Lacan’s ‘Mirror Stage’ Interpreted By Leonie Barth

London-based fashion designer Leonie Barth works to create womenswear and accessories. Her collection ‘ICH IST EIN ANDERER’ was designed with human science as inspiration, focusing on Jacques Lacan’s theory of the ‘mirror stage’.

Originally from the German city of Gütersloh, Barth studied at the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld, presenting ‘ICH IST EIN ANDERER’ (or ‘I is an other’) as her graduate collection. A series of ten outfits visually interpret Lacan’s ‘mirror stage’ concept, which divides the human psyche into three intertwined orders: the imaginary, the symbolic and the real. Lacan recognized the significance of mirrors in the creation of self-consciousness, and Barth translates his theory into expressions made possible through clothing.

Utilising mirrors in her designs to physically reflect symmetrical illusions of the collection’s ‘halved’ elements, Barth signifies Lacan’s idea that our mirror image completes our identity. The designer also implements color theory to conceptualize the ‘mirror stage’, taking dark bluish violet and lucent yellow, which mixed together present gray–a key color used in the collection to symbolize the polished surface of a mirror. Barth’s use of holographic textiles is also mindful of the Greek root word ‘holos’, meaning ‘whole’: the notion of wholeness and completion is significant to the mirror stage. The designer explains, “Clothes develop through the reflection of their own image. Missing parts are added and existing parts are reflected to create completeness.”

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