Some of the images accompanying yesterday's post celebrated the male body, so let's move from this theme to look at bold hints of eroticism and at striking details in theatrical costumes. In 1937 Coco Chanel designed the costumes for Jean Cocteau's Oedipus Rex. The main character was played by Jean Marais, Cocteau's handsome young lover.
The costume for this character consisted in a series of white elasticized bands that, winding around his naked body, revealed some portions of skin, giving the impression from a distance that Marais was maybe wearing a striped bodysuit. Other male characters wore variations on this costume that at the time scandalised many members of the audience because it called to mind bondage, but also gave the costume a macabre edge reminding of a mummy's attire.
Yet Marais' costume wasn't the only notable one included in this production: Chanel designed for Iya Abdy as Jocasta a striking felt gown with a bodice decorated with an inverted V-shaped motif imitating a sort of artillery magazine and a full skirt divided in multicoloured sections. The costume was accompanied by matching jewellery, that is a long necklace made of wooden spools of thread from a seamstress' worktable. (The spools also referenced the spinning threads of the three Fates of classical mythology.) One critic spotted Russian and eastern European inspirations in this costume, as if Chanel was referencing a Cossack's tunic over a skirt draped in the gypsy style.
Interested in discovering more about Chanel in connection with Jean Cocteau? A new "Culture Chanel" exhibition will take place at the Ca' Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art in Venice from 17th September 2016 to 8th January 2017. Curated by Jean-Louis Froment (founder of the CAPC Musée d'Art Contemporain in Bordeaux and previous artistic director of the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco), "The woman who reads" will mainly focus on Coco Chanel and on the books and authors that inspired and influenced her. Fashionistas (and book fans) take note.
Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos