has been quoted in saying that they seem to live in a ‘gold cage,’ away from the commonality of the bond of life. He is also quite aware that people want the illusions, the stories that the multiple worlds of fashion and commodity have given them. A sense of mystery away from their everyday foibles. However, by choosing to commission Palmieri, they also give a sense of the allegory through an experience of art as rupture and of spiritual necessity. In looking to Ranciere, one could classify this action as one of Encounter. Of which he states, “Art no longer tries to respond to an excess of commodities and signs, but rather to a lack of bonds – building new forms of social relations.” By using the open forum of the internet - asserts the artistry of the illustration – in its role of commenting on the system of representation and imaging the repression of the fashion industry.
Consequently, over the course of 'history' we are unable to separate images of women from commercialism because it is ingrained in history. Palmieri’s fashion illustration imbedded into fashions commercialized system of commodity; the similarities of the figures, their somewhat abjected bodies, can be considered a brushing against the grain of history. Acts of deviance in fashion illustration does this brushing, it infiltrates the illusionary, the norm and represents it for what it is.
The historical inherency in images of women are of commodity exchange, fashion, theatrics and spectacular consumerism. Yet, what is also inherent is in the certainty of conversation or dialogue that foretold the constructions of these images. However, this knowledge has been masked or silenced by the commodity industry; in its setting desire above everything else. History has masked the fact that women themselves began to use the theatre, as their place in society, to dialogue with one another. The public forum opened up a positive role reversal and illuminated the actual lack of control male dominated society had on their own self-perceptions. The spectacle of celebrity, which many shun, ignore or dismiss, is actually something to consider as a tipping point for women to engage with the world outside of their private spheres.
Spectacle remains “a tool of the ruling class,’ however, if we return to its inception into the public lives of women, we can grasp the tool for ourselves. The modern to Benjamin was the site in which we lost the essence of an aura outside of ourselves, an aura that can only be maintained in the act of creating art and resisting the powerful. Through an historical trace of aesthetics and their qualities, this paper confirms that the collaborative work between the fashion duo Dolce and Gabanna, and illustrator Lucio Palmieri has successfully created a form of Aesthetic dissemination and illustration, doing so allowing for the historical trend in celebrating the fashion industry through high-end commercial imagery be refabricated as a critique of the very industry they are a part of. Palmieri’s powerful iconic depictions of actresses, muses, religious figures and mythological renderings are not new to the world of fashion. What they do do, is allow for a closer examination into the history of the fashion industry as methodology to describe our current fascination. His imagery ruptures the ideas of how to represent images of women in fashion, in how we can consider fashion illustration as art and furthermore, how women can begin to embrace their own history of speech.
List of figures:
Lucio Palmieri, Saint Mary of Clopas, Feast Date April 24, 2014 on swide (invocation against temptation)
Lucio Palmieri for Dolce and Gabanna, Summer of Sin, 2012 Screenshot of Swide, accessed Nov. 29 2014
Lucio Palmieri, Eyke, 2013
Unknown Photographer, Mae West, 1936
Paul Iribe, Le Cavelier, 1934
Unknown Photographer, Paddy Browne, c.1936 Courtesy of Paddy Jane
Three images from advertisements/fashion shows for Dolce Gabanna c.2012-2014
Marcel Vertes, Shocking for Elsa Schiaparelli, c. 1930s
Andy Warhol, Gloves by Schiaparelli, c.1950s
Alexandre Iacovleff, Callot Soeurs, 1934
Lucio Palmieri, Lana, 2012
Joshua Reynolds, Mrs. Siddons as The Tragic Muse, 1789
Lucio Palmieri, Medusa wearing Dolce Gabbana, 2012
Lucio Palmieri for Dolce and Gabanna, A fashionable personification of constellations, 2012 on Swide
Lucio Palmieri and Dolce and Gabbana
Lucio Palmieri, Madonna in Hollywood Babylon Reloaded, 2012
Lucio Palmieri, Barocco, 2012 and Dolce Gabbana, F/W 2012, 2011
Dolce Gabbana, Geometrissimo S/S 86, 1985
Lucio Palmieri, Arpie in Dolce&Gabbana, 2014 on Swide
Lucio Palmieri, St. Agata, 2013
Lucio Palmieri, Saint Agatha, 2014 on Swide
Lucio Palmieri, Agata, 2014
*** All Images found on the Internet *** (except the image of Paddy Browne, her image is courtesy of Paddy Jane) Lucio Palmieri’s work can be found http://luciopalmieri.tumblr.com/archive or on Swide http://www.swide.com/
To watch Paddy Browne’s sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN-VXF31CYo
“It’s the material that talks to me, not me to it. Often a story is suggested by its self. I let myself be fascinated by the random materials I find, and let them suggest what to do. I associate things without planning. It’s random. I meander the surface until it finds its way, its story.” Lucio Palmieri
Fun Quotes by Dolce Gabbana:
“We are very lucky to have such a beautiful job and we do live in a sort of “Gold Cage” – as I call it. One should go to the public, to eliminate filters by fashion journalists, by the buyers because at the end of the day we communicate directly with the final clients. They decide whether you are successful or not, no one else.” Stefano Gabbana
“We have the luck to be working with the most beautiful; beauty of beauty…” “We were really out of this world – someone really should have calmed us down” Domenico Dolce
Medusa was originally a golden-haired, fair maiden, who, as a priestess of Athena, was devoted to a life of celibacy; however, after being wooed by Poseidon and falling for him, she forgot her vows and married him. For this offence, she was punished by the goddess in a most terrible manner. Each wavy lock of the beautiful hair that had charmed her husband was changed into a venomous snake; her once gentle, love-inspiring eyes turned into blood-shot, furious orbs, which excited fear and disgust in the mind of the onlooker; whilst her former roseate hue and milk-white skin assumed a loathsome greenish tinge.
Taken from: http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Medusa/medusa.html
Saint Agatha; Sicilian Saint, persecuted for wanting to remain celibate, and not wanting to marry or share her body with men. One man imprisoned her in a brothel. She returned and he repeatedly tortured her, he then severed her breasts. She died a martyr to her faith.
Prayer: Saint Agatha, you suffered sexual assault and indignity because of your faith. Help heal all those who are survivors of sexual assault and protect those women who are in danger. Amen