Thursday, June 19, 2008

Semiotics, Systems, Shifts, and Semantics

**So i haven't updated in two, due to being in NJ for my brothers' graduations... but i have spent this dedicated to sewing more pieces for the bell skirt on the 'photo dress'... as well in reading Nancy J. Troy's 'Couture Culture'... and found some interesting bits... :

Roland Barthes (structuralist) in his analysis of "the fashion system" (1967)
"clothing is not, or not simply, a functional necessity but, more importantly, the material ground of fashion. Fashion in turn is a semiotic language through which cultural meanings are constructed."
"his concern was to create a rhetorical model for understanding the operations of what he called "written clothing" as a linguistic code; in fact, the code itself, the system, was his principal interest: fashion was a pretext for his exploration of how linguistic signs are made and how they function systematically in the production of social discourse."

to paraphrase 
"clothing (fashion) moved from a way of denoting ones significance through symbols, tradition, prerogative, heritage, caste, lineage, marital status, political belief etc to a more standardized convention in which people became more self conscious and relied on subtle nuances to delineate onesself from another and to secure their repsectabiliy... (high class fashion became easily accessible to prostitutes and non aristocratic persons) 
Balzac, "in our society, differences have disappeared: only nuances remain."
(this conformity can be illustrated in the shift in practice from Poiret's colorful, eye catching clothes to the woman who took over his prominent position, Coco Chanel, and her implementation of  couture fashions that projected an image of standardization ie. the "little black dress"

--> think Seurats Sunday afternoon's uniformity in dress portrayal and surface treatment with paint --> also holman hunt and other painters depicting prostitutes (the subtleties like in ankle exposure or languid positioning were cues in telling who was promiscuous and who was virtuous)

In thinking about words and perhaps semantics... 
the dual meaning of 'Fashion' 
 verb - to give a particular shape or form to; make;
    to accommodate; adjust; adapt:
noun- a prevailing custom or style of dress, etiquette, socializing,
    the make or form of anything:

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