'DEATH BECOMES HER" COLLECTION
Inspired by memories of a male friend that became a woman, Katarina explores the complexity of this transformation and his/her story. Personal story-telling and extensive research is the centre of Katarina’s creative process: work that is reflected in the complexity of the design.
Perhaps the most theatrical collection yet, taking us on a journey from one physical form and psychological state to another. Katarina questions what it means to be female and the desire to be ‘feminine’, creating garments that are as amorphous and unfixed as a continually shifting identity. In Joan Riviere’s famous essay, ‘Womanliness As Masquerade’ written in 1929, she proposes that gender is something that we, ‘wear’ like we do a mask, and can move and change.
The collection opens with draped impressive black wool coats by taking her extensive knowledge of men’s tailoring and playing with cuts meant for the male body. This marks the beginning of a process where the garments slowly metamorphose from a male to a female silhouette: dresses created from loosely draped silk fabrics allow the wearer to reveal their own shape when they move, trousers morph into skirts drawing a fluid line between menswear and womenswear, and layers of fine mesh and leather suggest the act of the physical transformation undergone to change a sexual identity. The references to flesh are evident in the colours used throughout the collection, although the palette is not obvious. The colours are mysterious and difficult to describe, oscillating between sensual and vulgar. The theatre ends with a dress made from bright red silk, the most confident, extravagant, and ‘loud’ garment of the collection: a symbol of an ideal feminine form amplified- taken to the extreme.
‘Death Becomes Her’ is a collection of garments that goes beyond a simple exploration of the androgynous, it is an incisive response to a painful, complex story and homage to a friend.
Photographer: Jeff Hahn