Friday, March 2, 2012

The Aesthetics of Fashion

I just read a delightful article by Nickolas Pappas, "Fashion Seen as Something Imitative and Foreign."  British Journal of Aesthetics 48:1  Jan. 2008 1-19.  Pappas doesn't actually discuss the aesthetics of fashion very much.  But he does speak of "the impulse towards differentiation, improvisation, variation, the free play with fashion's rules that in real life generates those new styles that wind up being imitated."  So on his view Philosophy has often been opposed to fashion because it involves imitation, but then neglects the creative dimension of fashion.  It is this creative dimension that is aesthetic.  Someone tries a new combination because it looks good to him, not in some small way, but has a certain aura of significance.  I also like the point that "fashionability begins in the home, people really can be at home in their clothes."  Pappas ends by saying that fashion will be understood better if we being with people "engaged in the self-conscious task of dressing themselves..."  (all quotes page 19).  Pappas explains the lack of interest in the inventive aspect of fashion by noting that the inventors of fashion are often seen as foreign.

Another intriguing article on this topic is  Rémy G. Saisselin, “From Baudelaire to Christian Dior: The Poetics of Fashion,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism , 18: 1 (Sep., 1959) 109-115. He writes "a dress may be at some moment of its existence, a poem of form, color, and motion, and that at such a privileged instant the dress may transform the wearer into a poetic apparition." (114)

No comments: