Imagine being peeled...the sublime ecstasy of fur in fashioning well-being…
Harper, Catherine (2009) Imagine being peeled...the sublime ecstasy of fur in fashioning well-being… In: 11th 11th Annual Conference of the International Foundation of Fashion and Technology Institutes (IFFTI) - Fashion and Well-being?, 2-3 April 2009, London, UK.
Official URL: http://www.iffticonference.com/index.php
In an imaginative, poetic and performative text, the author will challenge the ‘snuff’ moment of fur’s production as integral to the sublime ecstasy of consumption of the chief fabric of desire. If one’s well-being is bound to absolute somatic and psychic pleasure, then fur’s material fetish - its tactile, visual and olfactory stimulation, coupled with its generous allowance for the fetish-purist’s idealized disavowal – offers precisely the heady mix of sex, sadism, seduction and sensuality that keeps fur both perennially attractive and ascendant in the fashion industry. This paper examines how fur worn on the body dynamically co-joins the fetishistic disavowing pleasure of its rich surface with the overt deliberateness of suffering at its point of production, arguing that fur fabric manages to perform this oscillation between the disclaimer of the fur fetishist and the de-fetishized knowingness of the fur sadist, corrupting both in its insinuation that the deep and complex perversion of Western fur appreciation lies in the fetishist’s obverse acceptance of the ‘attraction of repulsion’, the oftentimes inversion of the traditional male fetishist in the legions of fur-wearing femme fatales, and the Sapphic implications of such femmes’ somatic insertion into the fur that still is inflected as female genitalia. Underpinning the paper’s concern with the ecstatic pleasure of the stroke of soft pelt passing across skin, the paper questions the how knowing acceptance of agony, disavowing desire for the sex-death nexus, critical subordination of emotion and empathy informs the fashioning of a certain form of well-being while peeling the skin off another.
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