Jill Barker, Victoria Boulter, Jazmina Cininas, Brodie Ellis, Annete Hale, Jewel Mackenzie, Kate James
3 - 19 March 2005
Part of the 2005 L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival
And why should I dress his wounds
When he has wounded my dress, nightly
Right across the floor? (1)
Fashion is a brutal business. The theatrics of couture have long embraced the performatives of violence, witnessed in such events as Alexander McQueen’s Highland Rape collection of 1996, infamous for its Grand-Guignolesque attention-grabbing antics of fake blood and outrageous storylines. Rae Kawakubo smashed the expectations of the perfectly stitched haute couture garment through fabricated holes, raw edges and redefinitions of the natural silhouette. But beyond shock-value and the tedium of consumption, within the garment there lies a fundamental desire to nurture relationships, and a consequent system of symbiosis, that occurs between the inside of the clothing and the outside of the flesh.
The gift of the garb establishes the relationship between the skin and its covering: tight to reveal, loose to conceal. But all is a supposition, as only externalities are subject to scrutiny and sensory contact remains a private experience. Infrastructure is implemented to beguile by modifying the shape of body where it is malleable, creating myths about what exists beneath.
The conduit between the concept of the design and its realisation through fabric is the paper pattern: the intermediary of ideas. The paper, moving back and forth between the dress form and the flat surface of the drafting table becomes enmeshed in a dialogue between the 2-D and 3-D. It also evokes a sense of the body taken apart in surgery, with its working method of direct markings on the flesh.
LET ME SEE YOU STRIPPED
Jewel Mackenzie truncates men’s suits and weaves dreams in the air-space of the naked emperor, the unseated king. This practice conjures up Magritte’s bowler hat that floats in the memory. The anarchitects Diller and Scofidio employed the ironed creases of the man’s white shirt as a system of penitentiary encryptions, in their Bad Press/Dissident Ironing project of 1993. It placed the white collar under scrutiny and cross-examination, of class and gender, of interiority and internal languages. Too, Mary Shelley’s attempts at bespoke tailored a patchwork somnambulist. McKenzie wields the scissors and wounds the suit in a practice of non-delicate self-cutting, and thus, through inflicted violence, the suit becomes the shroud. Only, the mourning-tear of cloth above the heart has been repositioned for a swashbuckled seasonal interpretation.
Annette Hale presents a diametrically visceral work, an interplay between the most ancient of costumes, sheets of skin skimmed from conquered bodies, linked as a networking of corpuscular filaments, the veins, arteries and minute capillaries, that internally fabricate the body. Traces of these threads may appear as raised blue lines on the skin; tensions occur through the desire to turn the body inside out and release the blood’s pressure. The flesh, with its skein of invisible nerve endings has provided torturers and masochists with endless permutations of manufacturing distress. Historian Daniela Bohde cites a gruesome anecdote linking art and grave-robbing with transfiguration, “Tuscan sculptor Cosini...skinned a body and wore the flayed hide over his shirt.” (2)
DRESSED TO INFLAME
After the flattening of the body, through sectioning, smashing flat, and fragmentation, there is the need to reanimate the body through a new coating that clings to, and speaks for its host.
Gabriel was wearing his sky-blue uniform. His loosely buckled army belt was sagging at his belly. The coarse wool and delicate blue got Divine hot. She will say later on: His get-up got me hot. A fine and equally blue cloth would have excited her less than a heavy black one, for the latter is the cloth of the county clergy and of Ernestine [Divine’s mother], and heavy grey cloth is that of the children of the state orphanages. (3)
Clothing essentially forms itself as armour of varying softness, as vestments for social battle, and Kate James has taken up lances disguised as knitting needles. There is a skirmish that these two – rider and horse - will be traversing, and the mode of communication will need to be adapted in order for synthesis to occur, and the centaur to emerge. Conversation is transmitted through the knitted reins as the silver aura-l thread, and includes homage to the site of the famous Crimean War battle. The balaclavas remove external identifiers; all becomes introspective. The chamfron and crinet are of a malleable chainmail. Is this headwear enough to protect the skull, the site of memory storage, and the pineal gland? Madame Defarge smiles and nods approval at the battle-plan pattern and heads will roll.
Brodie Ellis marches her uniform into personal combat, overlaying family histories with contemporary politics, creating a garment that is at war with itself. Images of marching girls are reduced to ectoplasmic shells, and create a ghostly temporal duality of past and present, of what was, and what is. Multiple embroideries indicate borrowed ownership, and reworked stories. Not merely content to be vicious representations of insignia, these markings resound with an ongoing crisis, of the risk of falling through the fragile membrane, from one polar state to the other, from lightness to dark. Recognition of allegiances becomes fraught, denoted by an absence of colour and core. Trickery begins handholding with subjugation. Like the New York Dolls dressed by McLaren and Westwood in 1940s Communist emblems, or the white-clad Alex deLarge and his droogs, the uniform as a symbol of duty to conventional authority becomes subjected to inverted meanings.
Stitching is a visual language; its traditions as forms of communication may be considered universal, but the diversity of meanings that has evolved from many cultures means that this language is subjected to many different vernaculars. Some pieces are only able to allude to the full extent of their encryptions, and mysterious codes are authored and known only to the maker. Hand sewing and embroidery have a range of styles and types that are both functional and decorative, as well as purely ornamental.
Threads and fabrics have been used by various cultures as language and symbolic codes that transcend the merely decorative. Divine threads are formed by the rigours of stitching that create new lexicons, through iconographies of flowers, bees, family crests, and monograms, and punctuated by sacred knots. The Incas used a system of knotting as a way to write their histories, by recording population and herd sizes as demographic and temporal chartings. During the protracted era of Black American enslavement, the patterns wrought into patchwork quilting evolved into an historical recording through the development of a stitched and textile-based dialect.
Visual methodologies such as these demonstrate an intellectual complexity that has found a way to overcome the absence or inadequacies of expression of a written alphabet: through the medium of sewing. In the post-industrial age, the linearity of construction seams in all garments have subsumed their own version of Morse code, echoing traces of tunes created by machines driven by thousands of feet and navigated by thousands of guiding eyes and nimble fingers. In comparison, the melody of hand-sewing is more subtle, muted, and requires a careful ear.
Jill Barker’s organza dress sings of lightness and ethereality. The facility of floating is arrested through the cast of anchor, the heavy-handed application of surface embroidery. The mossy stitching ensnares the intellectualisation of the ephemerality of childhood through the intensity of lavish repetitive strokes and pricks of the needle. Eyes peer into the microscope, in an attempt to decipher nature that will, in turn, swallow its lover: Benjamin presides over the shotgun union of fashion as the bartered bride with her inorganic paramour.
I recall Central Park in Fall,
How you tore your dress, what a mess
I confess, that’s not all… (4)
Barker’s tiny stitch-work evokes the samplers and trousseau embroideries that young girls worked on as accoutrements for their destiny as wives and mothers, firmly sited in domesticity. The exaggerated overworking of the delicate organza alludes to an internal rebellion, perhaps mentally involuntary, rendering unsuitability for this traditional path. Like the substitution of Desdemona’s handkerchief where mistranslation spelled out a death-sentence, the stitched language has been garbled, and calls for an experienced code-breaker.
CHASE THE COSTUMES SHE SHALL WEAR
The flesh of the outfit exists as the mediating boundary, simultaneously moderating the beginning and the end of the interior and exterior. To look for the internal meaning of the body inscribed in the skin is more difficult; hints may be gleaned from facial expressions and their traces, or emotionally manifest conditions like eczema or hives. Autobiography attempts to strip the author naked, but only ever reveals a simulation of the inner; there are no translations for this lexis.
Skin as a surface onto which text can be inscribed was evident in late nineteenth century psychiatry, in Charcot’s practice of dermographism, sometimes called autography or lithography. This process involved lightly scratching the skin of the female hysteric. The skin surface would react by reddening, swelling, and sometimes blistering, indicating a physical hyper-sensitivity of the patient. Other forms of inscribed decorations that transcend the banality of fashion include sacred engraved designs into the flesh, occurrences of the stigmata, and the name of the lord inscribed as the engine in the automaton’s forehead.
Marking monsters of the interior, Jazmina Cininas inscribes playful motifs of the werewolf: hysteria for fashion is embraced with an underlying envy of the real thing. Her tales speak of possession, of the emergence of the baser, animal soul, of metamorphosis, of transmogrification. There is also the furry, girlie thing going on. The nineteenth century located hysteria in utero, linked it with the waxing of the moon, which in turn was synchronised with the appearance of the werewolf. It is known that Lycanthropists often have symptoms of pica: unnatural cravings to ingest substances like chalk or fabric. The traveller brings home souvenirs of nocturnal journeys: Cininas sews anastaltic fables, gauzy truths fused to shattered forensic filaments.
The mask, ears and tail become the signifiers of the werewolf’s skin, for the majority of the body remains easily identified. A recent performance of extreme punk band The Dwarves was filled with harsh vocals and vicious chicanery. HeWhoCannotBeNamed, wore nothing but his guitar, and a mask like something from an Aztec sacrificial ceremony or television wrestling; most striking to me however, was his smooth, pale skin, with neither a blemish or a birthmark, so supple and vulnerable.
Victoria Boulter also draws upon dark fictions with her anachronistically-styled outfits that hint at tales within their coarse textiles, of sexual delinquency, of unrequited love, and unrequired love. Excess sleevery furled and unfurled, by the self, or by intervention? One pair of arms has stretched out – over-reached - in hope to…nothing. The complementary arms retreat, reserved and self-absorbed.
Maybe someday, I’ll hold somebody’s hand,
Maybe somewhere, someone will understand…5
The cloth is delicately assembled, and the trinket scale is reminiscent of faddish Victorian mourning tokens that came from earlier traditions. Necklaces and watch chains were woven from the hair of the departed beloved, but often were sourced from the sold tresses of prostitutes and lower-class women. The soundtrack of hollow yearning and incessant mourning is set to repeat ad infinitum.
DRESS YOU UP IN MY LOVE
Historical as well as autobiographical implications are mapped out onto a textual reading of these stitches that relies on the viewer’s identifications of these tropes. Memory, too, can present itself as a series of histories, both accurate and fabricated, half-truths that become merged into personal stories, appropriated source material and borrowed anecdotes that have become so reworked they become remoulded and branded as one’s own repertoire.
The pieces in this exhibition are stitched with a corpuscular thread, manifest as another literary medium, and the words of worn histories that they generate dance endlessly through charmed social fictions and factuals with their matching [always red] shoes. Fashion merely moderates versions of these allegories through an historical positioning. Myths of pierced-ribbed tight-lacers are giving way to new versions that remain sinister, cruel, camp or disengaged, and speak with burned, slashed and tangled textiles, of compulsions, revulsion and expulsion, and endless longing. Sometimes, such as in the case of the club-footed Empress Taki who is fabled to have started the whole foot-binding craze, violent fashions can emerge as a both a cure and a punishment.
(Anna Hirsh is a Melbourne-based writer)
1 A Box for Black Paul – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, (Mute Records, 1984).
2 Daniela Bohde, Skin and the Search for the Interior: the Representation of Flaying in the Art and Anatomy of the Cinquecento, in F Egmond and R Zwijnenberg, Bodily Extremities: Preoccupations with the Human Body in Early Modern European Culture Ashgate, London, 2003. p. 28
3 Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers, Paladin, London , 1988. p.120.
4 Wayne Newton, Danke Schoen (Capitol Records, 1963)
5 The Shangri-Las, Past Present and Future, Capitol Records, (1966)
1. FLEXING THE SARTORIAL MUSCLE
Slice open the front of a human thigh with a diagonal cut from outer hip to inner knee and you will find a long ribbon of muscle running the length of the incision. It’s called the sartorius and you flex it every time you sit cross-legged. It takes its name from the literary word for tailor, sartor, a mildly deprecatory Latin term meaning a person who patches things up: somebody who creates nothing new but repairs existing damage, content to mend or make amends. The sartorius was designated as the tailor’s muscle because traditionally, the tailor made much use of it: since ancient times tailors were observed to sit cross-legged on the ground in order to sew.
I present this little detail, a mere footnote in the history of anatomical nomenclature, by way of suggesting that clothing is not superficial nor only concerned with outward appearances as is often assumed. It corresponds with a pair of sympathetic organs buried in human flesh. Concealed underneath the surface of the body, the sartorius muscles emerge from below the skin only with the violent incursions of surgery, injury or dissection.
Practitioners wield the needle in both the medical and clothing trades. And surgery shares with dressmaking a reliance on cutting, removing matter, and joining sections together with stitching. The very word surgery comes from the two Greek words kheir and ergon (via the French: chirurgie) that together mean ‘hand-work’. The naming of the sartorial muscle shows that we must look to the Romance languages to uncover dressmaking’s secret viscera. One of the meanings of the Latinate verb to doctor is to patch something in a makeshift manner and when an injury has healed, we say the patient has mended. Tissue, a differentiated part of the body in which the cells are alike, is the Anglicised version of tissu, the French word for cloth.
Like that of a tailor, my job is to fit and flatter. To fit, because a catalogue essay should match the exhibition’s themes. To flatter, because it should also present the art works in their best possible light. But as this narrative progresses, you will suspect me of cutting my cloth from sources more and more gruesome, those where the most yielding material is to be found. I will not tell you where I am harvesting it from; all I will divulge is that – as for dresses that cling tightly to the skin and outline the body most revealingly – all my material is cut on the bias.
During the earliest period of their history, dissection and surgery were often performed by two classes of practitioner whose contemporary equivalents are neither doctors nor experimental scientists but people from the so-called “image industries”: artists and hairdressers. Artists performed amateur dissections, often at night and in secret, applying the knowledge thus gained to the portrayal of human or animal figures. And by hairdressers I refer to the barber-surgeons, dominant practitioners of surgery and dissection in Europe at different times from the fourth century to the eighteenth (6). Adept at smoothing the body’s surface as well as hacking through its interior, they might have neatly trimmed somebody’s beard one minute and amputated one of their limbs, without anesthetic, the next (7). In France, it was easy to distinguish academic-surgeons from barber-surgeons because the hairdressers were the ones wearing the short skirts: academic-surgeons were known as ‘surgeons of the long robe’ while barber-surgeons were known as ‘surgeons of the short robe’ (8) and each dressed accordingly.
Inside a glass cabinet in a small exhibit within the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh lies a tiny item of hurt couture: a little hand-stitched leatherbound notebook. The skin that encases the pages was not tanned from an animal but from the flayed hide of a man, William Burke, a serial killer who harvested his victims not far from the region of Edinburgh where his own hidebound notebook now rests. Burke moonlighted as a steady supplier of recently deceased bodies for demonstration dissections in university medical laboratories. Unlike the other so-called ‘bodysnatchers’ or ‘resurrectionists’ who dug up the cemeteries after dark to supply the anatomists’ insatiable demands, Burke found the way to guarantee a dead body that was really fresh and completely intact was to make it himself. He killed all his victims by suffocation, the best way to murder someone when you know the anatomists will pay more for an unblemished corpse.
After Burke was convicted and hanged, his own corpse was subjected to two unusual punishments of Old Testament-style retribution. The first (official) punishment was to be publicly dissected. On the day of the dissection and subsequent public exhibition of the anatomised corpse, the public rioted. Among the throng, it was noted, “there were seven or eight who fainted or had their clothes torn” (9) . The second (unofficial) punishment in store for Burke’s body was for a piece of his flayed skin to surreptitiously be made into a notebook.
What inscriptions can the person who fabricated this object have intended it to bear? What records should you keep in a note pad whose leaves are sandwiched between two layers of human skin: names and addresses, household expenses, shopping lists, laundry lists? Did its tailor feel any sympathetic twinges of their sartorial muscles when they formed each neat needle prick that pierced the dead man’s hide?
The sartorius has a hidden side that is both violent and criminal, relating as it does to bodysnatching: the technical term that describes the movement of the muscle to rotate the thigh out from and to the side of the body is ‘abduction’. There were several professions, besides that of anatomist, that supported the practice of stealing dead bodies from graves at night: tailors, candlemakers and butchers were noted to steal human corpses on which to practice embalming, a lucrative trade to adapt their skills to, but a hard market for a novice to crack.
Oddly enough, in the three centuries when bodysnatching was at its most rampant in Scotland and England, it was not an offence to remove a dead body from the grave for whatever purpose, but it was a criminal act to steal clothes from a corpse. Some bodysnatchers took the trouble to leave the grave clothes behind them having first undressed the body by cutting off its garments. For several hundred years, then, burial plots all over the United Kingdom bore coffins devoid of all contents but the damaged clothes of the dead.
2. HURT COUTURE
Skin is the first layer that clothes the human body; the second layer is cloth. We are born naked but mostly we are fully clothed when we die and are buried. In our passage through life, then, we accrue at least one extra protective and expressive layer than that with which we began.
Because we are born naked, because clothing skims the surface of the body, and because we regularly replace or discard it, we usually think garments are entirely separate from the persons wearing them. But why should clothing not reflect the realities that lie beneath it? The topography of a surface often reveals patterns of disturbance generated below. The earth’s crust is variously folded or torn apart in places by the tremors of an earthquake, and dark patches of seawater can betray the existence of dangerous rips. For centuries, artists performed secret dissections on human corpses, because they knew then – as we now sometimes forget to consider in our interpretation of clothes – that the formation of sub-structures can explain surface morphology.
The look and feel of our clothing expresses and reflects interior states. Distortions, constrictions, discontinuities, slashes or tears can mirror other kinds of ruptures or repressions borne by a human subject. To really see and understand the surface, you must be prepared to excavate beneath it. If clothing’s meanings penetrate under the skin, or originate there, then it is the purpose of the art works in this exhibition to peel back some of the layers and to expose some of the raw nerves. When the boundaries of the body are symbolically breached, these artists variously expose or generate anxiety, cruelty, degradation and suffering. None of the artists in Hurt Couture is concerned to fit and flatter; they perform careful examinations and dissections to locate each malady at its source. But each row of tiny stitches signposts the site of the affliction and, simultaneously, hastens its mending.
Jill Barker’s artwork is a small dress, the size worn by a girl of about three. Tiny black stitches picked out on pink fabric are reminiscent of sutures closing over flesh wounds. Less of an embellishment, more of a stain, the embroidery spreads with a logic of its own, a cloud of something viral and oppressive that threatens to constrict the wearer’s chest or even suffocate her. In one place there is a deep cavity-forming spiral of stitches sucking the fabric inward as if to press against, or penetrate, the child’s heart or lung. The material of the dress is flimsy, transparent, and insubstantial, but the stitching seems concrete and even virulent, like a parasite that has siphoned-off the strength of its host organism. It is hard to tell who is more disturbed: the maker of this dress or its intended wearer. The carefully controlled formation of these tiny stitches, and their seemingly endless repetition, suggests the presence of some obsessive-compulsive disorder on the part of the seamstress. But in donning this dress, its wearer submits to a nameless affliction with undertones of horror or doom.
Annete Hale’s artwork is a tubular grid cobbled together mostly from strips of leather torn off a pair of motorcycle pants, with other seemingly random elements tied or grafted on. Strips of clothing can double as an emergency first aid supply, filling in for bandages when there is uncontrolled bleeding. Seen in this light, these strips must represent the aftermath of such an application for theirs is the colour of dried blood. The artist has thoroughly dissected these pants, taken them apart piece by piece and examined each section for its usefulness and its potential applications. The artwork’s title, Vein, encourages us to view it as a network of the body’s tubes and ligatures, with which blood vessels are tied off to prevent haemorrhaging. But if these are human body parts, they have been badly doctored indeed. None of this surgery appears to have taken place in a sterile environment. My guess is that it was carried out in secret in somebody’s garage, basement or toolshed. Its peculiar combination of resourceful but roughly patched repairs is reminiscent of the proverbial pantyhose that can stand in for a busted fan belt at a pinch. Let’s call it a Mad Max aesthetic: a strange blend of blood and gore, leather and hotted-up engine parts.
The sudden appearance of hair on the surface of the body can indicate the mundane commencement of puberty or the startling transformation of a human into a werewolf. The onset of both may be accompanied by panic and strongly resisted. The changeover involves a shocking breach of the body’s surface by hair that erupts from under the skin. But turning into a werewolf is a liberation as well as a curse; it may be a license to transgress conventional standards of morality, sexuality and sanity. Jazmina Cininas’ werewolf costume does not represent a spontaneous bodily transformation but something adopted altogether more deliberately. In comic books and television shows, an ordinary human takes on the role of a super-hero simply by donning a costume. It is as if the clothes alone are sufficient to effect the transformation. Is it a dingo? Is it a fox? No, it’s Wonder Wolf! Is this kinky masked avenger ∫– wearing accessories lined in ruby satin – intended to save the world or provide more intimate diversions? And do her powers appear when she puts the costume on, or when she takes it off? Her superpowers may all just be part of a delusion. Belief that one is a werewolf is an indication of a severe psychiatric disorder; in the psychoanalytic literature, it is presented as a symptom of mania.
The collective noun for seamstresses is a ‘scolding’ while that for tailors is a ‘disguising’: women chastise and men dissimulate. Victoria Boulter presents two tiny outfits side by side on the wall. They operate as Victorian character costumes for a man and woman, delineating gender roles through the psychology of emotions. Each outfit is designed to accommodate a physical deformity. The man is an amputee. His sleeves and trouser legs have been rolled up and pinned, suggesting missing limbs. The woman’s dress has extended sleeves, as if her arms continued lengthening when the rest of her body had stopped growing. She intrudes and he withdraws; her body exceeds its limits and his falls short. Although each bears physical deformities we suspect their maladies are psychosomatic in origin. The clothes are tiny and one label, near the door of the gallery, tells us the material is wool, so each must be laundered on a gentle cycle. Still, I don’t think these outfits have shrunk in the wash. The other label, the one below each costume (let us call it the ‘care’ label), tells us altogether more intimate details: her desires are unfulfilled and his are repressed. It seems their stunted emotions have shrunken them both.
Kate James presents a double balaclava worn simultaneously by a human and a horse. It effects a symbolic breach of the outer limits of the human body not by opening up its surface but by grafting another body onto it, yoking woman and animal together in one harness to create this maladapted and cumbersome double creature that is partially blind. The garment suggests restraint and suffocation. Wearing it simultaneously, both creatures are immobilised. With the enforced myopia of the built-in blinkers, they can gaze mournfully at one another or, like some curiosity in a circus or zoo, pose rigidly for the scrutiny of a third party but other movements are hampered. In a masochistic gesture, the woman has willingly donned the outfit. There may be a hint of sadism too, as a hood is not only worn by victim, but also by an aggressor: it is the headgear of choice for criminals and assassins. By retreating into a symbiotic relationship with the animal, the woman appears to have sought comfort from the brutal reality of the outside world. Her pain may be self-inflicted but it is shared in a sympathetic gesture with the horse, a species that has submitted to the harness from time immemorial. The hood is warm and snug and it may block out what’s unpleasant, but how much comfort can it really provide? If the horse should startle we know that the woman, with the weaker body of the two, may be strangled or crushed.
The pinstriped suit is the ultimate anonymous garment, imparting
a conservative uniformity to all that wear it. And because it operates
like a cloak of invisibility over the body, it can be a shield for
dehumanising measures employed by the corporations its wearers labour
under. Workers have long been categorised by their clothes: the
simple delineation between blue-collar or white-collar designating
differences in profession, education, income, postcode and life
expectations. A man may change his destiny then, simply by changing
his shirt. Jewel Mackenzie exploits the idea that the worker’s
identity is as fluid as his clothes. She has altered part of a business
suit to reflect the crushed expectations of an anonymous male worker
in a climate of economic rationalism. She has cut down the suit
jacket by sectioning it out horizontally, as if its wearer has been
lopped off with a chainsaw across the torso, the bloody work of
some modern day barber-surgeon. Its title, ‘Downsizing Jacket’,
suggests the hacking down of the garment and the individual it might
contain. While the word ‘downsizing’ is a euphemism,
Mackenzie’s artwork carefully articulates the human diminution
Brodie Ellis presents a woman’s military jacket copied from an Australian World War II uniform. Like the pinstriped suit jacket adapted by Jewel Mackenzie, the military uniform is also an anonymous outfit. It too operates as a shield for violence and atrocity ∫– more literally than does the suit in the corporate world, but no less subject to the overall logic of some strategic plan. Unlined, rendered in unbleached cotton and embroidered in matching thread, it has a raw, blank and unfinished quality as if it is not an actual uniform but an archetype. The artist’s blank embroidery traces the various military emblems on the jacket but it defeats the purpose of insignia for it to appear too subtle or indistinct. The patches have been roughly attached as if they are there only temporary or may be hastily substituted by others; perhaps this comments on the interchangeability and banality of flags and other insignia within the overall economy of signs. This jacket is a memorial, not merely because it recreates part of the uniform from a war that is past, but because military uniforms are often, quite literally, worn to death.
6 Curiously, in Amsterdam the Company of Surgeons formed in the sixteenth century as a breakaway group from the Guild of Clog and Skatemakers . (Persaud op.cit. p.44) A contemporary equivalent would be for the AMA to have formed as a splinter group of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear union.
7 The barber-pole is the sole emblematic reminder of the barber’s once-bloody trade. Its spiral stripes in red-and-white symbolise the blood soaked bandages that remain after blood-letting with leeches, one of the barber-surgeons’ specialty practices. The bloodied bandages were hung on a pole in front of the barber’s establishment by way of advertising this service.
9 Persaud, T.V.N. 1997 A History of Anatomy Springfield (Ill.) : Charles C. Thomas. P.183 emphasis mine.
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