Is it possible to find beauty where no one is looking for it? The rules that guide fashion exert a powerful force on social inclusion, but can we be inspired by those who are marginalised? Chiara Iacobelli is convinced we can and with her Capsule collection named “An Awkward Beauty” she has reinterpreted the traditional aesthetic criteria by taking her cue from outcasts and people on the limits of society. “The project was started as a diploma thesis for my Masters at Polimoda in Florence. I began with research into the Japanese No¯ theatre where the actors wear different kimonos, one on top of the other, to make their bodies appear larger, and where they put masks on their faces to call the deceased back to earth”, Chiara states. She then went on to study the etymology of the word maschera, which is derived from the pre-Indo-European word masca, that means black ghost.“I asked myself who would be modern day ghosts, the invisible people that no one considers. I thought about the mentally ill and the tramps. Even they wear layers of clothes in response to their compulsive instincts or to keep warm”. Chiara was also struck by the shots taken by the American photographer Diane Arbus which show patients at a mental health institute dressed up in cardboard masks and layers of outfits for Halloween.“I created five outfits and I reproduced with various textures the layering typical to the No¯ theatre and to the clothes of the people on the margins. I used fabrics of differing weights like silk, velvet andhemp, and I designed clothes that looked like cocoons”. In addition to carefully choosing fabrics, Chiara has embellished hercollection with techniques such as devoré and pleat printing. “These are unique pieces to reinforce the identity of the people who wear them. They communicate that beauty can go beyond the accepted standards and follow another route. Even one that is awkward and forgotten”.
The story has been written by Serena Berardi, writer.