Image: Photographer Erik Madigan Heck, Model Ami Suzuki for Issey Miyake.
Issue 97 is out today, dedicated to the colour red. As Polly explains in the introduction, “Wherever there is power, you will find red.” From religious dress, to the battlefield, to fashion. “I recently enjoyed the film The Two Popes and was intrigued by the role red played in the depiction of the Conclave. It was everywhere; from the aerial shots of the cochineal ecclesiastical robes of the summoned cardinals, to the scrutineer who ceremonially pierced each paper with a needle - through the word ‘Eligio’ - placing all the ballots on a single red thread.” Emma Rose Barber tell us that “Colour is part of the vivid ritual and theatricality of religious life. While the plainer colours of the monastic habit seek suppress vanity and bodily desires, red is often used to draw attention, finding a place across the world as a marker of the sacred.”
Image: Artwork by Chiharu Shiota. Manggha, Centre of Japanese Art and Technology, Krakow, Poland Photo by Sunhi Mang © DACS, London, 2020 and the artist Internal Line.
In this issue Amy de la Hay treats us to a glimpse of the show Ravishing: The Rose in Fashion she has curated for the FIT in New York, on display until 9 January. Ravishing presents the first socio-cultural examination of the rose in fashion. This flower can be dated back over 3 million years, and its broad geographic sweep is entwined with stories of trade, immigration, politics, religion, gender, food, beauty, and identity. It has been worshipped and reviled, and it is inextricably linked to perceptions of love. Not surprisingly, this delicate and fragrant flower—as well its sharp thorns—has provided endless inspiration for artists, writers, and designers. The rose has greatly influenced the form and decoration of apparel, jewellery, and fashion imagery.
Image: Iconic Images Ltd
We explore the natural dyes of cochineal - a beetle that has felled kings and empires and helped shape history - madder and logwood and see how today’s designers are finding new ways to exploit their inherent qualities. And Laura Gray discovered that pink really is the navy blue of India: “Unlike red, which in India is closely tied to weddings and religious practices, pink is less fixed in its associations, and its use in clothing draws the eye even in a country where strong colours are part of daily life, radiating under a hot blue sky.”
Find out more and buy Selvedge Issue 97: Red at www.selvedge.org
Polly: I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Alan Padbury and all at Westdale Press who have printed Selvedge for the last ten years. During that time Alan has personally supervised the production of the magazine, ensuring we achieved the highest production standards. Issue 97 of Selvedge is the last magazine to be printed at Westdale before they close the shutters for the last time. The pandemic has inflicted many unjust casualties and the demise of Westdale Press is a great loss. We send Alan and the team our best wishes. Below is a film we made about Westdale Press a few years ago.
Issue 98 will be published on 15 December as we begin a new chapter.