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Performance on the Runway

DOI: 11.5040/PerformanceontheRunway

Curated by Isabel Mundigo-Moore

Understanding Joanne Entwistle’s theory that the “body is a dynamic field that gives life and fullness to dress”, this playlist brings together a selection of mainstream and avant garde runway shows from the turn of the 1990s to demonstrate how performance on the runway imbues varied meanings into garments themselves. Notice how the pattern of models with hands slipped into pockets at their hips becomes synchronicity between garments and bodies that serve to create uniformity, or one dominant “look” with palpable commercial intention. Body language can operate to maintain brands as fashion leaders, imbuing through pose the spirit of house legacies into new season pieces or subvert norms with free and chaotic bodily performance that connects deeply to the experience of the individual. Framing the mainstream poses of Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent models in contrast with the rebellion that Westwood and Gaultier excited in theirs, the selected shows reflect a world on the brink of mass globalisation and beginnings of increasing divide within the fashion industry between those who set the rules and those who defied them. This consideration of movement explores how choosing to dance outside the defined lines of identical postures or inflating the sense of bodily limitations reflects a historic resistance to contributing to capitalist standards.

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