⬤ 14 Mar - 11 Apr 2020
The flyer for “Apparel” was thrilling in the vein of a vintage film poster like Jaws or Psycho—the title emblazoned in bold red letters against a grainy image. In this case, it is a photo by Anders Edstrom featuring Margiela-clad mannequins closely posed in line formation with heads muted by plastic wrappings. They appear like artefacts coming out of storage or a police line-up of de-identified women. They are in fact the models queuing backstage at the FW 98-99 runway presentation in which mannequins were suspended by string and paraded as lo-fi marionettes across a stage at Paris Fashion Week. The original photograph has a casual but atmospheric snapshot feel to it that seems to document the garments in backstage limbo, a means of advertising them in a state of zoned liminality—clothes, finally unfinished, suspended somewhere between elegance and formlessness, waiting to be reanimated on a real, live, chic body. Edstrom’s deliberately informal aesthetic was a fresh and vital voice in the glitzy arena of 90s fashion photography. Alas, the lo-fi fashion image is as familiar to the industry now as the high production studio shoot, so update the branding we must.