Words by Farah Akbar
Jonathan Becker: A Fashionable Mind is a part of the latest exhibition featured at SCAD Fash Museum of Fashion + Film. For the first time in 30 years, the critically acclaimed photographer’s work is being featured as a solo exhibition.
“A Fashionable Mind” surveys 35 years of his illustrious career. The exhibition comprises of 60 images ranging from a chic photo of late John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy to his own father caught in a candid comical moment. For Becker, it seems that people worth shooting could be anyone. He does not discriminate. Each shot is an opportunity to showcase yet another dimension of the human experience.
The sweetest moment of the exhibition for me was early on. Walking in the room, I immediately notice a natural photo of Ralph Lauren and the late Oscar de la Renta; for a brief moment, these two larger than life fashion designers were brought down to earth. For a moment, I didn’t see two idols, rather two friends getting ready to enjoy a party. “A Fashionable Mind” accomplishes this with every photo. The same amount of attention was given to each image, no matter the person and their rank in society. Each image encapsulated the simplistic beauty in a smile and the human need for happiness and love. It is this simple beauty that is the most stunning part of Becker’s work; leaving out the pretense and prestige of every person he photographs to remind the world of the phenomenal commonality of our humanity.
The feature exhibition by Daniel Lismore, “Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken”, opened the same day alongside Becker’s gallery. This exhibition has 30 ensembles styled from Lismore’s personal wardrobe, exclusively for SCAD FASH.
Inspired by the Terracotta Soldiers [collection of sculptures depicting armies of Qin She Huang, first Emperor of China], the layout is dynamic in its presentation. The 30 ensembles are all different themes and styles that mix some of fashion’s finest labels like Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen, to upcycled materials, to African masks. The whole premise is very clear, Lismore wears whatever he feels best reflects him for the day. He is in inspired by the world and everything that it offers. He has made sustainability a part of his fashion core (which earned him a gig with H&M as the face of their ‘Close the Loop’ campaign promoting recycling in the fashion industry).
Lismore describes fashion as “your armor” and like a solider, your armor is representative of our most important traits. He also describes fashion in the more practical sense of protection from the elements.
Walking through the exhibition, the eerie music playing in the room makes you feel like you’ve walked into some sort of sci-fi film. The heavy fabric and unusual materials, like a fishing net that he doubles as a twelve-inch high stand-up collar makes you wander, “what was he thinking” and at the same time be in awe of the beautiful things he chose to pair with it. You can easily become scared, yet intrigued to travel deeper into Daniel Lismore’s mysterious world.
“Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken” encourages you to be you. Walking through the exhibition, one has to respect the bold originality, the celebration of differing cultures and taste and the bizarre qualities of some of the pieces. In a sea of soldiers, every piece still makes its own statement; standing out while remaining consistent with Daniel Lismore’s message of fashion armor and the originality of you.
Daniel Lismore: Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Taken and Jonathan Becker: A Fashionable Mind are both available for viewing at SCAD FASH Museum until April 1, 2016.
Stay tuned for further insight into the exhibits, as well as an exclusive interview with Daniel Lismore, coming to our MUSE Issue, February 25th.