[May 17 2016]
Costume’s triumph over fashion lies in its reluctance to give way to social indignation. The drama lies in that moment of discovery, usually as a child, when you realise an outfit’s capacity to activate a mood. A game of dress-up becomes a seminal act of embellishment in which each layer of garment is assumed as a part of an indistinguishable whole, within which the opposing acts of draping and tailoring shape or sculpt a self from colour and texture alone. In this, being in fashion can simply imply a manner of doing (or thinking about) a particular thing, like climbing into your mother’s heels as a five-year-old or pairing a gaudy chintz with a gothic collar to senior prom or painting the inside of house black or sewing together two four six pieces of clashing fabric. Why not, ab-fab. It’s all about atmospheres and tempers—a sensibility that echoes, actually, in what someone once wrote about Jack Smith, namely, that “arts greatest role may have been to provide provision for public failure.” In the absolute death incited by fashion faux-pas (the sartorial zero-degree), subjectivity slips in to encode failure as a form of poetry, fantasies and identifications all bubbling to surface like middle emotions, shame, humiliation, awkwardness, relief. I’m not sure how this exactly relates to Richard Tuttle, but maybe what I’m trying to say is that it’s nice to think that Tuttle could tailor a perfect suit, but doesn’t.
On view until June 26th, 2016 at The Met Fifth Avenue, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York.
Text and photo Sabrina Tarasoff