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Fashion student creates Japanese bondage-inspired outfits

PUBLISHED: 14:28 01 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:28 01 September 2018

Fashion by Gaelle, real name Annabel Leech, at the NUA Masters Show. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

Fashion by Gaelle, real name Annabel Leech, at the NUA Masters Show. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

Archant

This year’s Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) MA Degree Show has many exotic and unusual exhibits to offer.

One of the more shocking artists on show is 28-year-old Gaelle, real name Annabel Leech, whose work is inspired by Japanese and Hindu rope bondage.

The MA Fashion graduate creates outfits made from the ancient arts of Japanese Shibari and Hindu hook suspension used at the festival Thaipusam.

Gaelle’s works are made of black rope, sourced from an independent rope maker in northern England, which are then woven in a series of knots in a spider web-like pattern.

She said: “I wanted to do something that hadn’t necessarily been done before.

Gaelle, real name Annabel Leech, at the NUA Masters Show. PHOTO: Victoria PertusaGaelle, real name Annabel Leech, at the NUA Masters Show. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

“My inspiration topics are different forms of body suspension, one being Shibari which is used to suspend people in the air. It’s a very old, intricate Japanese art originally used to tie prisoners to restrain them.

“The history behind it is very interesting, it’s very ingrained in Japanese culture.

“I’ve used it in a very modern way and it actually forms the base of my garments, the core structure so I’ve used it both in the presentation and the construction of my work.

“The other form of body suspension is hook suspension which is a bit more shocking for people and less well known.

Fashion by Gaelle, real name Annabel Leech, at the NUA Masters Show. PHOTO: Victoria PertusaFashion by Gaelle, real name Annabel Leech, at the NUA Masters Show. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

“It’s a process of actually piercing the body with hooks and then those hooks are attached to the rope and the body is lifted into the air by those piercings.

“It’s as cultural and historical as the Shibari, it dates back thousands of years.

“That has been taken and westernised and is now being used as a very artistic expression, with people suspended in frames attached to these ropes which are coming off producing a range of geometric shapes. It’s so powerful.

“It’s fascinated me ever since my teens because it’s so shocking but it’s been something that I’ve always wanted to do.

Fashion by Gaelle, real name Annabel Leech, at the NUA Masters Show. PHOTO: Victoria PertusaFashion by Gaelle, real name Annabel Leech, at the NUA Masters Show. PHOTO: Victoria Pertusa

“It’s that power and that energy and bringing something to the table that’s different. I can’t find anyone who has brought fashion and suspension together so it’s new.

“I enjoy that people might not like my work or get it. I like to give something that’s a bit more controversial.”

The show is on until September 5 in Guntons Building, St Georges Street, Norwich.

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