Pieces of her now classic Buddha collection of 1997 ultimately became part of the permanent archives of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, The Museum of FIT and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Tams designs that have been described as simple but at the same time unique in their combination of East and West, traditional and modern have attracted the attention of celebrities including Julia Roberts, Goldie Hawn, Madonna, and Britney Spears. At the moment, Tam owns boutiques in New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Kobe, Japan.
In November, 2004, Vivienne Tam opened her second freestanding store in Xian Tian Di in Shanghai, China, and her ninth store in Hong Kong, located at The Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon. One of her recent successes is a partnership with The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group where she is a brand ambassador. Her works will be featured in an advertising campaign to break in spring of 2005 in nationally distributed U. S. publications. Vivienne herself described her style in her book China Chic where she dwells on different aspects of Orientalism including fashion, food, art, architecture and home decor.
She describes in the book in detail her own crosscultural style that unites Western and Eastern elements. Vivienne Tam describes the Chinese style that is native to he rand teaches readers to appreciate the Chinese design and assess the beauty of her favorite Ming chair. Vivienne Tams style has always been characterized by distinct feature of Orientalism, or something that is perceived by the predominantly Western public assessing her creations as oriental. Most critics describe her style as eclectic, that is, combining the elements of the Oriental and Occidental.
Her clothing are carrying the trends similar to the folk Chinese costumes, such as the glistening fabrics and loose cut while remaining attached to the spirit of New York City s cultural life. Saids Orientalism and Barthes signifier Thus, Vivienne Tams fashionable art can be linked to the concept of Orientalism described in Edward Saids famous work Orientalism. Said himself, being of Palestinian descent, had a cross-cultural background. Said defined Orientalism as a way of coming to terms with the Orient that is based on the Orients special place in European Western Experience (Said 1979).
Said insisted on the Orientalism being a cultural concept that is conditioned by the existence cultural contestant to the European Occident, and a recurring image of the Other. The Orient is thus an elusive notion that is merely a product of the European imagination and is utilized to help the Occidentals to conceptualize themselves in contrast to the Oriental tradition. Said describes Orientalism as a style of thought based on an ontological and epistemological distinction between the Orient and the Occident (Yang).
Said insisted that Orientalism is a notion that was artificially created by the artistice circles of the West who were unable to grasp the crude reality of Eastern life and conjured up for themselves a sweetened Orient. He wrote in his work: By virtue of the fact that the poet, scholar, and politician speaks for, or writes about the Orient indicates the Orient is absent, and that the Orientalist is outside the orient¦ Poets make the Orient speak, and renders its mysteries plain to the West. (Say-Saue 2001).
Thus Said sees Orientalism as a kind of representation of the Orient by the Orientalists, found in the so-called truthful texts, such as history, journals, or, in other words, as cultural stereotype other opposite to the Occident (Yang). In Orientalism Said described this notion as it surfaces in the works of the European writers trying to provide an account of Eastern realia. Said connected the orientalist approach with the European culture that tried to control its relations with the Eastern subordinate states.
He denoted the Western tradition of Orientalism as corporate institution for dealing with the Orient ” dealing with it by making statements about it, authoring views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short . . . a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient (Edward Said). Thus, the tool of the Orientalism was utilised by the West in order to subjugate and oppress the East. The ideas present in Saids works show that the application of Orientalism to the description of an obscure phenomenon was similar to the idea of a signifier used by Bathes.
In the sense used by Roland Bathess theory of semiotics, signifier: is in some ways a substitute. For example, words, both oral and written, are signifiers, later exchanged by the brain for a working definition. The difference between the word tree and the substance which the brain substitutes for the input tree lies in the fact that you can make something out of the entity that is symbolized by the word, but you cannot use the word itself in construction. The signifier is therefore a kind of icon (Rowland Barthes Theories). Interesting in this respect is the idea of myth utilised by Roland Bathes which he determines