Fashion exists through its representation. As Roland Barthes suggests, this is not ‘real clothing’ burdened with practical considerations, but ‘image clothing’ whose purpose is to signify symbolic meaning.[i] The fashion image, be it photograph, film or catwalk performance has become as culturally significant as the fashion object itself. Compelling stories of romance, drama, mystery and suspense have been constructed around clothing, providing the fashion object with its mythic and symbolic quotient. Fashion phantasmagoria questions and critiques the mediation of contemporary fashion through its images – the ‘magic delusion’ of the dream world of fashion is considered and the slights of hand that mask its production laid bare.
[i] Barthes, R. 1991, The Fashion System, trans. M. Ward & R. Howard,University of California Press, Berkley, p.8.