For today's post, brought to you by the number 18, because that's the current temperature in Celsius here on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, I'd like to talk to you about Art. And no I'm not talking about Mr Garfunkel (the famous songwriting and singing partner to Paul Simon). Or the Broadway show (which I saw on Broadway in 1998 with my friend Tara. The curtains opened and there was Alan Alda sitting on a coffee table on the stage. It was such a buzzy moment!). No, I'm talking about art of a different sort entirely.
Fashion Art. (there's a natural acronym that those two words present, isn't there? It's like Country Rap - we call it Crap, which is a real song). So, when I say art, what I mean is art in the world of fashion. I've pondered before (remember blog #38? (well, who doesn't?)) about where the fashions that we find in our stores come from. If The Devil Wears Prada can be relied upon as a credible source, then the catwalks of the world's major fashion shows have a lot to do with it. Which downright astounded me. How can something that starts as that (note picture above as Exhibit A) end up influencing what I wear to work if my job is being someone other than Lady GaGa? Or something I might wear out to the movies and dinner with my boyfriend, if I'm someone other than Lady GaGa? And even Lady GaGa may baulk at wearing what's depicted in the above photo -- she'd certainly get some interesting requests from people sitting behind her in the movie theatre, anyway.
This confused, confounded, perplexed and puzzled me so much. Just how was it possible to make the leap between catwalk creations of stupefying proportions, and what Ms Everyday uses to clothe herself?
Mr McQueen. I was reading a magazine in Cambridge, a cute little town on the north island of New Zealand, a few weeks ago on Alexander Lee McQueen. A 4-time British Designer of the Year, earlier this year Alexander Lee McQueen took his own life. The article chronicled his meteoric rise to the top of the fashion pile, starting when he was around 24. It recounted some of his more spectacular catwalk shows, which beggared belief - models dressed as mental institution inmates, double-amputee women as models. But my favourite was the story about a cat walk show where the finale was a model (I'm guessing she was human, although it was hard to tell as she was so thin and pale, she may have been man made) wearing a white strapless dress being spray painted with black paint by robots commandeered from the Audi car factory. It was said that McQueen was so moved by this spectacle that he wept.
What is the point of all this, the inner blue-blazer-wearing, feet-on-ground, sensible-practical-reliable, cost-appropriate-purchasing me, wondered? It was while I was reading this article, complete with photos of some of his creations (like the one above) that I had an epiphany. Which occurred in between alternating states of rising respect for the success McQueen achieved in an astoundingly competitive and cut-throat world and utter amazement that anyone could take his work seriously.
It's art. The catwalk creations of stupendous proportions, like the one pictured above by McQueen, aren't fashion. These creations are art, and they happen to be being displayed in the fashion world. And art has its own rules and conventions. It has its appreciators, and its detractors. Art isn't intended to be practical, at least not always. Art isn't intended to be taken literally, at least not always. Art is its own thing. And what Alexander Lee McQueen created was art.
Really? That's the best explanation I can come up with. It doesn't make sense to me any other way. Because what makes something worthy of being "art" has a lot to do with who's doing the talking; it's subjective. It's in the eye of the beholder. What is confusing crap to me is inspired inventiveness to someone else. So when I look at the catwalk creations of designers like McQueen and try to make a connection to "real world" fashions, I can't do it. The only way I can appreciate the output of people like McQueen is to view it as art. And that makes it OK that I don't understand it. Art isn't always supposed to be understood, right? And it sure isn't meant to be worn picking up the kids from school. Right?