Photography & Styling by April Lee
Words by Grace Hong & Clifford Loh
In her seminal text on the human condition, German philosopher Hannah Arendt professes that our outward selves are projected as masks. These masks are tailored and informed by the roles in which our professions assign us; exchangeable components on our skin. The cognition of identity is thus postured as such—instead of conceiving one’s personality as a cohesive whole where a depth of layers are revealed in time, we are but blank travelers traversing in space; a suitcase of masks ready at hand.
What began as an intellectual inquiry for Arendt becomes the starting point for Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2019 Collection. The notion of persona was captured through a play on masks as a styling device that infiltrated the collection. The masquerade started with an invitation—a message in Greek that roughly translates to ‘the head of Hermaphroditus,’ a symbol of sexuality and androgyny. With fashion fronting our inward selves, masks build a veritable spectacle; employed by a designer, brand, or director to lure us into their universe.
In this series of self-portraits, Singapore- based creative April Lee plays the role of model, sitter, and artist—taking on chameleonic agency as she experiments within the nuances of each.