[ 14 Dresses, 4 Dress ]
The inaugural instalment of the series of
Non-linear Wearing Narratives titled
‘14 Dresses, 4 Dress’
brings to the forefront 14 distinct dresses (n.) and four unique dress (v.) experiences. The video depicts three phases of the wearing process: pre-, intra-, and post-, through the gestural language and behavioural nuances of the participants, underscoring the matter of the individual wearing the garment and the garment moving with them.
In this way, it posits that fashion is not essentially a mere static object, an embellished body, or a lens that captures the zeitgeist, but a whole process and experience of interaction between clothes and body through the gesture of wearing.
The film aims to challenge the prevailing monolithic artist-designer, designer-as-author discourse by providing pluralistic perspectives on the gesture of wearing.
This is achieved through simultaneous performances by a diverse ensemble of participants, shot from multiple angles. Unlike orthodox fashion films that focus on the creative vision of a solitary brand or designer or creative director, this film invites the audience to observe the wearer's practical and performative gestures and make their own interpretations, rather than focusing solely on the clothes.
In doing so, it provides an opportunity for viewers to create their own sartorial narratives through the film medium, just as the participants do.
Furthermore, the performers involved in the filming process see how the gesture of wearing is transformed into a performance and artistic practice: they are asked to describe their daily wearing routine.
Yet it is unattainable to fully play their authentic replication of these routines due to the immediacy of the performance, the presence of the camera lens and other fellow collaborators, and the fact that the clothes are fundamentally different from what they usually wear.
This subtly challenges the conventional understanding of "wearing" typically associated with everyday life. In other words, it transmutes a part of everyday life into an artistic practice to explore the symbiosis and interplay between garments and the body, and the performative dimensions of dressing.
In summation, the practice of metamorphosing the gesture of wearing into a performance prompts the viewer to reflect on their own 'habitual' sartorial behaviour and reconsider their perception of the gesture of wearing.
Post-viewing, the viewer can recall and compare the film with their own dressing process with those depicted in the film. Despite the private nature of their personal dressing acts, viewing them through the lens of public performance or artistic practice invites a re-evaluation of these actions as constituting a collective sartorial practice, mediated via the “gesture of wearing”.