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Fetishism in Fashion publication

Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort takes us into the weird world of contemporary fetishism in her latest publication named Fetishism in Fashion. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 25-07-2013

A hard-back copy to accompany the sadly now finished Arnhem Mode Biënnale, Fetishism in Fashion (FRAME publishers) is a must-read for those who missed out. 

In the first few lines of her latest book we read an essay by Lidewij Edelkoort about how fetishisms come to exist in the womb, after which we are “born in bondage” tied to our mothers through the umbillical cord. The development of fetishism in fashion is presented through well-known designs such as stilettos by Christian Louboutin or Manolo Blahnik, Jean Paul Gaultier’s cone-breasted corset or Yves Saint Laurent’s liberation of women through menswear. 

 

Edelkoort sketches the history of fetishism, it’s beginnings found in the punk movement of the 1970s. But fetishism is not only rubber and latex, piercings and sex. It can also have a deeper spiritual meaning as was brought to light in the 1990s by designers such as Helmut Lang, Donna Karan or Zoran. 

 

Of course there is also the future of fashion, one that deals with new materials, smart materials and 3D printing as pioneered by Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. Edelkoort sees infantilism as a new-millennium fetishism, our need to be pampered translated into adult-sized baby grows, pastel colours and fluffy materials. Mohair jumpers anyone?

 

In total, the author presents us with thirteen fetishes. Some of them have become recognizable trends of late such as sado-masochism (rubber, leather, studs) and patriotism (americana, breton stripes). Others will need to be explained such as shamanism which will be characterized by embroidery, animal matrials and carved ornaments or a trend which has been marked for 2014: nomadism in which we will grab techno materials which can be worn both in the country as in the city. 

 

Furthermore, Fetishism in Fashion provides a series of well-written and insightful essays relating to the thirteen fetishes Eddelkoort discusses earlier in the book. Accompanied by impressive photography the essays range on subjects from Leigh Bowery’s fantastical costumes to Hybrid Fetish and of course touches upon the subject of corsetry and lingerie alike. 

 

It’s great to see a book essentially about fashion dare to veer away from its subject matter and go in search of a deeper meaning. There are no catwalk images, perfectly styled lookbook pages or fashion on show in a commercial manner of any kind. Edelkoort in her book is not afraid to show us the ugly, and sometimes downright desturbing. Fetishism in Fashion is a pleasurable publication which will teach you a bit more about our past, current  and future obsessions

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