RUDN art student to talk about deconstructivism in fashion at 'Science of the Future — Science of the Young' forum

RUDN art student to talk about deconstructivism in fashion at 'Science of the Future — Science of the Young' forum

Elizaveta Krivonosova is studying Arts and Humanities at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. She was one of four RUDN students who were finalists in the research paper competition of the 'Science of the Future — Science of the Young' forum. See the interview about deconstructivism and fashion.

"If in the 90s fashion house Mugler presented images of hypertrophied femininity, and Chanel displayed timeless tweed classics, Margela created dresses from plastic bags, sleeveless jackets from broken dishes, waistcoats from newspaper scraps and playing cards. The innovation is obvious!", said Elizaveta Krivonosova

If you're not familiar with the term 'deconstructivism' and don't understand how it applies to fashion, you've read above an example of a contrasting comparison of fashion before and after the influence of deconstructivism on it.

Why can we talk about fashion in the context of science today?

The history of fashion and costume is a huge layer of culture that can talk about society no less than folklore or, for example, pictorial heritage. Clothing is not only pragmatism and aesthetics, but also a real cultural code. Therefore, the study of this sphere can enrich our knowledge about a person.

Elizabeth's research topic is "Deconstruction and innovative modeling principles in experimental fashion". What is this and what does the Derridarian theory of deconstruction have to do with it?

I study experimental fashion design and the possibilities of interpreting its methodology through the prism of the Derridarian theory of deconstruction. In simple words, deconstruction is the destruction of worldview paradigms and the criticism of language as an instrument of cognition. The topic may seem ambiguous due to the disciplinary gap. Nevertheless, it is promising for the development of fashion theory and the development of a unified system for studying the latest fashion practices, the source of which is in the work of deconstructivist designers. Experimental fashion is something that is not fashion in the conventional sense, it is a game with tradition, its negation.

I researched the early collections of fashion designer Martin Margiela. Their visual component is based on the principle of inversion, it translates ideas in the mainstream of postmodern thought. Why did I consider the works of this author? Margiela's creativity is an absolutization, even, in a sense, a radicalization of the principles of deconstructivism in fashion. His works were as indicative as possible for the defense of theses. The triumph of anti-fashion is what manifests the creativity of the Belgian designer, who denies not only the traditional aesthetics of the costume, but also the dogmas of the entire fashion industry.

Why did you choose such theme and how does deconstructivism differ from other fashion movements?

I'm curious about postmodern philosophy, in particular specialising in the critique of language. I also like interdisciplinary studies that bring together different fields of knowledge. For example, fashion theorist Allison Gill suggested the idea of reading fashion deconstructivism through the concept of Derrida. Having delved into the topic, I decided to try and do some analysis on my own.

The fundamental difference between deconstructivism and other movements is that deconstructivism is not a fashionable movement. Rather, it is about anti-fashion – an opposition to the usual standards and canons within the sphere.

What fashion stereotypes does deconstructivism break? Do you adhere to a similar style of dressing?

Deconstructivism does away with standards, blurring the boundaries between men's and women's wardrobe. It levels down images of the "ideal" body, its proportions, forming an idea of a new free body. Deconstructivism goes against the trends in fashion, it rethinks the usual attributes of wardrobe and methods of working with products. What's more, Margiela also rejects the rules of the industry: his shows are not traditional social events, but real performance art.

For me, deconstructivism is more of an ideal object. These days, though, we are all deconstructivist apologists to a greater or lesser extent, sometimes without noticing it: ripped jeans, oversized jumpers and unisex are things of a deconstructivist order.

Why did you decide to take part in the forum?

I sent the application on the advice of Yulia Kirsanova, a teacher from the Department of Theory and History of Culture. I am very grateful! The sense of responsibility overcame my lack of confidence in my abilities, which I confess to being very happy about.

As far as I know there were over 3,400 submissions to the competition. All the studies were scientifically reviewed and judged by an independent jury. As a result, the top 10 percent of the ranking went to the finals for the oral presentation of the work at the forum in Novosibirsk.

It is worth confessing that I have neither scientific publications nor experience of participation in conferences and competitions. The reason for this is my indecision and perfectionism. Now I am trying to catch up. Recently I've sent an article to a contest on the analysis of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo's work, and I am glad that the forum has unexpectedly become the beginning of this path. It is the other way round: from multi-page research to articles.

It was a bit of a surprise to be shortlisted as a finalist, which makes the degree of positive emotions even higher! The forum is just around the corner, so I'm getting ready, getting ready and getting ready again!

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03 Nov 2017
Michele Pagano is a graduate of the University of Pisa, a leading scientist, the author of more than 200 publications in international journals, and a participant in many international research projects
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