Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ottawa Fashion Week A/W '12- Y!N.D.A.

Though shows are long done, I'm still captivated by Y!N.D.A. by Andy Nguyen.  At this point, I'm captivated with some of the responses that the show garnered.  An article in the Ottawa Citizen pointed out criticism where some felt as though the use of blackface expressed racist stigmas.  However, Nguyen insisted that this was a simple act of art that played on contrast and lighting.

Being at the shows, I did notice the blackface.  But as an accessory to art.  Some of the models that weren't in blackface were in powdered white makeup, but I saw no critiques that said this implied racial stigmas that Caucasians are ghostly white.  The makeup choices complemented the clothing and accessories perfectly.  With spiked masks, boxy totes, and lines down faces, these unorthodox conventions served in working with the clothing to create an impression of power, structure, and restraint.  The clothing featured an impressive balance of structure and flowing materials with a slightly frayed texture.  Added to that effect was the use of leather and sheers in dreary dark colours.  Admittedly, some of the designs evoked a bit of shock and discomfort in me (and others around me), especially one model who wore a gag with spokes.

So that brings us to the question: when does "art" become offensive?  Does it depend on its intended meaning or how people perceive it? 


  1. I think people find art offensive by how THEY judge it. Well, duh. Hahaha but wow. That is really something. Interesting piece!


  2. WOW! Amazing show! They are looks so intresting!


  3. What next? Pink swasticas?

    Blackface is neither cool, nor edgy or cute. Some symbols belong in our history books, not the runways of our nation's capital.

  4. There was no "blackface", there were models with faces painted black, models with faces painted white (and other marks were present on the face too), to symbolize a post-apocalyptic shadowy world and existence, and race had nothing to do with it. Sounds like 'someone' who made the comments is looking for their 15 minutes of fame... you know, keep their name in the minds of the voters... it was a very transparent dissection of a runway show that was clearly misunderstood and interpreted for the sake of shock value.

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  6. Whoa, okay I don't usually get involved in this kind of discussion, but after seeing your question on fb I decided to check out your post/pictures on this show. (I quite liked the blog, btw!) I think part of what I found disturbing about the makeup is that, to me at least, the models had a distinctly 'exotic/wild/dangerous beast' kind of vibe. I think you can see where I'm going with this. While one could maybe argue that black makeup on its own isn't offensive, when it's combined with that kind of 'animalistic' vibe, which for a long time was heavily and very racistly associated with black people, I can definitely see the makeup choice as offensive, or at least insensitive. I did read the designer's explanation, but I do think that the other side of this argument is valid.
    Thanks for posting about this!

  7. oh wow what a luck to sit there ! hope it was fun for you! happy weekend :)

  8. wooow,that's very interesting but i think a little too much for me :)



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