This week, we have an unusual proposition for AnOther’s Lovers. Ordinarily this column sets about celebrating exotic holiday destinations, impossible scenarios, unlikely modes of transport or extravagant follies from the catwalk. But not today – today, we’re here to talk about buttons. But what extraordinary buttons. Like something dreamt up by the surrealists, these All Seeing Eye buttons, created by artist Elodie Antoine and Loved by photographer Olena Slyesarenko, are in the form of an exquisitely detailed eye socket and eyeball – which unite when fastened to truly uncanny effect.
Buttons are one of the oldest and simplest forms of clothes fastening. Ornamental examples made from seashell have been found that date back to the Bronze Age and Ancient Rome, but it is thought that they were only starting to be used for practical purposes around the 9th century. Over time, buttons have been used as jewellery and currency; they have been crafted from gold, covered with fabric and printed with photographs; they have concealed microphones and smuggled drugs. Technology has advanced supposedly far enough to make them redundant – why choose a clumpy button, when you could plump for the surreptitious press-stud, the even-paced zipper or the security of a buckle? Yet still the button prevails, and it is examples such as this one that show us why. You couldn’t get this creative with a hook-and-eye.
So as we try to decide which sixteen of our shirts we’re going to add these buttons to, we asked Slyesarenko to pick her favourite fastener and tell us which cinematic scene inspires her way of getting dressed.
Why did you love it?
It is very surreal. I can imagine something like this worn by Salvador Dalí or designed by Elsa Schiaparelli.
What garment – owned or dreamed of – would you like to have them on?
Initially I would have said they would be best on a simple minimilaist design by Céline or Maison Martin Margiela. But on consideration, JW Anderson is probably a better fit.
Who makes the best buttons?
Chanel particularly in the 80/90s - their buttons then were so indulgent.
Pick your favourite fastener, and tell us why?
The press stud – it is invisible on the outside and perfect for dramatic moments when you're tearing items open.
Koumpounophobia – fear of buttons – is surprisingly common. Do you have a strange phobia?
Nothing strange. I just have phobias of pretty much anything that makes life interesting ie speed, height, adrenalin, crowds, closed space... And slimy onions.
What is your favourite dressing/undressing scene in film or literature?
Romy Schneider in Boccachia '70. The entire film is a voyeuristic experience watching a beautiful woman in dream clothes.
What are you looking forward to about summer?
Sunny holidays in Cornwall or Isles of Scilly.
What was the last thing you bought?
A yellow duck watering can – it is my favourite thing in the house right now.