SPECIAL GUEST INTERVIEW:
CHIU-TI JANSEN TALKS ABOUT HER 15th OUTFIT
What items did you use to compose this particular outfit?
-Custom-made pink silk gown with embroidered apron inspired by Scarlett O’hara’s “Curtain Dress”
-Custom designed interwoven gold tone wire necklace, bracelet and earrings with fuchsia crystals
-Cesare Paclotti Ayers snakeskin double platform pumps in pink and gold heel embellishments
How did you arrive at the decision to compose such an outfit?
Scarcity is style’s best friend. Scarcity is the genius of invention. No one has unlimited resources. Even the most opulent look, and the wallet for that matter, draws its own limits.
I worked with a tailor and a jewelry artisan to execute my idea — a playful allusion to Scarlett O’hara’s (Vivien Leigh) “curtain dress” in Gone with the Wind. In order to update her tired outfits in the depth of the Civil War and put forth her best feet/charm to borrow money from Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), her sometimes nemesis and sometimes love interest in the film, Scarlett asked her nanny to make a dress out of the green velvet curtains. My dress is very different in that it has an embroidered apron tied with a curtain tassel! Once the dress was done, I then worked with the jewelry artisan to come up with the accessories that would add the “pop”!
I am blessed that I don’t have to borrow money or borrow a dress to impress. But this is an elegant fable about ingenious thoughts in front of scarcity of materials.
Did you compose this outfit spontaneously or was it planned ahead of time?
Pictorial is definitely my mode of seduction. There is another reference in this dress: I always wanted to have a dress evoking Diego Velázquez’s magical painting Las Meninas.
In this picture, I rested my hip on the bookshelves. My posture dwarfed me—and I became the Infanta.
On a scale of 10, how pleased are you with this composition/outfit?
What roles do color, the fit, and integrity of fabric play in this particular outfit?
The pink fabric has built in subtle golden sheen, echoing the embroidery made with several variations of trims in antique gold.
How soon would you repeat/wear this same outfit again?
In a few years.
There is perhaps a spiritual, emotional, intellectual or psychological aspect to the what/how we dress. What is your personal experience in relation to this outfit?
It’s about fashion as fantasies.
Whenever I travel abroad, I often have this insurmountable urge to be completely immersed in another culture. Clothing and food are the two proxies for achieving these alternative identities. This dress allows me to travel to the US South during the Civil War and the 17th century Spanish Court.
Kitsch, as Hermann Broch once argued, is in essence an imitation in that it mimics what it is not. Along this line of thinking, I would think exoticism, with its aesthetic pretension of what it is not, is by definition susceptible to being kitschy.
When I dress with a flair of exoticism or historicism, I often contemplate where kitsch ends and where elegance begins. I feel completely comfortable with wearing something borderline kitschy and making it ultra-elegant.