This runway shot from New York Fashion Week by Sergey Dolzhenko/European Press Agency captured a brilliant idea - the blank canvass of the female. The photo accompanied a NYTimes article, The Sun Never Sets on the Runway, about how Fashion Weeks have escalated in venues, lengths and number of places.
Our adornment makes statements. Of our culture, our community and our place within it, our statements of individual uniqueness and our class. Dressing is an act of art and communication. Your outfit makes a statement in a language all of it's own.
I've never sat in a Fashion Show, but I sat in an audience last week (no photos allowed) to see the Acoma Pueblo Indians dance their Feast Day dances. All dancers carried or wore evergreen boughs. Each woman's outfit was the same with variational flourishes. Same for the men. The paint signified meaning, the noise makers symbolized group participation and harmony. The hand rattles even held meaning. To me, I didn't understand the language of the dress beyond knowing that conformity within the group was more valued than individuality. Regardless of where you are, playing the game of reading the language of the dress is an interesting game in cultural signs. Santa Fe or NYC: can you spot the tourist? Atlanta: Can you determine the class of the person? Think of your own place and what you wear to reflect your place in your community, your belonging and your individuality.
My children make statements of their own and they sometimes don't fit into my own cultural and social frame. Or they push me out of my own frame (having girls will do that). Even these things - my understanding or misunderstanding of the clues of dress -- indicates the change of signs, the inability of symbols to be stagnant. In Atlanta, pearls are the conformity symbols. In NYC the status marker is the handbag, or, for men, leaving a suit sleeve unbuttoned to flash that it is tailor-made.