Creating Fabulousness!

About

Madame Button's loves bright, vibrant and bold colours. It's rare for her to leave the house without a bit of colour in her outfit. She is inspired by and loves to use satin, buttons, bows, feathers, fake flowers, fake fruit, anything fake plastic and artificial and extremely over the top in her outfits. Buttons is inspired by retro prints, 60's suits, colour, photography, art, Raquel Reed, 'Priscilla queen of the desert' and all of history. Buttons launched her brand and Liquid Lycra range in February 2013, she is selling her Liquid Lycra goodies from her Etsy shop.

Buttons hosted the mother of all events in her show Hysterium which showcased her range of incredible diverse costumes. Buttons took part in Costume Emporium and presented the largest item of the show "Colossal Costume" which stunned and surprised guests with it's magnitude and beautiful design and with matching male counterpart.


Seamingly Extravagant

... An Interview with Madame Buttons (2013)

Melbourne based costume designer and performance artist Madame Buttons reveals her masterpiece show two years in the making, expresses the strength of womanhood and covers herself in mustard.


From where in the world did Madame Buttons appear and how did we miss it?

I am well and truly Melbourne, having grown up and established my skillsets here as an artist specializing in textiles and accentuating this with a background in performance art. 'Madame Buttons' is the name of my brand, yes. But my brand is a piece of my lifestyle, a taste of how I envision my world, a world I like to realize in the art, costume, fashion, culture and music that I surround myself in. 'Madame Buttons' is therefore a physical manifestation of my experience of life, and a positive one that I would love to encourage in others!

When did you hit the scene, like a sewing machine?

Ha, good one. I launched my brand and my first collection of wearable garments in February this year. The collection was dubbed "Liquid Lycra" and is still available for purchase and orders. For several years however and to this day, I continue to work on what you might consider 'a little harder to wear' garments. Not that they can't be, of course, they should be! But the general population hasn't gotten their heads around this type of dress sense yet.

"But the general population hasn't gotten their heads around this type of dress sense yet."

It makes me think of Liquid Latex, a definite big up. What does Liquid Lycra entail exactly?

Liquid Lycra is a range of Lycra garments designed for every day wearing. I originally tailored them to my own size, taste and specs, as fashion made for myself exclusively (oh how I indulge). But then, requests from all angles started pouring in, even during shifts at the many bartending jobs I have had in this time, requesting to know where I had purchased these vivacious Lycra numbers.I decided at this point that I would make to order, and this is how I started!

And the name?

Well,the name came from an amazing older lady who said "Buttons! It's like you've just poured your leggings on like liquid!"; and thus Liquid Lycra was born. Liquid Lycra comes in a range of 'bits and bobs' leggings, skirts, dresses and bathers. I feature stripes and polka dots quite prominently, and very into crushed velvet. I suggest you hop onto my Facebook page and peruse the goods on offer. I will be continuing the range until late this year.

Madame Buttons unleashing Liquid Lycra upon the public

"It's like you've just poured your leggings on like liquid!"

Hysterium Poster Well you have clearly led me on to ask the next question now! Which is, what on Earth happens on the 28th of November, Madame Buttons?

I'm glad you asked! (she giggles) Hysterium happens!

But of course! Please eloquently illuminate this grand sounding event!

Hysterium is poised to be an interactive exhibition that I have been working on for a long time now, I could say two years, but really it has been a lifetime experience of all that has shaped me that has bought me to this point, and to this show. The costumes featured will be displayed on stunning, sometimes professional, models in 3 catwalks, complemented by numerous performance art pieces. The performers are handpicked and are some of Melbourne's greatest emerging performance artists, some have even hit the limelight such as X-Factor's Miss Friby. The short, sharp and punchy performances throughout will, however varied, feature strong themes of sexuality, femininity, womanhood, consumerism, identity and appearance, amongst other things.Some are rather… confronting, shall we say. But they are definitely set to elicit a smile, a surprise, excitement, shock and ultimately aimed at seducing you into an hysterical state. Hysterium definitely delves into the exploration of sexuality in an interesting and fun manner.

Love the sound of it, and while I don't know what it means, I also love the word. Hysterium.

It is about female empowerment. It is a state of ecstasy or delirium, a beautiful one, but one that is perhaps frowned upon by folk in society.Historically it is similar to that which bought about the medical practice of clitoral stimulation, it is sexual, it is psychedelic, it is feminine, it is woman, it is personal and lovely. It is essentially a mad jumble of hysteria, delirium, elements of psychedelia; all contained within an emporium – which will be the structure of the evening in which these delicious acts are given up.

"It is about female empowerment."

One can certainly appreciate the accentuation of the strength of womanhood through both your design and performing arts. Does this form a challenge to the notion of a patriarchal or male-dominant society and culture?

It's not about women walking all over men, although that will happen literally and figuratively in my performances... it is more about women being just as strong as men; if not stronger.

It's about excluding sexuality and not been afraid of it. It's about wearing what you want and not caring what people think. It's about making choices and being empowered by them and wearing them with pride – again literally and metaphorically.

It's about breaking down social constructs and not letting the norm barricade your creativity.

It's about doing what you want and being who you are, even if it isn't what society is dictating you to be

It's about bringing colour and happiness back and not been so god damn "ab drab".

This is a very feminine show, in its raison d'etre, but I have injected in it a fair dose of androgyny. I dream of a world where there are no set expectations defining and separating male and female. I'm really interested in androgyny and hope to soon make a collection that is unisex. Taking away social pretence of male and female clothing.

I hope your show can be a success even just based on the merits of its message! You certainly carry a cause, unlike many brands out there today, and a strong and important one – albeit perhaps underlooked by the common folk. It begs the question now, that if appearances don't matter because it is who we really are that is important, then what does clothing mean to you?

Every weekend thousands upon thousands of people try on an infinite number of outfits until they find the one they think they look the most attractive in. They then go out, speaking broadly, in the hope that what they have done is peacocked themselves enough that they will better their chances of seducing their pray.So to speak. So not only is what you are wearing helping to express your self, it is also empowering you and building on the experience of our primitive survival instincts. So not only do we wear clothes to express ourselves, we also use clothing to empower ourselves and with empowerment comes attraction.

So clothing for you is inextricably linked with attracting a mate, as an unavoidable extension of our hardwired biological desires.

I also think that a lot of people make personality judgements based on clothing.This can't be avoided. I think you can gather an idea of who people are by the way in which they present themselves, but of course this will only ever be your interpretation, and for the wearer – they depend on our interpretation meeting their intention. It can hit and it can miss, but it is an active process and effects us daily, subconsciously or consciously.

To me, personally, clothing is everything. What I wear will reflect how I feel that day. What I wear sets me apart from those around me. What I wear makes me feel happy, empowered, strong, sexy, special and individual. What I wear also entertains me through people's reactions. I suppose I get a kick out of confusing people.

I think that in life generally, society has created boxes and groups. It simplifies the processes involved in attempting to understand life.And if a person can't understand what box you fit in; or if they can't find a box to fit you in, then they don't like it. I find People trying to put a label on me constantly. "What are you dressed up as? Nothing, are you trying to look like snow white? No, Amy Winehouse? No.Are you rockabilly? No. Why are you wearing that?, Do you always dress like this?". They are mini dilemmas that people experience in trying to place a label on it so they can get back to their enjoyment of life. It exposes a crack in how we function. If there is something baffling, we simply cannot get passed it, we feel the need to try and make it digestible to ourselves. This is an annoying trait of human psychology, but as annoying as the comments are, I am glad as I think I get a kick out of confusing people. It means that my art is working, as it is making people think. Hopefully one day, it will help people across the world come to the point where they realize they do not need to allocate somebody's appearance to a definition, a meaning or a box, label or category. That is, at the end of the day, the beauty in life: the unknowable, the misfit, the difficult to understand, the enigma, the different; and mostly because it is all done out of love, for our lives and our creativity and for others.

Thank you Buttons for the heartfelt and penetrating insight into both your label, your up-and-coming event and your perspective on the condition of fashion, gender, sexuality and womanhood in the 21st Century. It was an eye-opening delight!

All thanks to:

Interviewer

Brock Didenko