Fashion

Passage Rite of Fashion in the Show Window. The Passage Rite of Fashion in the Show Window. The Passage Rite of Fashion in the Show Window. This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically those of translation, reprinting, re-use of illustrations, broadcasting, reproduction by photocopying machines or similar means, and storage in data banks. The publisher can give no guarantee for the information contained in this...

Meidlinger Hauptstrasse

Several years ago, this shopping street was very popular among middle class customers. Later, the big brands moved to Mariahilfer Stra e or to shopping centres on the outskirts of the town. This shows that the street is increasingly losing its social status. Stores like to call themselves Trend Outlet Stores but in reality, the goods are not trendy. Here, too, the seasonal sale has reached the final phase < This small store has only one show window and the entrance door is to its left....

Oxford Street

Oxford Street is a very busy shopping street, and not just during the sales period. Soth cheap and expensive things can be bought throughout the street. A lot of international brands also have their outlets here. Sut our main destination is a traditional department store on Oxford Street, fhe founder, who also gave the store its name, was one of the innovators and pioneers in the history of department stores. His career began at the end of the nineteenth century in one of the new department...

Ny

Faced with the modern challenge of merchandise, art can find no salvation in a critical posture of denial (which would reduce it to 'art for art's sake', visibly and ineffectually holding up a mirror to capitalism and the inexorable advance of commerce). Its salvation lies in taking to extremes formal, fetishistic abstraction of merchandise, the magical glamour of exchange value. Art must become more mercantile than merchandise itself more remote from use value than ever before, art must take...

Innere Stadt

Vienna's first district is not only home to extremely expensive boutiques but also to more reasonably priced, middle-class fashion stores. The customers are a mix of tourists and local people. We recognise the very first signs of the seasonal sale of the autumn winter collection when we read the weekend issue of a newspaper a few days before New Year's Eve. < We find a full-page advertisement on page three, right in the middle of the section on politics. It's a rather dark photograph, a...

Xiv

Fashion prescribes the ritual according to which the commodity fetish demands to be worshipped.546 The last chapter will try to throw light on the nature of the seasonal sale and its dramatisation of the ugly as observed by us on our walks through main shopping streets in Paris, Vienna, London, New York547 and Hamburg. Roland Barthes decided to use the fashion magazines of only one year (1958 59) for his discussion of the fashion system548 As we pointed out at the beginning, we have followed an...

Knightsbridge

Two famous department stores and a lot of smaller fashion boutiques especially for young people characterise the shopping area around the underground station. One of the boutiques seems to be staging a period of mourning < fhe windows are totally black. It Is only possible to look Into the show window through the cut-out letters of the SALE announcement and the underlining, fhls transparent line also bears the Information fimL fi DCf IOIS. Only some of the visible mannequins are dressed In...

Cgcnt Street

It was nearly the end of the winter sales when we arrived In London. According to our observations, the degree of dramatisation Increases as the seasonal sales approach the end. The Initial enthusiasm about cheaper shopping has taken wing, but the stores try to mobilise bargain hunters once again by Indicating further reductions < This modern storefront has a huge show window. In the back Is a wall painted magenta, fhe word S LE covers almost the whole surface of the backdrop. Two clothes...

Ritual Mastery

Beside their main purpose to sell things, stores can fulfil symbolic social functions as well.114 This insight does not come from sociology or social anthropology, but from marketing. It is especially important to mention that the function of brands is to gather group members. Rituals, too, have the function of stabilising groups. This makes the institution of the store a good place to perform rituals since it is a space for a special group with which it shares similarities, and therefore...

The Sales Window

Today, the show window is a place where many disciplines come together. Several specialists are involved in designing the appearance of contemporary show windows. The common denominator in architecture, art, design, graphic, marketing and advertisement is that their contributions jointly create an aesthetic experience in the show window. Commercialised aesthetics has the task of fulfilling a commercial function 133 Belliger Krieger (1998 28-9)*. beyond its artistic expression. In the case of...

Spitaler Strasse

The street parallel to M nckeberg Stra e is full of smaller fashion boutiques for young customers. We stop in front of one of them < This tiny show window is covered by two white posters. Bold red letters on each of them spell out the word SALE (bis zu) 70 (reduziert) SALE (reduced up to) 70 . There is a tiny gap between the two posters. In the middle, behind the poster, stands a naked female mannequin. When we peer into the show window from the side, we see that there are two more hidden...

List of illustrations

P. 5 Advertisement by the mannequin maker Figuren Jung',' 1970. Photograph by permisson of NicePriceMannequin. p. 74 Naked male mannequin, Mariahilferstra e, Vienna, January 2004. Photographed by the author. p. 75 Naked female mannequin, Graben, Vienna, 2005. Photographed by the author. p. 76 Covered show window, Brandst tte, Vienna, January 2005. Photographed by the author. p. 77 Regent Street London, January 2004. Photographed by the author. p. 78 Ritual clothing, Rotenturm Stra e, Vienna,...

Preface

To be more precise, it is about the ugly show window that appears twice a year - during the seasonal sales of fashion when, strikingly enough, the visual economy of beauty is disrupted by the impact of the unsightly. We will call this Dionysian period the death of fashion Once the fashion collection of the past season is no longer in fashion, the period of the seasonal sales becomes the transitional phase between the old and the new collection. It seems to us as if...

Consumer Beliefs

Before we analyse in detail the fashion show window and its ritualisation during the sales, we will briefly outline the cultural context of the phenomenon in the Western consumer society. According to Marshall Sahlins, the term culture denotes a meaningful order of persons and things.29 The difference between culture and social structure is that social structure is the social system of interaction itself, while culture is a structured system of meanings and symbols where social interaction...

Sacrifice

And as society is made up not only of men, but also of things and events, we perceive how sacrifice can follow and at the same time reproduce the rhythms of human life and of nature how it has been able to become both periodical by the use of natural phenomena, and occasional, as are the momentary needs of men, and in short to adapt itself to a thousand purposes.592 When Hubert and Mauss originally published their study on sacrifice in 1898, they did not perhaps consider applying it to the...

Ew Bond Street

Soutiques in this street address the upper strata of society, fhere are fewer people here than in fiegent Street, fhe first boutique with striking sales decoration works with an intuitive image, which can be easily related to sacrificial rituals 378 The posture is ambivalent, but the interpretation given here would be shared by most of the spectators. It Imitates the graphic design of sex shops. < fhis little boutique has just one largish show window. Two mannequins wearing winter clothes are...

Procession

Twice each year, the fashion industry succumbs to the allure of pure, exhilarating spectacle. Seventh Avenue traffics in fantasy, myth-making, and romance. Audiences assemble around the catwalks in anticipation of the clothes, the models the magic.564 It is clear today that the fashion taste and the development of new design are not only influenced by the ritualised presentation of the new fashion through couture shows in the major fashion capitals.565 Nevertheless, we will focus on the...

The Fashion System

Christmas was over when we opened the daily newspaper and found an advertisement for the winter sale in the boutique of an Italian fashion brand. Fashion brands do normally advertise in fashion magazines, but in a way, this advertisement was like a death announcement in daily papers. All it said was Sale, and the address of the fashion boutique in the first district of Vienna, which was printed in bold white on a black background. So, we set out to take a look at the city's storefronts and...

Intuitive Images

I believe that magical attitudes towards images are just as powerful in the modern world as they were in so-called ages of faith172 With this statement, Mitchell concluded that in today's visual culture we have to deal with the paradoxical double-life of images they are alive, but they are also dead.173 The vital life of images in the religious context has often been compared to the use of images in consumer culture. In a text fragment from 1921, Benjamin compared capitalism with religion. He...

Visual Lexicon

Rites of Passage The attributes of liminality or of liminal personae (threshold people) are necessarily ambigious, since this condition and these persons elude or slip through the network of classifications that normally locate states and positions in cultural space. They may be disguised as monsters, wear only a strip of clothing, or even go naked, to demonstrate that as liminal beings they have no status, property, insignia, secular clothing indicating rank or role, position in a kingship...

Mariahilfer Strasse

This is a very busy shopping street, especially during the sales period. People are rushing up and down, hunting for bargains. We start our walk in a shopping centre < A young woman is staring at us. She has her arms behind her head. Her blonde hair is cut to the length of her chin and is slightly dishevelled. She is naked and is standing close to the show window, inside a boutique for young fashion. Her breasts are covered with a yellow poster saying -50 SALE. Two white bird's wings cover...

Favoriten Strasse

Customers who do not have much money to spend on their shopping frequent this street. When speaking of fashion design today, this is not the place we think about first. This street is not really a model for excellent retail design even during the year. Although similar shops exist in every city, we have never seen such an environment in books about retail design. But they probably make 323 Sch nberger (no year 17)*. This course book for window dressers was published before 1929 more money than...

Fifth Avenue

Whatever has been portrayed onstage is now seen as not the real thing at all but only a representation, one made benignly to provide vicarious involvement for the onlooker. (Indeed at curtain calls actors routinely maintain the costume they wore when the curtain came down, but now the costumes are worn by individuals who do not fill them characterologically but slackly severe as mere hangers, a hat off or a scarf missing, as though to make a point that nothing real is to be attributed to...

West 50th Street

There is a connection between the show window and art (theatre, painting, performance art ), fashion, design (shop design, window dressing, graphics ), architecture, and marketing (consumer research, merchandising ).438 In literal terms, our chapter is set in New York, because we associate a lot of our reading material with this place. We will, however, not enter into an art historic or design theoretic discussion here. We have not undertaken any visual research in New York, but we will use a...

Boulevard Haussmann

In his analysis of the fashion system, Roland Barthes did not take into account the visual representation of fashion -neither in the fashion magazine, nor in its spectacular representation in the show windows of fashion stores. The main body of his analysis only addresses fashion.270 But this is exactly the reason why the transition from one fashion to another and the transitional phase is not within his field of vision. The seasonal sale stages the not fashionable, in fact it confronts us with...

Mythology

A s a season, spring is both pure and mythical at once mythical, by virtue of the awakening of nature Fashion takes this awakening for its own, thus giving the readers, if not its buyers, the opportunity to participate annually in a myth that has come from the beginning of time spring Fashion, for the modern woman, is like what the Great Dyonysia or the Anthesteria were for the ancient Greeks.549 Roland Barthes related the advent of the spring collection to the myth of the awakening of nature....

Hamburg

For this reason fashion, which represents the variable and contrasting forms of life, has since then become much broader and more animated, and also because of the transformation in the immediate political life, for man requires an ephemeral tyrant the moment he has rid himself of the absolute and permanent one. The frequent change of fashion represents a tremendous subjugation of the individual and in that respect forms one of the essential complements of the increased social and political...

Fashion Cycle

The production of garments is linked to the seasons of nature. The change in seasons provide us with a natural explanation for the transition of special categories of clothing, which are adapted according to the weather conditions. Warmer or lighter fabrics are used for creating such garments. Even our language refers to the seasons, as we do not simply call a given piece of garment a jacket but mostly add the season for which the jacket has been designed. We say, for example, that we will wear...

My Magic Fashion

Thus religious or magical behaviour or thinking must not be set apart from the range of everyday purposive conduct, particularly since even the ends of the religious and magical actions are predominantly economic.617 Here, Max Weber gives us a preliminary idea about how magic action is rationally involved in contemporary life. So, the conclusion we draw from this quote is that both the production side as well as the consumption side probably use magic action for economic reasons. It is hard to...

East 2nd Street

Looking through the glass into the show window is really like looking at the stage - with this difference the actors, in art terms, are speaking plastics in motion, whereas the merchandise is a silent, static object.461 The show window is related to art, but also to theatre. Frederic Kiesler provides some examples in which he shows images of avantgarde stage settings of his day so that their artistic principles can be applied to the creation of backgrounds for the retail theatre.462 We will...

The Death of Fashion

In the beginning of this book, we asked how fashion dies. And we decided to choose the fashion show window in the moment of the death of fashion the seasonal sale of the past collection as our object of research in order to find it. This choice represents an emphasis on the aesthetic aspects of dramatisation, rather than on social or economic reasons for the death of a fashion collection. When we say death, we use the term in a metaphorical way in order to emphasise that the garments are no...

Avenue Montaigne

Traditional fashion labels have their boutiques in this street. There are not many shoppers walking around because most potential clients are either driven over by their chauffeurs or come by taxi. A famous hairdresser in this street employs an attendant who parks the cars for his clients. It is the peak of the retail pyramid, but even high fashion boutiques need as much traffic as the shopping streets. This is why some traditional couture houses changed their location to such streets. It will...

Paris

For fashion was never anything other than the parody of the motley cadaver, provocation of death through the woman, and bitter colloquy with decay whispered between shrill bursts of mechanical laughter. That is fashion. And that is why she changes so quickly she titillates death and is already something different, something new, as he casts about to crush her.234 We start our walk down Avenue des Champs Elysees from Place Charles De Gaulle, and cross over to the left side of the road because...

Bibliography

Aicher, Otl Die Welt als Entwurf Berlin Ernst amp Sohn, 1992 . Albus, Volker Borngr ber, Christian Design Bilanz. Neues deutsches Design der 80er Jahre in Objekten, Bildern, Daten undTexten Cologne DuMont, 1992 . Almhofer, Edith, Performance Art. Die Kunst zu leben Vienna Cologne Graz B hlau, 1986 . Anonymus Modische Enth llungen in Das Schaufenster, vol. 20, no. 7, July 1970 Passau Passavia, 1970 , pp. 10-11. Anonymus Restein Das Schaufenster. Monatshefte f r moderne Werbung, vol. 7, January...

Ritualisation

Ritualisation is now frequently the preferred term particularly for studies focusing on ritual in technologically advanced societies52 We will analyse the basic principles of ritualisation in the following subchapter. This is necessary to understand the performative dimension in the staging of the seasonal sales better. We will see that ritual theory provides fundamental insights into the 50 Example taken from Karmasin 1998 398-303 . This commercial is presented like a storyboard with text,...