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The Lingerie Addict is currently away on medical leave

Lingerie as Art: Sacred Nature by Sydney Duncan

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

As I mentioned on the TLA Patreon recently, I'm not an artist. I have no pretensions as to my artistic capabilities. In fact, I don't even think of myself as a "writer" in artistic sense (writing is, instead, a practical tool which happens to work best for me right now).

That said, I do appreciate art,  and I admire artists. In the past few months, I've become especially intrigued by the textile arts. Think embroidery, tapestry, lacemaking, and weaving. I'm fascinated by how raw fiber can be transformed into thread and thread into fabric. It's alchemy. Even the simplest transformation of these raw materials into refined goods is magical, but to then take that even further? Into the realm of art? It makes me speechless. I'm not confident I yet have the vocabulary to describe how these pieces make me feel.Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

One recent artist that's had this effect on me is Sydney Duncan. I meant to share this lookbook last year, but the last few months of 2018 got away from me (for reasons I'll share later), and I've only had a chance to upload these images now. Though I'm certain I've viewed these photos at least a dozen times by now, I'm still filled a sense of awe and profound respect for the talent and creativity and sheer skill behind this collection.



As a denizen of New York, the city can seem somewhat insular after a time, and one thing I appreciate about Sydney Duncan is that they're not based in NYC, but instead come out of Nashville. I do believe there's a tendency to treat other cities in America - those cities which aren't NYC or Los Angeles, at least - as though they have no fashion or art scene to speak of. But there are artists everywhere.Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

I won't presume to fully understand this collection. I feel like that would be fake and pretentious of me, and I know you all would see right through it. But some things I'm noticing are the incorporation of the nude figure and, particularly, the uterus into these lingerie-inspired designs. A type of body that's seen as sacrilegious and sinful and inferior (unless, of course, it's paired with virginal icongraphy)  is appliqued onto lingerie, those undergarments we assign so much social - and sexual - weight.

I think of how embroidery - an incredibly detail-oriented, complicated way of making art - has been diminished as "women's work" and how so many embroiderers have been forgotten throughout history. I think of how we define the sacred, and how it also requires the presence of the profane to fully understand; you cannot have one without the other and often they exist in close proximity.

I have other thoughts, several of them deep and personal, but I think I want to keep them to myself for now. However, I would love to hear what you think of these pieces, and if they resonate with you the way they did with me.

Sydney Duncan's website can be found here: https://www.sydneyduncan.co/

Photography by Jamie-Lyn Fehr

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"

Sydney Duncan "Sacred Nature"


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Cora
Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

4 Comments on this post

  1. Thursday says:

    Wow, what a collection. I love the pierced uterus! A really interesting exploration going on here.

  2. Ana says:

    Hey Cora, awesome post. Sydney is so talented, thank your for sharing. I adore the idea of putting an emphasis on the uterus. When one chooses and succeeds in using this part of the body, I think the uterus proves to be incredibly awesome.

  3. nofixedstars says:

    they are extraordinary. very beautiful, and disturbing too. these are, simply and truly, art. and much of the best art is beautiful and disturbing. it moves us in ways difficult to elucidate or qualify verbally. the designer has incorporated (literally) the complexity of female physicality into the garments, referencing sacred imagery. the dolorous pierced heart is there transferred to the uterus. the heart is present too, acknowledging the way the physical and the emotional intersect. the exposed spine, with its highlighted area of the second chakra/womb is remarkable. and then the fetus shown in utero and placed over the uterus of the non-pregnant woman modeling it…very interesting. there’s so much going on here: power and mystery and exquisite beauty, something a little sinister or creepy even, but ultimately a very compelling dialogue between the viewer and the female bodies shown as artworks. ultimately, for me, it sets up a conversation about how every woman may be a goddess/divine; and also a more complex discussion of how the meaning here hinges upon the element of choice…to choose rather than be chosen. to have the ability to determine one’s life. that a thing may be beautiful and joyful, or terrifying and derailing, depending upon whether it is desired. this is one hell of an art installation, in the form of a lingerie photo-book.

  4. Ms. Kitsch says:

    Seeing these pieces made me feel emotional on a level I can’t even really articulate or explain, and paired with your words…it was all just beautiful.

    Thank you for this post, it was incredibly healing tonight to see and read this.

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