Déjà Vacuum - Is fashion the biggest 'Biopirate' of all?

I've started taking more than a passing scoff at current fashion trends lately and was initially quite amused and surprised to find this image from Iris Van Herpen's latest parades. Apparently the designer worked with Belgian artist Lawrence Malstaf to create the installations for her parade around the theme 'biopiracy’ and the question of ‘are we the sole proprietors of our body?’ 

I immediately had a case of déjà vacuum, mostly because of the striking resemblance to this...the work of Japanese photographer Haruhiko Kawaguchi (also known as Photographer Hal) called 'Flesh Love' from July 2012.

I know nothing is new under the sun in the fashion world but vacuum packing people is quite a unique form of art I would have thought. While I applaud the idea of fashion posing philosophical questions, my question was this, did Van Herpen and Malstaf have prior knowledge of the work of Haruhiko Kawaguchi? Had Kawaguchi's work 'perhaps' been the victim of biopiracy in the metaphorical sense for Van Herpen's collection?

Well I was about to jump onto that bandwagon and then I found this...

Some of Malstaf's work from three years ago.


And this...from one of Malstaf's exhibitions called 'Shrink' in 2008

Although both artists have used the same technique of vacuum packing their artworks, their messages are clearly completely different and have evolved from quite lengthy and involved processes over many years, quite independently of each other. (The origins of Kawaguchi's 2012 theme can also be seen as far back as 2009 with no vacuum packing but the study of couples in small spaces is continuous).

Intent and interpretation are, after all, the entry and exit points for all art and indeed, I would argue, to some extent fashion. However, the undeniable similarities between art and fashion as the great cannibals and reincarnations of themselves, is at the heart of a new project of my own called - Vintage On Trend.

In the coming weeks I am going to be quite the reverse biopirate myself. I have set myself the tricky task of styling vintage outfits based around current 'on trend' looks from various designers. My rules are: I will have to use primarily only true vintage clothing pieces and accessories, to create a look that is in keeping with the current fashion trend AND I will also have to create a vintage makeup and hair interpretation to fit with the 'on trend' theme. To add another degree of difficulty I am also going to be making a video tutorial on both the look and the makeup design, which will be uploaded onto my You Tube channel. It's going to be a big challenge but I absolutely cannot wait.

Fashion after all is largely a constant regurgitating and reinterpretation of previous designs but to what extent? Just how big of a 'biopirate' is fashion after all? That's exactly what I intend to explore.

Finally, as a little taste of what is to come I've created a 'Vintage vs On Trend' comparison for you today. So, let me know what you think and stay here...for more Vintage On Trend!