We’ve got an exciting new guest curation on Tumblr! Fashion filmmaker Ruth Hogben and our own Lou Stoppard will be teaming up to create a special Ugly curation in celebration of our rolling series.
'At SHOWstudio, we host live panel discussions to review the fashion week collections each season. During our debates and chats around the A/W 14 womenswear collections I found myself and my fellow panelists saying the word 'ugly' constantly. We talked about deliberate ugliness, kitsch, pointed awkwardness and witty bad-taste, citing everyone from Christopher Kane to J.W Anderson, Marni and the doyen of ugliness Miuccia Prada. I decided this vogue for 'ugly' and the seeming enthusiasm fashionable woman have for wearing odd, awkward or even downright hideous clothes was something worth exploring and investigating. Were they doing it in the sad hope of becoming a street style star? Or was it more complex, something to do with rejecting the male gaze? Around the same time Nick Knight was speaking to his friend the filmmaker Ruth Hogben, who'd got this wonderfully sinister and unsettling film concept in her mind that channelled Hitchcock. Nick thought that sounded pretty ugly so got the two of us talking and the Ugly series was born. We'd both wanted to work with stylist Robbie Spencer so we looped him in to select the fashion - the most wonderfully awful pieces from the likes of Meadham Kirchhoff, Dior, Prada. I set about commissioning brilliant writers to explore the topic. My friend and writing hero Alex Fury penned a great ode to Prada, while talented female writers like Lucy Norris, Ana Kinsella, Rebecca Gonsalves, Sarah K. Cleaver and Harriet Walker wrote about the way 'ugly' dressing is infusing every woman's wardrobe. Curator Judith Clark got in touch as she's long had an interest in all things ugly and offered up a brilliant article that drew on the writings of cultural theorist Mark Cousins. I also rang up Valerie Steele, possibly the most intelligent person working in fashion, to quiz her on the history of 'ugly' fashion. The transcript of our conversation can be read in the Ugly project on SHOWstudio. On Tumblr, we're revealing the inspirations and ideas that go behind that series, from Ruth Hogben's film references to past catwalk looks that helped me understand the history and development of the 'ugly' movement. Enjoy and remember, to quote Mrs Prada, 'Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer.'
Read more about the Ugly project and be sure to head over to Tumblr to see what Stoppard and Hogben are posting!