Filed under: Editorials | Tags: british vogue, emma roach, hannah noble, jo ellison, johnny flynn, kate phelan, miuccia prada, odd future, ofwgkta, raf simons, retromania, rozelle parry, simon reynolds, the wire, tim walker
In The Wire 328 June 2011 Simon Reynolds trains the thesis of his new book Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past on the digital production, or rather, the exhumation of analogue music. The digital revolution has brought about a superabundance of older music forms, which in turn has recast artists as archaeologists rather than inventors. The creative predilection to looking to the past has always existed, but the digital revolution has accelerated access to the past to an unprecedented pace. It’s not only music either, fashion has long been the bastion of grave-robbers and cadaver snatchers. The British Vogue July 2011 editorial “Merrie England” by photographer Tim Walker and fashion editor Kate Phelan that features Ford’s Hannah Noble in fact celebrates this cultural remixing at the heart of a folk revival allegedly underway in Britain. True, folk art has always celebrated the past, but this latest pastoral reboot comes at a time when digital connectivity is at an all-time high. The upshot of all this is that even the most fragmentary events can be construed as a revival.
Features director Jo Ellison outlines a folk constellation that includes amongst others musicians Mumford & Sons, Sarah Burton‘s Alexander McQueen S/S 2011 collection, and sundry traditional performative acts (e.g., the Red Leicester Morris Man dancer, the Whittlesea Straw Bear tradition, Castleto…uh, you get the point) that in recent years have been reclaimed from the dustbin of history to illustrate her point. Exactly what “folk” is outside of an “expression of a collective desire…[that]’s about fun, passion, and legacy” is not articulated. This catch-all summation could be said of almost any artist from Johnny Flynn to Odd Future without ever elucidating exactly what folk is. Furthermore, how far it even takes fashion in general and British fashion in particular is dubious. Revival or not, in this story it means Hannah Noble wears a sacking dress by Dr Noki rather than a color block dress by Miuccia Prada or Raf Simons.
Credits include: Publication, British Vogue July 2011; Title, “Merrie England”; Text, Jo Ellison; Photography, Tim Walker; Fashion editing, Kate Phelan; Hair and makeup, Rozelle Parry; Prop styling, Emma Roach; Location, Big Sky Studios; Printing, Touch Digital; Image source, Elite London.
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