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Wild: Fashion Untamed

Bolton, Andrew, with contributions by Shannon Bell Price and Elyssa Da Cruz (2004)

This title is in print.

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WILD: Fashion Untamed

WILD: Fashion Untamed presents a historical and crosscultural examination of man's obsession with animalism as expressed through clothing. With more than one hundred costumes and accessories on display, the exhibition focuses on the practical, spiritual, psychosexual, and socioeconomic underpinnings of the decorative possibilities of birds and beasts. Whether in the form of pelts, plumes, prints, or animal symbolism, faunal apparel has represented one of man's more primal instincts.

Organized thematically, the exhibition examines how the physical and sexual characteristics of animals have come to define ideals of femininity. Evoking the power and strength of wild beasts, the notion of "woman as huntress" is explored in the work of fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen and Yohji Yamamoto. Drawing on nineteenth-century representations of "la belle sauvage," these designers have used animal skins, crudely sewn together and molded to the body like a second skin, to construct images of twenty-first-century Amazons invested with a potent feminism...