ROLAND BARTHES AU PALACE, 1978. ALL PHOTOGRAPHS © PHILIPPE MORILLON COURTESY: PHILIPPE MORILLON
AT THE PALACE BAR, 1979 (LOULOU DE LA FALAISE, CAROLINE LOEB, THADÉE KLOSSOWSKI DE ROLA AND MOUNIA). ALL PHOTOGRAPHS © PHILIPPE MORILLON COURTESY: PHILIPPE MORILLON
I was baffled when seeing on www.gucci.com the inspirational pictures choosen to be a glimpse of what to come with the presentation of GUCCI ss2019 by master Alessandro Michele in Paris. These pictures are not just providing an air of the atmosphere in Paris at that moment in time or its nightlife. The first picture have a very special person featured – Roland Barthes.
Why did this get me going? Well, I wrote many years ago on this website, during the period Ignasi Monreal did a GUCCI campaign, how I felt a need to use an academic approach based upon Roland Barthes theories to make an interpretation of the fashion images/paintings in that campaign.
Nowadays I tend to be a bit of a nerd in the way I make my analysis from my academical perspecive, ethnology and of course: Art and fashion science. This proves how much my studies at Stockholm University and my vurm for art and especially fashion portraits really has changed my own approach when looking at fashion images or paintings. When I analyze GUCCI looks, campaigns and so forth, it takes infinitely longer for me now than it would have take before my academic studies. This is master Alessandro Micheles fault as he challenge me with his vurm for history, art and beauty – therefor creates looks that are complete further then meets the eye – it tingles the brain and warms the heart.
I tend to use a method founded by this theorist Roland Barthes as a way to systematically analyze images. Barthes' theory lays upon his notions about two orders of designation. He calls these orders: denotation and connotation. In the second scheme, connotation, also includes myths and symbols. A myth in Barthes' sense is a story which within a culture explains or perceive any aspect of reality or nature. Barthes argues that a myth is culture's way of thinking about something; a way of explain something. The myth is denoted the importance of the second order, and the myths is the human need to put labels on things to understand them. The third way for the designation of the second degree Barthes calls for symbols. A sign becomes a symbol in the convention and use obtained a significance that makes it stand for something else.
Theorist Hall explained that Barthes denotation is the simple, basic, descriptive level, where consensus is wide and most people would agree on the meaning. On the second level - connotation - are these signals / signs that we have been able to "decode" in a simple way by using our conventional conceptual classifications to read their meaning, giving a broader perspective through other types of codes - "fashion language" - which connects them to broader themes and meanings. These bind them with what we can call the wider semantic field in our culture: ideas about the "elegance", "formality", "simplicity" and "romance". The second order then, as in a wider meaning is no longer a descriptive level of obvious interpretation. Here we begin to interpret the completed signs in terms of social ideology - the general beliefs, conceptual frameworks and values in society.
Now, it is just up to me to look at each look from the new GUCCI collection and try to understand what story magician Alessandro Michele wants to share with his choice of designs and styling. In addition to this I must ofc take in the ”room” or rather the theater where the looks are presented and the movement inside it and what music that will function as a guidline to interpretation. Soon, very soon it is showtime! xoxo
SERGE GAINSBOURG AND CATHERINE DENEUVE AT THE PALACE, 1980. ALL PHOTOGRAPHS © PHILIPPE MORILLON COURTESY: PHILIPPE MORILLON
CAMPBELL'S SOUP SHIRT, 1974. ALL PHOTOGRAPHS © PHILIPPE MORILLON COURTESY: PHILIPPE MORILLON
ALL IMAGES IN THIS POST FROM WWW.GUCCI.COM.