'‘A fetish is a story masquerading as an object,’ wrote the psychiatrist Robert Stoller. A high-heeled shoe, for example, may tell many different stories. For a woman, slipping into a pair of high-heeled shoes can transform her into a different, more sexually-alluring person. For a male-to-female cross-dresser, it can signify the transition from he-male to she-male. Eye make-up may function in similar ways. What magical stories do eyes and contact lenses tell?'
Curator and fashion expert Valerie Steele is the latest sartorial mastermind to contribute to our Fashion Fetish series. Aptly - given their past curation collaboration - Steele is paired with Daphne Guinness, and focuses on unpicking the fetishisation of eyes and contact lenses in Guinness' film. Taking us on a whistle stop through references as broad as Bataille’s pornographic novella Story of the Eye and Salvador Dali notorious Un Chien Andalou, Steele evaluates the history of the eye as a fetish item. This is scholarly fashion analysis at its best - unsurprising, really, that Steele's been dubbed ‘fashion’s brainiest woman' by The Washington Post - read the essay now.