Sharing a love of art’s silent communicators.
After a life spent working in, living with and consumed by dance, my interest in fashion was inflamed like my flailing arthritic joints. Soon I was buying every issue of almost every fashion journal available on the newsstands of Soho. My magazines are cherished, worshipped, collected, archived. Whilst poring over the visual language on the high sheen pages, the still imagery began to communicate a feeling familiar to a live dance performance. Stirring my soul were the sophisticated choices of styling, layering, framing, lighting, all blended to produce an everlasting visual arc, just as the scenographic elements of say a, Jiri Kylian dance work leaves imprints in my subconscious. Still and silent fashion images in an editorial transcend the pages like any skilled, technical and magnificent dancer can through the proscenium arch of an Opera house.
Generally speaking, contemporary dance is a silent art form. Mysterious, mystical and continually misunderstood - dance, represented in it’s purest form, doesn't require words, nouns or adjectives to speak to you. In dance the body is the voice and movement becomes the language. Fashion is also a silent communicator. Dressing the body to reveal yourself, to tell your story, to express who or what you want to be - no words are necessary.
Like fashion, dance uses the body to communicate on many levels, both consciously and subconsciously. When we dress we choose certain palettes that reflect our mood, and the way we feel informs how we choose to move. Heels commandeer, suits sharpen, shorts cool, bags carry. These fashion elements combined form the semiotics of the body.
Perhaps I am drawn to the eloquent and harmonic nature of both art forms, that may occasionally scream with political agenda or state pressures of societies through forming reactionary youth tribes, but on the whole both are appreciated and observed in silence.
Careful constructed tableaus are used in both dance and fashion image making. Displayed on both stage and publications, tableaus stimulate signs that in turn are processed to create meaningful communication.
The act of gestures in still images suggest, evoke and guide viewers to an illuminated response. From hands slightly touching, to the more extremist proportions of suspended leaps, the fashion image provides a series of indelible sign posts, pointing towards a particular emotion, feeling or atmosphere. Through the pages and the stages, I hope these unspoken dialogues continue to inspire and fuel our desires to express what words alone cannot.
Michael Peter Johnson
Four years ago during the peak Facebook posting years of my early twenties, I noticed a sudden surge in posts of photographs, videos and articles related solely to dance and fashion appearing on my wall. It was via this copy and paste habit that I became aware and soon obsessed with the work of so many collaborations happening around me. Soon I realised there was a need to share, discover and discuss the work of dance and fashion collaborations and so created Mode and Motion.
Over these years I have noticed how dance can transform and express fashion in so many ways. Dancing involves physically embodying garments, clothes and fabrics. When dance and fashion, or movement and clothing meet, there is a mutuality in appreciation and study of the human form. Both art forms continually collaborate. In fashion imagery and film, dance provides new dynamic positions, studies, expressions. Movement has and continues to radicalise conventional catwalks to the theatrical, experiential and transient.
This is a thrilling, effectual and enterprising time for dance and fashion. Never before have we experienced such a rate of designers and fashion houses referencing and utilising dance - in all forms from street, flamenco to classical ballet. Through words, pictures, special features, interviews, exhibitions, events and more, Mode and Motion manifests.
Welcome to this new venture with grace, virtuosity and a mutual appreciation for everything dance and fashion.
Thanks for all your support so far. Enjoy reading!
Michael Peter Johnson
Editor/ Creative Director Mode & Motion