Article and photos excerpted from

I wonder what will people make of this short film ‘The Phenomenology of the Body’, directed by Daphne Guinness which premiered on NYTimes T Magazine today and will also be presented during Paris Couture Fashion Week at the Hotel Crillon. 

It features 13 historical female figures/roles, including Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette (played by Guinness herself), the flapper, the commissar, the housewife all spinning on a turn table in the dark to an LCD Soundsystem soundtrack and finally ends with a veiled woman stripping of her red burka.  "It’s about the body and the soul, concealing and revealing, empowerment; clothing has always been so political," said Guinness.

It’s a somewhat evasive piece but as Guinness says herself,

"Really, the piece is a revolving passage, a voyage of the female form canceling or revealing. Is it a birth, a death, an arrival, a departure? I don’t really know."

The message isn’t entirely clear, but it’s interesting that a peak and trough cycle develops in the film as womens’ attire becomes more and more shackled with weight and heaviness and then that slowly ebbs away until we are hit with a striking image of a completely veiled woman.  It’s a commentary on East-West divisions as well as development with time. 

In relation to Guinness herself who was told by a journalist "You are no longer a person; you are a concept!", whilst she presents these historical feminine identities that are heavily defined by the way they dress, does she see herself in the same way, defined by the way she dresses or does she embody the spirit of freedom seen in the last few second of the film, the freedom to dress as she pleases, wear two different coloured shoes, silver armour on her hands and don haute couture like no other?  Hard to say…