This collection is a study of hysteria, a condition derived from the Greek hystera (meaning uterus).
Historically, hysteria diagnoses were used to dismiss women fraught with emotion and send them to a psychiatrist or asylum despite having no actual disorders. If the women did legitimately suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, etc., the actual issue went untreated. Even worse, the women were subject to abuse and neglect at the hands of their doctor: a complete lack of empathy and understanding. Thankfully, times have changed - mental institutions no longer operate with unchecked violence towards their female patients, and medical professionals now dismiss hysteria due to its inherent misogyny.
The garments presented here are an ode to the gravely misunderstood (and mistreated) woman; the supposed witch burned at the stake, the ghost of a scorned widow who still haunts her manor, the perfectly sane woman shackled in a psychiatric ward. These characters had their voices taken from them, or never had a one to begin with. They were forced away from the rest of society to be seen as separate, lesser, or completely invisible because of their gender or mental illness or both. For this reason I have selected materials reminiscent of myth, occult, legend, religion, etc. to represent the intangible. Veils of shredded gauze and sheer mesh suggest a spirit realm while headdresses of animal bone, horn, and antler invoke an otherworldly and frightening ritual. The fabrics themselves are draped in such a way to explain what verbal communication has failed to, the sense of being bound. Spiked collars cause a sense of choking and gasping while tight masks silence the mouth and blind the eyes. The clothing expresses what the women cannot: a feeling beyond words, a state of horrible darkness, and ultimately isolation from the rest of the world.
Despite numerous advances, mental illness is still not taken seriously and women are still not taken seriously. With the narrative presented in HYSTERIA SS18 I hope to draw attention to the historical mistreatment of women and mental patients and prevent the past from repeating itself.