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Grotesque: How the horror genre allows the manifestation of the imperfection that threatens the social norms.

Inspired by my academic research topic, the publication established under the framework of
three distinctive scenes that is equivalent to the three themes discuss during thesis
development. In elaborating each theme into a series of images, fashion was the narrative
mechanism in communicating the grotesque. I have decided to appropriate the traditional
slasher film plot by showing the progressing stages of a criminal's mind. The audience will
be the witness to the killer’s motive, shifting from her early stage of being innocent, towards
committing a crime and concluded with the embodiment of guilt. All illustrated through
photography techniques and creative directions of settings, lightings, and costumes.

I have intended to feature the first series with decrease saturation and increase the highlight
to embrace the neutral background. The images starred both models in deformed poses with
a tilted head, elongated torso, and drop shoulders show senses of unawareness and
detachment with their surroundings. Adorned themselves in tulles, they visualize a sense of
vulnerability and fragility, almost becoming the victim of their mind. Where the first half
attached sense of curiosity and lightness to it, the second half of the series focuses on
heightening suspenseful narrative by gradually embedding violence. These portraits shots
capture the character being blinded by different hands and suffocating herself with a plastic
sheet against the mirror reflection. Grotesque is communicated in the scene by the
exaggeration of absurdity through characterization. This intends to exemplify the
manifestations of the imperfections that threatens the social norms.

The second series focuses on the topic of Mask and Masquerade, which is discussed under
the studies of Fashion and horror films. In contrary to the bright and neutral palette of the
first settings, this second series intends to exaggerate temptation and desires of immoral

influences. Mask plays a significant part in performing grotesque on film. I have started with
an interpretation of a mask with an image of the model stretching a drawing over her face,
the drawing then became an artificial identity.

Inspired by Scream (1996), the silver mask in this scene becomes a motive for its wearer
in anonymising and depersonalising her identity, hence, encourage immoral action of
killings. The intended settings aim to recreate a crime scene with pitch-black surrounding
and one source of light that expose parts of the living room spaces only. The character was
dressed in deconstructed toiles with traces of blood on her body, this explains the cause of
such devastation that follows. The setting was recreated specifically to elaborate on the
dehumanising action that manifests grotesque.

The third scene follows contrast studies of Mikhail Bakhtin and Francesca Granata. To
signify grotesque, costumes heavily contribute towards characterizing a dominant and
threatening presence. While Bakhtin argued grotesque comes with exaggerating bodily
proportions, Granata stated that it refers to deconstructed dress. Inspired by Alexander
McQueen Horns of Plenty Fall/Winter 2009 collection, I have combined both studies by
dressing in deconstructed garbage bags and Velvet Jacket with Edwardian sleeve to deform
the natural body. The images were edited with high saturations and motion blur, initially
inspires by Tim Walker photography for Tilda Swinston. The last scene aims to embody the
disturbing, vile, and demonic nature that horror films have traditionally explored in
manifesting grotesque.

Art Director - Gia Phuc Ly

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