On Sequins and Shit:
The Epistemology of Radical Dress in Mario Mieli's Transsexual Utopia
Third Text 35.1 (2021)
This essay explores the work of theorist, activist, and performer Mario Mieli through the lens of fashion, unearthing the central function that radical dress occupies in his gay communist project. I focus in particular on how, within Mieli's queer utopianism, radical transvestism operates as an ethico-political praxis with the purpose of challenging capitalism and liberating Eros. I conclude by explaining why, within Mieli's transsexual utopia, crossdressing should be read in alignment with non-normative sexual practices such as coprophagy.
"White Trash": Gestures and Profanations in the Visual Economy of Fashion
Journal of Aesthetics and Culture 13.1 (2021)
In this article, a fashion story depicting “white trash” subjects in the act of defying middle-class proprieties of dress and manners serves as a case study for a critical exploration of the performative registers through which working-class bodies figure as agents of social sedition in the visual economy of fashion. Engaging with Giorgio Agamben’s reflections on gesture and profanation, the article argues that the unboundedness of the bodies in the photo spread represents an affront to the capitalist regime of productivity from which these bodies are excluded, and calls for a politically committed rethinking of the aesthetic consumption of fashion images.
Tarrying with the Elephant:
Queer Villainy and Aesthetic Pleasure in Steven Klein's Photography
Queer Studies in Media and
Popular Culture 7 (2021)
This essay tracks the appearance of the fictional character of the queer villain in fashion editorial photography, with a focus on Steven Klein's work. It discusses specifically how the affective register of "affectlessness" is embodied and aesthetically performed by the queer villain. Affectlessness is contextualized within the repertoire of neutral, or passive, affects that were circulated in fashion photography in the late 1990s and early 2000s in order to counteract the normative depictions of "happy feelings" in commercial imagery. The stylized representation of such states signaled a challenge to both binary ways of embodying and performing masculinity and to the attitudes through which these modes of embodiment were enacted.
Eccentric Feelings: Little Girls' Pleasures
on the Feminist Fashion Set
Australian Feminist Studies 35.5 (2020)
In the midst of a controversial period dominated by collective media anxiety and moral panic around child pornography, and underpinned by conservative sentimentalising efforts to safeguard the Child, Dutch magazine (1994-2002) grappled with such discourses by forging a visual trajectory for rethinking childhood through a queer affective prism. This essay quarries the kinds of figurations that in independent fashion magazines have stimulated alternative ways of thinking and feeling in relation to children. It ultimately animates discussions around queer childhood and expands the current taxonomies associated with the child by excavating the rich scenarios enacted by feminist fashion photography
On Queer Neutrality: Disaffection in the Fashion Photo Story
Criticism 61. 3 (2019)
This essay addresses the fashion photograph as a site for the visualization and mobilization of affects. By intertwining Roland Barthes's notes on the neutral with Lauren Berlant's work on flat affect, in my analysis of “Paradise Lost”—a fashion editorial spread shot by Steven Klein for Dutch magazine in 2002 and inspired by a documentary with the same title from 1996—I deploy the concept of disaffection in terms of "queer neutrality" and think of its relation with queerness as a way to attend to the performative potential of affect in the configuration of styles of being together that collide with the protocols of emotional legibility.
Thinking Fashion Photographs through Queer Affect Theory
International Journal of
Fashion Studies 5. 1 (2018)
In this essay, I propose that the commonly used approaches to the study of fashion photographs could be fruitfully enriched by juxtaposing them with affect theory. I conduct a theoretical investigation of the benefits that affect theory, and in particular the strand articulated by queer theorists, may bring to the reflections on fashion photographs. I do so in a twofold way: by intertwining traditional visual analysis with an affective reading grounded in corporeal experience; and by illustrating how the queer affects circulating in fashion photographs might foreground issues of gender and sexuality and unfold possibilities of queer attachment.
Aesthetics and Politics of the Fashion Image: A Queer Perspective
Aisthesis 11.2 (2018)
This essay theorizes the fashion photographic image as a privileged site for queer sensory experience. It takes the stance that the aesthetic engagement with the fashion image occurs through sensation, and more precisely, through a haptic and "periperformative" experience that activates desires, meanings, and fantasies. Through the circulation of feelings sparked via the sensorial experiencing of the photo, queer subjects can sense belongings and form affiliations that bind them in an egalitarian community of sense exceeding sexual and social differences.
Less Than Zero: Minimal Affect in Hedi Slimane's Auteurial Style
Dobras 24. 11 (2018)
This essay is a critical reading of the photographic work of Hedi Slimane (Paris, 1968-) that teases out the relation between his (dis-)engagement with his photographic subjects and the employment of an impersonal style of affect. Tackling the intricate bond of style and masculinity against the backdrop of queer theoretical concerns, I offer an analysis of his main photographic anthologies from the last ten years. I conclude with a reflection on Slimane's self-narratives in the context of the fraught relationship between designers' biographies and fashion historiography.