We applaud designers who do crazy things for fashion, but at Iris van Herpen's Paris Fashion Week Fall 2014 show, several models were literally plastic wrapped. Used as decoration much like flower walls at Dior or the supermarket at Chanel, three models including Soo Joo Park and Lekeliene Stange were strung up and suspended in plastic bags. Curled up in the fetal position, the models served as a very disquieting background to an already offbeat collection. However, the real clincher to the situation? The plastic tubes in each bag literally fed the models oxygen.
The oddball collection didn't even register with us in light of the models hanging like curtains from the ceiling. The collection had some Star Trek style to it, and numerous critics latched on to the science fiction inspiration. But film magic allows movies like Blade Runner and The Matrix to simulate such ideas without risking the health of its actors, and we're fairly sure these models aren't bionic. So why did van Herpen feel that plastic wrapping her models was necessary or acceptable?
Fashion can be a downright nutty industry; this we know to be true. But bringing models dangerously close to asphyxiation is beyond the pale, and seems to be questionable in light of the CFDA Health Initiative.
Heels may hurt, and we've all made the mistake of attempting to squeeze into a dress/jeans/Herve Leger skirt that was too tight. But in the end, fashion is about freedom and artistic expression, not humiliation. And if the industry is accepting practices such as these as the new standard, perhaps it's time to reevaluate the difference between eccentricity and depravity.