For Fashionable Animal, New York City-based artist Gigi Ben Artzi and fashion designer Elle Sasson invite a group of five teenage girls to imagine life in the animal kingdom, asking, “If you could be any animal, what would it be?”
As the young women envisioned roaming open land in a pack or horses or slumbering the frigid winter away in a bear cave, they were invited to pull clothing from Sasson’s collection that they felt spoke to the animal they chose. Fashion, suggests Artzi, has the power to transform a game of make-believe into something far more vivid; what we wear, he notes, has a hand in shaping the way in which we perceive our innermost selves. Once the girls made their top picks, the designer and director chose one look that they felt told the story of each individual girl and her animal.
In Artzi’s eyes, a favorite animal also has the potential to reveal an intimate piece of an individual’s identity, her hopes and her fears. The concept for Fashionable Animal was inspired by Sasson’s designs, for which animals of all kinds serve as a constant muse. The girls are both friends of the artists and professional models, and nearly every one of them responded to the question immediately, disclosing their fantasy species without a second thought.