Prosthesis on the Sartorialist
I don’t usually blog about fashion. The apparel industry is a whole other can of worms. And while fashion should in my opinion be considered alongside product and architecture as parallel subsets under the modern rubric of industrial design, it is not yet, and so I leave it at that and stay largely away.
But today my wife sent me a Sartorialist post with a marvelous photo of a woman riding a bicycle. She so often sends photos of bikes and chic cycling that I almost missed what makes this photo shine– the woman’s right prothetic leg. It’s easy to miss graphically: the color seems an extension of the bag in the basket; the axis of the prosthesis coincides with the axis of the basket’s stay. I really thought her right leg must be out to the left preparing to dismount. Anyway, what makes this photo so special to me is the fluid connection between the subsets of human design and ingenuity. We augment our bodies in textiles and machines, mechanically concealing and gracing ourselves with protection and advantage over the earth and elements. And it’s hard in the information age particularly to tell where we stop and our tech starts. It’s a cliche of blurred lines often explored in allegory and fable. But I love that this photo explores those lines in color and line. Her vermillion dress is a part of her red bike. Her prosthetic leg is an extension of her chic purse. And of course the leg and bike collude to propel her with grace and efficiency inspite of her unique and common human handicaps. Clunky masculine mechanical fixes and colorful feminine grace. It’s a wonderful photo. And it’s getting a lot of attention.