The JEANNE FRIOT Spring/Summer 2024 collection , an elegant fusion of past and present, is steeped in symbolism and sewn together with threads of hope, resistance, and the eternal fight for identity. Named “SIRENS,” it breathes life into the mythological creature of the mermaid, an emblem of a body in continual transformation, and a timeless metaphor for the queer identity.
In an age where the queer community finds itself at the epicenter of a disheartening political discourse, this collection resonates like a siren’s song, echoing a plea for recognition and respect. It comes at a critical juncture, with the recent regressive legislation in Tennessee and Kentucky, challenging the rights and existence of queer bodies.
As a poignant response to these developments, Jeanne Friot‘s “SIRENS” collection rises like a phoenix, advocating for those bodies, those lives, under siege, through a creative symphony of fashion. The collection imparts a sense of urgency, a cry for help, yet it also weaves a tapestry of hope, symbolizing the resilience of the queer identity.
This narrative draws from the depths of history, harkening back to Hans Christian Anderson’s poignant tale of the “Little Mermaid” in 1837. The mermaid, an immortal figure of hybridity, evokes the queer identity – an identity othered, denied, and yet enduring. Interestingly, this symbolic creature was a veiled expression of Anderson’s own repressed homosexual love, a facet often overlooked amidst the glittering utopia presented to our childhood selves.
By revisiting this figure, the “SIRENS” collection becomes a platform to voice the unspoken, to manifest the queer identity in its fluidity and beauty. The mute metaphors of the past are thus given voice, reverberating through the fabric of Friot’s designs.
A distinct feature of this collection is its commitment to sustainability and reinterpretation. In a tribute to the deconstruction and reconstruction of narratives, the garments themselves bear witness to a similar journey. Old clothes are thoughtfully reimagined and reconstructed – jeans are meticulously deconstructed and woven again, shirts are disassembled and sewn back in new patterns.
Collaborating with Cahu, the collection also includes wide black bags inscribed with screams of alarm, a stark reminder of the struggles faced and a call to action for society. These elements reflect the philosophy of “reparative reading,” a term borrowed from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s 1990 foundational queer theory text, “Closet Epistemology.”
In the end, “SIRENS” stands as a restorative collection. It is a testament to the enduring spirit of the queer community and the ongoing battle for acceptance and understanding. Much like the mermaid’s song, it is an enticing appeal to the collective conscience, a melodious demand for change, and a symphony of hope resonating through the fashion world.
© Photos : JEANNE FRIOT
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