When Couture Challanges The World: Abramović @ Glastonbury

While we were hoping for a latex stage costume or even a well-placed latex accessory among the performers at the just-passed Glastonbury festival, still there were some stunning couture moments, not even from the pop world. Performance artist Marina Abramović made a clear message with what she wore during the presentation she called “Seven Minutes of Collective Silence”.

Leading a peace protest on the main concert stage, Abramović requested that the 250,000 strong facing her across the audience stand quiet for 420 seconds as she stood slightly slope-shouldered in an all-white sculptured column dress. Her hands were covered in the big white sleeves, and as Abramović held out her arms, she formed the top of the internationally recognized peace symbol sign. Midway down her torso, more fabric ran perpendicular from her hips, forming the upside-down ‘V’ of the symbol.

Abramović’s arresting peace-symbol dress was designed by Riccardo Tisci, supposedly inspired by a Japanese kimono design. Inviting the audience to put their hands on their neighbors and close their eyes during her stance, the sound of a gong rang out during Abramović’s piece.

British artist Gerald Holtom debuted what would become the iconic symbol in 1958 and interestingly enough, as here with Abramović, his human form would play a large part in his creation. Holton would write that the inspiration for the symbol came from considering his own body, posing in despair. Hands and palms outstretched, outwards and downwards, the artist imagined himself as Goya painted his famous main character in his 1814 classic painting The Third of May 1808 in Madrid.

Holtom would simply render his idea into a line drawing, with a circle around it.

This symbol has indeed been seen in many ‘fashion’-table displays, as much across Fendi bags, as the center part of a pendant, and printed across clothing

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