Thursday, June 23, 2011

Haute Couture en Bois

Rather than haute couture, Vermont is perhaps better known for a bas couture of Carhartts, flannel, and sensible shoes; however, any Parisian wondering around State Street in Montpelier these days would probably feel right at home after seeing this wonderful installation by Samantha Talbot-Kelly at Salaam Boutique titled, Les Femmes de Bois.

Though high fashion isn't often (or rather, essentially never) on the forefront of my mind, I have a real soft spot for wood art, so these pieces really turned my head and have gotten me thinking much more about women's fashion than I ever thought I would.

First, there is my favorite, Curls, made with wood plane shavings and fashionably accessorized with both a neo-Neopoleon chapeau and what I consider the most useful accoutrement, knee pads--who would think that something so practical could look so good. This piece is perfect for the woman that always wanted curls but couldn't stand to get a perm. Finally, a practical, fashionable, and non-toxic alternative!
Curls (close-up)
Then there is the most risque, and least practical of the group, She Drips, made with big chunks of bark (I'm guessing cherry, birch, and ash). In this piece the model has become one with the tree, leaving the viewer with the confusing thought as to whether it is a tree that looks like a model, or a model camouflaged as a tree. The striped vertical drips along with the horizonal brush strokes also take it beyond a simple fashion statement to something that could stand on its own in any modern art museum.
She Drips
She Drips (close-up)
And then, the most elegant of the group, Zip It Up, again made with wood plane shavings. It is probably the most conservative of the group in that I wouldn't be surprised seeing someone walking down State Street in it but still fashionable enough that a woman would feel comfortable on the Champs-Elysee. I would put it in the category of sensible haute couture. Personally, I think that hat should be a hot item. I'd be surprised if Samantha doesn't already have a huge back order of them. I'm happy to donate some wood shavings if she doesn't have the time to create her own. Imagine it is striped walnut and maple, or cherry and ash -- oh shit, she's already got me thinking about designing women's fashion . . .
Zip It Up
Zip It Up (close-up)
And finally, Strips, also made with chunks of outer bark and strips of the inner bark. Perfect for a woman who wants to wear fur on a hot summer day but hates the idea of a militant PETA activist spay painting her $10,000 outfit. Natural, vegan, cool, and sexy, this outfit really has it all!
Strips (close-up)
Now if Samantha would just come up with some designs for men, I just might be seen in something more fashionable than my Patagonia pants (which, by the way, are the most perfect pants ever made in that I have yet to find a place where they would not be appropriate).

Unfortunately, this installation is only up until June 30 so anyone wishing to see it will need to schedule a trip to Montpelier soon. It is much better in person but I also have to warn you that single men who stand in front of the display for excessive periods of time, studying the work, looking at it from various angles, and just generally staring, can be mistaken for perverts (I should have taped a sign on my back that read "Art Critic").

Bien fait Samantha!

(apologies for the excessive french in this post, I'm getting flash backs of West Africa and sometimes you just need to go with it.)

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