PRINT March 1996


HAIR COIFED, MAKEUP DAZZLING WHITE, six-inch ankle-strap platforms on her feet, Claude Wampler slowly works her way through a party of people made to stand and receive her disregard. Stiff black gloves rest on top of her wrists, eerily, emptily doubling any gesture her hands make; a pointy cone shoots out from her white satin dress. She looks at once suave, ridiculous, and utterly—fashionably—out of it. Probing the sticky underbelly of fashion, Wampler, in her performance piece She Is High. True or False?, 1995, spotlights the psychic consequences of party going and dressing up by channeling Jackie Onassis–intimate and Madame Grès-maven Chessy Rayner, a ubiquitous society-page presence. Aware that one of fashion’s strongest devices is its various distancing effects, Wampler abolishes any notion of chic’s warmth through a ravishing display of social chill; bemused, mumbling to herself,

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