Laurie Simmons Discusses Her New Show on Cosplay—As Well as the Metaphor of Masking Beauty and Age

Vogue Daily — Laurie Simmons

Artist Laurie Simmons’s latest show is called “Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See,” and it opens tonight at Salon 94. After working on a more human scale in The Love Doll Days/Days 1-36, Simmons, who also happens to be the mother of Lena Dunham, decided to turn her eye to a Japanese subculture of cosplay (short for “costume play”) or Kigurumi. “I started down this rabbit hole of searching for the next iteration of doll something,” Simmons explained yesterday from her Tribeca studio. After exploring the popularity of Hatsune Miku, a Japanese Vocaloid pop star, she stumbled upon Dollers—people who wear bodysuits and latex masks, and appear publicly, in a kind of performance. “They wear ventilated suits, these Spandex onesies that cover their whole body, and then they have a mask that is their identity. It’s like a motorcycle helmet,” Simmons says. “And they go out and exist as their character.” Dollers can be men or women, straight or gay—their true identity is irrelevant to the persona they are presenting to the outside world. Vogue.com spoke to Simmons about her research and exploration through this fascinating subculture, and learned how, exactly, she transforms it into art.

What do you think is happening emotionally when people are putting on these costumes and presenting themselves as this identity?
Just based on the models that I used and the way they felt—I think it’s pretty exciting to assume another identity. For some reason, the posture of the model and the tilt of the head can read like the mask’s expression is changing. And what my model recently told me is that even though she’s wearing a mask, when she is posing or moving around, she is making very extreme facial expressions underneath.


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