Forbidden City (The Fashion Runway)
Forbidden City was a fictitious clothing line that opened with a runway show at L.A.’s Fashion Week. It was comprised of 13 nature dream and China pop oil paintings made into Chinese qipaos or cheongsams, traditional dresses dating back to the Manchu Dynasty that is fast becoming obsolete and provincial in urban China. The role of the qipao in creating Western romantic perception of the East is considerable. Forbidden City is a name in mass circulation commonly appropriated to exoticise manufactured products. The original Forbidden City was a fabled Chinese palace where only women, eunuchs and the Emperor were allowed entrance.
I use the notion of Forbidden City to access a framework I can only understand from a Diasporic distance, and treat as a sort of virtual reality. I play on cliches and stereotypes, and there is a very subversive nature to the work, but I hope there is more to it – which has to do with the loss of or invariably the attempt at recapturing cultural legacies in a fantastical way. Is that less or more rich than its real counterparts?