ShapeShifter: a creature of popular occulture, a beast of fashion.
A ShapeShifter is a beast of human nature; wolf-sorceress, werewolf, hunter, creature of occulture, laborer of seduction. It is the work wear of human allure and wickedness, a metamorphosis from lover to deceiver, from angel to devil, from peace-broker to murderer. It is the uniform of trespassing in the realm of appearances. Through the skin shedding process of becoming-beast, the pigmentation of our daemonic reality, the ShapeShifter is the sacerdotal attire of the fashion pilgrim as he or she moves between the worlds of human affairs, the conditions of work, labour, action, and god-like deeds. As fashion skin-shedders we pass through the soft, misty skin between the world of earthly toil and that of Fashion.
In our labour of looks, we conjure the desires and fears of our social world, we summon the spirits which long for togetherness and cringe from separateness. As her Siberian counterparts, the ShapeShifter has her face covered by a holy pendant, what the Mongol calls “samalga”. This pendant is used as a beacon for attracting the spirits, but also a means to activate the second sight of fashion clairvoyance, with the power of sensing the bestiality of popular man. As a mask, the samalga creates a lens through which the ShapeShifter can see through the misty veil that separates the Daimonic reality of fashion, the cosmology of the spiritual realm of social nature, from the world of brute realism. It is a mask that pierces the world of appearances.
But like any other mask of fashion, it is not there to separate us from the other. The mask is there to bring us closer together. The ShapeShifter exposes the world of fashion-labour: the labour of aesthetic selection, the fierce struggle of tasteful competition, seduction and rivalry, allure and predation - the beast-like battles in our war of attraction.
Part Krampus, part Succubus. Part Kitsune, part Hathor. Part Pietho, part Sjöfn. Yet fully both the emperor king Zhou of Shang and Baron La Croix.
The shapeShifter dresses one of the many contradictions of fashion: the social forces at play in our rituals of sexual and natural selection. Whereas fashion is often understood as a play of desire and seduction, and ultimately a sublimation of reproduction, the territorial struggles over mates is seldom discussed. Shape-shifting is not only a play of fancy, or a lustful game of recreation: it is also a fierce competition over mates and hunting grounds. As we chase the latest trend, we are also hunting down our peers in the struggle of aesthetic domination. The shapeShifter is a hunter’s garb, a work uniform for the guerrilla aesthetic, a chameleon skin for the fashion beast.