Emotions worn on sleeve, literally

Sarah Blei

Fashion prof explores guilt and fashion

Innovative technologies lead to different ways of expressing feelings. Noel Palomo-Lovinski tackles this in her designs, which are now being featured in the fashion museum.

“I’m just fascinated by the feeling of disconnect,” said Palomo-Lovinski, associate professor in the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. “People try to hide, but they’re still the same person.”

Her exhibit “Confessions and the Sense of Self: Work of Noel Palomo-Lovinski 2003-2009” consists of 12 designs with a focus on women who privately confess their emotions to counteract their guilt and expose honest feelings.

Jean Druesedow, fashion museum director, expressed her interpretation of Palomo-Lovinski’s art.

“I think that Noel’s work combines two approaches to what we wear and who we are: conceptual art using fashion as a medium, and fashion as a purveyor of who we are,” she said. “When we get up in the morning most of us choose things to wear without fully realizing just what those choices communicate about us.”

Palomo-Lovinski compiled confessions from other people from Web sites, blogs, televised talk shows, personal communications and intimate journal writings.

“My work conveys the conflict between what is felt on the inside but portrayed on the outside in the form of dress as a type of self representation,” she said.

Dresses are the primary design medium to serve as a metaphor of a woman’s identity, she said.

All of the pieces are constructed with sheer fabrics to create an imagery of “seeing through things.”

The confessions Palomo-Lovinski obtained are transposed onto fabric. The fabric is then layered and pulled against the grain to create an uncomfortable appeal.

The text appears small on her garments because it creates a “voyeuristic quality of invading someone’s space.” This leads observers of her exhibit to lean in and read the confessions off the dresses, which is a metaphor for invading someone’s personal space.

“One of my favorite things is to watch people read my own stuff,” Palomo-Lovinski said. “Garments reinforce subject area of text and feelings I’m trying to evoke.”

Emily Marine, sophomore fashion merchandising major, reacted to the confessions.

“Some, I can’t believe anyone writes,” she said. “I think it’s good there’s an outlet for people to confess.”

Seghen, a sophomore fashion design major who went only by one name, added to Palomo-Lovinski’s interpretation of confessing.

“I think men confess, too – maybe not to the extent of women because men are more traditional with their emotions,” he said.

Palomo-Lovinski believes the act of confessing is important.

“Human beings need to share feelings and emotions with others,” she said. “Even though we want people to be perfect, we know we aren’t.”

Contact School of Fashion Design and Merchandising reporter Sarah Blei at [email protected].