Contemporary fashion has a tendency to employ shock tactics to unnerve their audience. Through the use of employing a fashion narrative within their advertising campaigns, that delves into social issues (Berry 2015). In an industry consumed by appearance and the desire to look younger. The highly glamourised and romanticised images of death employs the bitter irony that all good things come to an end. Furthermore, there is the added notion of the ‘fashion victim’ that comes into play.
The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical thing in the world”
– Edgar Allen Poe
The prose from Giacomo Leopardi’s poem, written in 1824, the ‘Dialogue between Fashion and Death’ perfectly sums up the relationship between the two. Giacomo Leopardi depicts fashion and death as being apart of the same identity as each other. As both continually bring destruction and change in their own respective ways. Death in its finality of life and fashion in its ever changing styles over the time and periods.
“… Fashion. Why, I am Fashion, your own sister.
Death. My sister!
Fashion. Aye; don’t you remember that we are both the children of Frailty?
Death. What have I to do with remembering—I, who am the sworn enemy of memory?
Fashion. But I remember the circumstance well; and I also know that both of us are alike employed continually in the destruction and change of all things here below, although you take one way of doing so, and I another.”
– Giacomo Leopardi (1824)
Izima Kauro is one of many photographers driven to capture the oscillation between the beauty and horror of death. In his series, ‘Landscapes with a corpse’, he collaborated with models, actresses and fashion labels such as Prada and Hermès (Pytlarz 2011). In his series of work he collaborates with each model, asking them how they would like to create their own death. Effectively allowing them to take control of their own death; to glamourise and romanticise their own demise without the fear. The images are then shot as a close-up to panoramic, instilling the sense of the victim’s soul leaving their body behind. Outlined in the video below.
There is a dark consolation in the idea that death brings life. ”
(Leland de la Durantaye, 2013)
A brief excerpt from Izimo Kaoru’s documentary film, ‘Landscapes with a Corpse’.
Artur Pytlarz, “Inspirations – ‘Landscapes with a Corpse'” Convozine, September 17, 2011, http://convozine.com/narrative/22245
Dr. Jess Berry, “Fashion photography: From Heroin Chic to Narrative Glamour: Lecture 4” 2432QCA: Contemporary Fashion, (Brisbane, Griffith Queensland College of Art, August 17, 2015) Lecture notes.
Giacomo Leopardi, ‘Dialogue between Fashion and Death’, 1824. http://www.bartleby.com/380/prose/840.html
Leland de la Durantaye, “Mode of Death,” Cabinet magazine, issue 49 (Spring 2013) http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/49/deladurantaye.php
perl105, Kauro – Landscapes with a Corpse (online video, September 18, 2015). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IJF9f1gbqM