Tanaka Atsuko: Electric Dress (1956)
Tanaka Atsuko, a member of the experimental Gutai movement that flourished in post-war Japan, used humble, everyday materials — such as textiles, lightbulbs, and doorbells — for her extraordinary sculptures and performance pieces. Her “Electric Dress,” a full-body costume made of electrical wires and blinking colored lightbulbs, was her most famous work, and she would wear it to exhibitions. The first time she every put it on, though, she hesitated before flipping the switch. “I had the fleeting thought: Is this how a death-row inmate would feel?” she said.
So many fashion editorials inspired by Gustav Klimt! This is an oldie but goodie.
Photo by Norman Parkinson, 1965 (editorial inspired by Gustav Klimt)
At the Bar (Salvation Army Girls) by Jeanne Mammen, 1926.
During the Weimar hyperinflation crisis of the late 1920s, religious charities such as Catholic Relief and the American Salvation Army came to Berlin to provide relief - which was, of course, ironic considering the factors that led to the financial crisis to begin with. In the parlance of the queer Berlin demimonde, however, Salvation Army Girls (or, more popularly, Hot Whores) were heavily made-up professional prostitutes who serviced exclusively female clients. They could usually be found at the bars of lesbian lounges, looking bored and smoking cigarettes in long holders.
(Image and info source: Mel Gordon’s Voluptuous Panic.)
A Young Lady of Fashion, attributed to Paolo Uccello, early 1460s
From the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum website:
The woman is portrayed both according to literary notions of female pulchritude, which called for fair skin and blonde hair, and the dictates of contemporary fashion.
Costly brocaded fabrics, pearls, and precious stones serve not only to display the sitter’s familial wealth and status but also to enhance her physical appearance – in art, as in life. In addition to a red and gold brocade sleeve and a sleeveless overdress, the woman wears a head brooch, a pearl choker with jeweled pendant, and a white cap ornamented with pearls.
This fashionable beauty looks impassive, immobile, and immutable, as if she were outside space and time. Her portrait image has a static, stereotyped character, in which the sitter’s individuality is almost entirely suppressed in favor of the social ideals for which she stands.
Portrait of a Young Woman by Lorenzo di Credi, c. 1490-1500 via The Met