Audrey McKee + Matt Fajkus
A case study of a fashion backdrop installation derived from the body and made to showcase clothes that display the body.
We interpret and experience the world through our bodies, and as such, the world has grown around us to accommodate our bodies. Designers and engineers often think of ways in which the built environment can aid the human body, as with the study of ergonomics and its effect on product and vehicle design. Architecture similarly frames the way in which our bodies interact with, and thereby interpret, our surroundings. It carries enormous potential to respond specifically to our anatomy, as with the case of a doorknob, intentionally crafted to assist the hand rotating a latch. What is more often the case, however, is that manufacturing efficiency, rather than a consideration for the human form, guides the design of the fundamental building blocks for architecture. While architects may attempt a calibrated spatial sensitivity toward the needs and movement of the human body, the components of architecture are blind to this sensitivity and thus often exhibit anonymous geometries that have no inherent relationship to the human anatomy.
As an argument against the anonymity of architectural building components, the fashion industry offers a fitting dichotomy, and maintains a singular focus on the human frame. Since fashion is derived from an intimate relationship to the body, the components used to create and display fashion thus have vestiges of corporeal response. Even the height of a clothing rack, although seemingly inconsequential, is specific to a customer’s body and is intentionally placed to vend couture. It is an industry fueled by the question of how best to showcase the human form, and as such, the tools of fashion offer a suitable palette for a fashion runway backdrop installation.