A Seductive Mirage

The notion of ‘Drama vs. Reality’ or the “stuff on which dreams are made on” as Prospero says in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, have long been contemplated in storytelling.  Our fantasy life is ‘the stuff’ by which elaborate novels are created, aforethought of playful sexual desire, or often a psychological foil to a reality that may be too painful to reconcile as ‘truth’ in our lives.  In the story of The Phantom of the Opera, a novel by the French writer, Gaston Leroux, Christine, an opera singer, comes under the spell of a supposed maimed phantom living in an underground liar of the theater.  Erik (the phantom) claims he is the angel of music that her deceased father, spoke of when she was a young girl learning to sing.  She is both scared of him and enthralled, teetering the emotional line between the innocence of an ingenue and the passionate appetite of a woman being coaxed into maturity.  She is also reintroduced to Raoul, a childhood friend that falls for her but is the ‘good guy’ while Erik is the ‘bad boy’.  She seemingly needs reconciliation to both.

What adds to the stories layering of complexity and meaning is the deliberateness of Faust as the opera being played on stage.  As many know, is one of the most notable tales in literature used as inspirational literary building blocks for many other stories.  Thus, both deal with themes of moral surrender, power, success, passion, seduction, and what would later become known as the ‘master-slave’ dialectic.  This interchanging tension between Christine and her two suitors (Erik and Raoul) is her own internal struggle made manifest. 

Stone Zhu (photographer), Yukie Sotoma (fashion stylist), Michael Kenyon (hair), and Trey Ching’s (makeup) recreation of the Phantom/Faustian story told through fashion narrative, is one of blending the sublime tactual characters amidst a colloquial backdrop.  The illustrious story set in an East Village, New York City apartment.  In wear, particularly, the symbolic white-half mask and the Edwardian style lace dress both stunning but restrictive, which is suggestive of the archetype of the ‘eternal feminine’ and then later, conversely her discarding of clothing and chastity as the maturing seductress.  Like in the inspirational story, there is an interplay between Christine and Erik on many levels.  Here in our fashion story, at times, she cradles him and vice versa.  Love is about tension and release, resistance moving toward vulnerability.  Ultimately the story is centered around a female protagonist in all of her majesty.  And so this write up is dedicated to you, stunning-graceful-magnetic women of the world and the multi-dimensional fashion that drapes you.

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