October 31, 2019

Out of This World

It's the day of ghouls and instead of a blatantly seasonal blog post (like a compilation of spooky clothing items), I'm taking a different approach to the theme of Halloween.

BEWARE: Not for the faint of heart.

Over the summer, I noticed the growing prominence of Canadian design duo Hannah Rose Dalton and Steven Raj Bhaskaran of the Instagram handle @matieresfecales -- or in less elegant words, Fecal Matter. When first encountering their Instagram, one might oscillate between varying emotions, including viscerally disturbed, morbidly fascinated or creatively stimulated. Infamously known for their skin boots -- high-heeled boots that look like grotesque human feet -- Fecal Matter has tapped into a unique niche of alien fashion.

I was in disbelief when I first witnessed their images, madly wondering if the most bewildering bits were a result of digital manipulation. But in realizing the couple painstakingly create each look using makeup and fashion, I was dumbfounded. Their work is incredibly unsettling, yet there is an odd otherworldly beauty to it, as if the protruding edges are rounded and softened by artistry.

Fecal Matter is not alone though. I started noticing more individuals online with similar aesthetic lifestyles, Rick Owens recently transformed models into alien creatures for his Fall/Winter 2019 RTW show, and Valentino took to the unearthly by bleaching models' eyebrows that same season. Of course, my mind goes to Mugler and Alexander McQueen as arbiters of this particular type of extraterrestrial fashion, and the runway (among many other creative platforms) has always been a space for futuristic captivation to cultivate, but we're experiencing recognition of a lifestyle niche that takes nonhuman visuals to out-of-this-world heights.

So what's making us push ourselves to the outer cosmos? Humankind has always had a burning curiosity about the celestial, but the embrace of it as a form of self-expression I think is largely driven by our modern understanding of gender identity. We no longer have to be either feminine or masculine -- or even anything in between -- because we now have the liberty to present ourselves as not even human. Does that desire come from a frustration with the limitations or downfalls of humanity? A disappointment with the current state of affairs? An escapist sentiment bubbling over as we become fed up with feeling like progress is regressing?

Or, is it rooted in an appreciation of the fundamental gift of human life and our potential to achieve so much more?

On a lighter note, I read somewhere that the alien aesthetic can be traced to the return of nineties fashion. I remember TV shows like The Jetsons or X-Files, and all the lurid alien movies of the decade, and it's as if we're once again going back to speculating what extraterrestrial beings could look like -- but this time with self-aware irony. When the Storm Area 51 raid ended up being a kitschy alien parade, it was clear we can now admit with a sense of humour we truly have no idea what's out there.

For many years, I have found intrigue in the universe and consider our lives intimately linked to the flow of the above and beyond. I once saw a slogan on an H&M t-shirt that I absolutely loved: Aliens Believe in Us. Let's keep having fun believing in aliens, with the hopes they believe in us too.

PS: You can bet I'm also using this topic as an excuse to bring up Shane Dawson's new makeup collaboration with Jeffree Star, the alien queen himself. I have been a fan of Shane for 7 years, through every phase he has had on YouTube. I'm thoroughly engrossed in his latest docuseries like a proud mother hen (pig?), and am thrilled to see him finally achieve all the happiness and success he so fully deserves. I stan creativity, hard work and a beautifully genuine soul. The Jeffree Star Cosmetics x Shane Dawson Conspiracy Collection launches November 1!

Image Source: Fecal Matter, Dazed Digital, Shane Dawson