Fashion is indeed the proverbial Pandora’s box, as stated by Tim Edward, and the more you will delve into it, the more absurd it will appear, it is a paradox of what we want to know but will never be able to know, However the point is not to get discouraged by this contradiction which exists simultaneously but to accept it and continue are hunt in finding the meanings as absurdist philosopher Albert Camus stated that individuals should embrace the absurd condition while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning, Which motivated me to take up the topic Fashion Avant Garde: Elsa Schiaparelli and Sonia Delaunay with the perspective of Roland Barthes theory, whose work was influenced by Sartre and Nietzsche.
Keeping aside the absurdity, I will talk about Elsa Schiaparelli and Sonia Delaunay as the leading creatives of the Fashion and Avant Garde movement, Schiaparelli is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars, and her designs are a language in itself as fashion philosopher R. Barthes in his study of fashion and semiotics coins the word “Written Clothing” and states that the “fashion system is not, as one might assume, an economic or social system, rather fashion is entirely a system of signs” For example the Lobster dress which debuted in Schiaparelli’s 1937 Collection, is a simple white silk evening dress with a crimson waistband featuring a large lobster painted (by Dali) onto the skirt.
The placement of the lobster is covering the women’s genitalia, if she were to be naked, flaunting a surrealist symbol of sexual acts and reproductive organs. This gesture communicates an expression of sexual desires and interests.
with the heel standing straight up and the toe tilted over the wearer’s forehead in a shocking-pink color, and the Skeleton Dress inspired by the Surrealist fascination with the human body was made to give the garment the anatomically appropriate effect of the ribcage, leg bones and spine, it communicates how clothing can be seen as a metaphor for the social issues that began to surface in the art world in the same way the “bones” are on the outside of the dress, the notorious padded shoulder which was used to suppress qualities associated with femininity to help create a masculine appeal, it was her use of humor, and the unique design that gave her the ability to question the ideas of the sexual identity of dressing, Therefore Barthes’s theory of fashion as linguistic text with the convention of “image clothing”,or fashion as visual representation can be said to constitute a study of semiotic methodology rather than an analysis of the complexity of the production and What is being analyzed here is the ”translation” of clothing into language, for as Mr. Barthes observes, rather wistfully, ”man is doomed to articulated language.” Without discourse, he says, there is no fashion, and this may be an overstatement, for it suggests that the object itself, the natural garment, has no interest. As if he suffers from an uncontrollable hunger or lust for eating, Mr. Barthes sometimes overgeneralizes. One is tempted to say that semiology is the science of overgeneralization.