Monday, February 7, 2011

the theatre of all my struggles and all my ideas

number one. I took a silk DvF dress to my local consignment store to find it closed. Refusing the impediment to my ability to browse their goods, I pressed my nose up to the glass door, to the shop windows. And saw these.

In a size 37. AKA two, maybe three sizes too small for yours truly. Considered slicing off my toes and heels like the ugly stepsisters in the Grimm Cinderella (the originals are so much more bloodthirsty and brutal than the Disney magic.) Decided that the disfigurement is probably not worth it (right?) but that when I pay off the rest of my credit card debt (this is my year, CBA) my present to myself will be a pair of... YSL heels. Or booties. Or whatever. Yes, yes, I'm a student, but I'm a student of fashion. Totally a study-related expense. Don't even assume the Negative position in this little debate, you will lose.

number two. Australians who don't go to church on Sunday nights should tune in to 'Sunday Night' (catchy title, huh?) on Seven this... Sunday night... to watch a behind-the-scenes documentary on Andrej Pejic as he does the Paris men's shows. If anyone has a VCR or some kind of tape-it-onto-DVD-device, call me. Because, you know... church and all. I hope there's lots of over-the-top gasping at how brilliant and new and boundary-breaking he is juxtaposed by some defensive homegrown red-neckery about gender. Brought to you by Patty Huntington

Hang on- that's a bloke!

number three. I'm part of a reading group working our way through Benjamin's Arcades Project. I've never read Benjamin before but of course his writing haunts pretty much every fashion theory text I've ever encountered so it's very belated and necessary. His ideas are far-reaching and intoxicating, so reading him is like drinking champagne. His structure has kick-started ideas for structuring my own beast and his concentration on the ephemera of society is maddeningly peripatetic and unmethodical but in equal measure well-selected and thorough. 
The basic concept underpinning his work is that we glean the 'primal knowledge' of an era by examining its 'refuse and detritus' rather than its great men/women and historical events. His focus was the nineteenth century, the push of modernism, and his work spans architecture (namely, the arcades in Paris, thus the title of the unfinished project), fashion, the figure of the flaneur, exhibitions and advertising, prostitution and gambling, iron, photography, Marx and Baudelaire, the doll, the Stock Exchange, the Seine, Materialism and on and on and on. It's wonderful.

Something to muse on today:
'The collector is the true resident of the interior. He makes his concern the transfiguration of things. To him falls the Sisyphean task of divesting things of their commodity character by taking possession of them. But he bestows on them only connoisseur value, rather than use value. The collector dreams his way not only into a distant or bygone world but also into a better one- one in which, to be sure, human beings are no better provided with what they need than in the everyday world, but in which things are freed from the drudgery of being useful.' p9, Eiland & McLaughlin transl., 1999

Which throws me back on a pair of beautiful but just-too-small DKNY booties that I'll hang onto to display/torture myself with from time to time; back onto thoughts of decorating the inside of my new home; and also the last post on my guillotine ring. The interplay between owner and owned. The flow of use and aesthetic, the changing importance of both depending on the needs of the possessor. The beautiful concept of things being transfigured, of being the portals into past worlds and simultaneously into imagined ones. So on the wings of these fragmented thoughts I dive back into the text, to this week's chunk- Fashion. (Can you feel my thrills from there?)


  1. Ok, I am glad you didn't buy the shoes. I would have chastised you in a big way. Saving now mean more shoes in the future!