Quarantine & Chill
Chronicles from the fridge - a film by Amanda Mehl
PURPLE PRESENTS: AMANDA MEHL’S QUARANTINE & CHILL
In this new series, I play a trophy wife alter ego in a quintessential nouveau riche American Dream domestic setting. My character is portrayed around the house doing various actions to obtain/maintain a state of perfection, a parallel to many people being on a mission to emerge from quarantine perfected. In the photos I pose in glamour looks and makeup doing tasks such as reading self-help books, exercising, cooking and cleaning. When you’re alone 24/7 the line between reality and fantasy can become fuzzy and I enjoy playing with that. The surreal theatrical absurdity of this series touches on a descent into an alternate dimension that’s out of touch with society and slightly lost in a dream. I hope it makes us question our strange rituals that are widely considered normal in the way the coronavirus has tested everything.
I live alone so it was important to me for the integrity of a project created in isolation to work completely solo on this. For this series, I did the photography, modelling, creative direction, and set design myself using only items that I had at home. This series incorporates Amehl into my visual art practice and encompasses several mediums such as video, photography, installation art and performance art. Shooting alone is something I’ve never done since collaborations with large eclectic groups of people are very characteristic of Amehl. Working by myself was limiting but also allowed me the ability to control nearly every aspect of the photo, not unlike my alter ego who is evidently a detail crazed control freak as well. Putting on beautiful clothes and makeup made me feel human again and self-expression through fashion and photography has been fulfilling.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of fashion for independent brands, especially emerging designers in the US that don’t have the support system that our European contemporaries do. In a nutshell, my thoughts are that fashion is just as much about the brand statement as the clothes. As much as I love to put on a showstopper dress, and the rush I get from the infusion of confidence and sex appeal feels fantastic, just making a great dress isn’t enough to sustain fashion. When the rug is pulled out from under our feet and the need for beautiful things is cancelled, we need to rely on our substance to survive. Relevant fashion to me marries the object with the subject or the product with the concept. Designers should create more than commodities. That’s what differentiates us from fast/corporate fashion, that we have a “soul”. Besides making great pieces, I’m equally excited about creating ideas through my artistic content. Videos, images and happenings are core to Amehl as well as the clothes and accessories. Versatility is important too, which is why I’m not interested in designing just one type of product. Now is the moment for cool comfy tracksuits and I’m optimistic that the desire for cocktail dresses will rise in the future stronger than before.
One thing that is clear, as the illusion of certainty crumbles, is the importance of fashion’s responsibility towards society. How the brand identifies and communicates is what makes fashion a powerful voice in the cultural revolution. It’s us fashion workers that are changing the world by redefining beauty standards and calling for inclusivity and sustainability. My recent collections have explored themes such as gentrification, feminism, and most recently my Jewish heritage, creating a rich visual language that is multifaceted and diverse. I hope we will dance till the sun comes up at fabulous parties feeling amazing in our gorgeous clothing in the very near future, but until it’s safe to do so I will be focusing on using Amehl as an outlet for self-expression, creating content with social commentary as a reflection of this strange time. All clothes and accessories by Amehl.