Participants nominated sites on their body to apply gold leaf. The process of dressing and documentation of these body-sites became a gateway to personal narratives that built understanding around themes including individual experiences and perceptions of their body and other bodies, identity, adornment and decoration, materials and materiality.
Gold leaf, Sudoriferous lace design
Gold leaf applications to sites chosen by participants
Tanlines developed out of an interest in subverting the culturally accepted practice of cosmetically adorning skin with artificial tanning products for a ‘natural’ look. It addresses ways that temporary artificial tanning can alter subjective experiences of skin as much as appearance.
The contemporary popularity of tanning in Western culture largely traces back to trend-setting celebrities including Coco Chanel, who reputedly returned from a luxury vacation on the French Riviera in 1923 sporting a ‘holiday tan’ that thereafter became synonymous with leisure and a privileged lifestyle. Yet artificial tans carry a certain taboo: a ‘bad tan’ is one that appears unnaturally dark, uneven or overly orange.
Carbon paper was used to transfer a line work design onto the skin, in the same way that tattoo artists transfer drawings onto the body; the design was based on the structure of sweat glands. This was traced using a latex resist so the design appears in the natural skin tone and contrasts with the artificial tan. The process and experience of application and wear was extensively documented.
Tanlines, Day 1, Sudoriferous lace design, carbon transfer still visible
Photos: Matthew Burgess
Process and timeline of Tanlines application and wear
BROW WOW WOW
For Adele Varcoe + Ricarda Bigolin, Fashion People
In 2011 Adele Varcoe and Ricarda Bigolin invited 24 Melbourne designers to create eyebrows for BROW WOW WOW, a participatory fashion event, as a part of their Fashion People collaboration. The brows were shipped to London to be shown at the London College of Fashion, London Fashion Colloquia.
‘In selecting a body feature – such as eyebrows – where clothing is not expected, we wanted to reflect the way fashion and beauty styles can appropriate or adopt body parts as ‘it’ accessories, as seen in fashion and style media… The design challenge lay in how to adhere or create a wearable pair of eyebrows, particularly with a “wow factor” quality’ (Bigolin 2015, pp. 104-105).
Tarryn Handcock, sculptural eyebrow for BROW WOW WOW
Tarryn Handcock, gold leaf eyebrow for BROW WOW WOW
BROW WOW WOW on the catwalk
These projects represent a skin-based approach to dressing and designing dress. Material Application Projects, or MAPs, are conceived as a simple way of increasing attention to the conditions and experiences arising in the intermingling space between skin and dress. Lived skin is at the centre of this practice: the process of dressing is a means to engage with fleeting, subjective experiences of wearing artefacts in brief contact with the skin.
The practice of dressing focuses on small body-sites as a context for designing and wearing temporal artefacts of dress, and on embodied processes that invite the designer, wearer, and viewers to engage with and share their experiences of body and dress.
Bigolin, R 2015, ‘fashion People: participating and producing fashion’, in Fashion design for living, Gwilt, A (ed), London and New York: Routledge, pp. 97-113.