Party’s Over. I used to not celebrate my birthday at all, but now I had ONE FULL WEEK of crazy and intimate birthday celebrations, spent with some of the special-est (and not-so-special) friends and the family. Little surprises that happened this year during my week-long birthday celebration: a sweet stranger at Spadina station uttered the most sincere “Happy Birthday” I have ever heard and I have ever received from anyone; a live jazz band sang the “Happy Birthday” song to me, upon my friends’ request; and…me going dancing with the awesomest group of girls. The week-long celebration ended with a quiet sushi dinner (literally) with the family on Sunday (June 3rd).
I felt extremely grateful and happy and (insert cheesy adjectives that I don’t want to use) because for the first time ever, I felt that there are human beings who sincerely wanted to celebrate my birth/birthday with me. Also, for the first time ever, I felt satisfied because I was able to celebrate my birthday with all the people that I wanted to celebrate it with, albeit in separate days.
I’m a generational anomaly in that I first glimpsed the erotic body not in images (Maxim, Wet Hot American Summer, nipples on Fashion Television), but in text. We did not have cable, nor were we allowed to watch movies rated so much as PG-13, and my father, swear on His Father, never once had porn in the house. But I had a library card and an imagination, and in the stacks of adult romance I’d hide and seek and read, and read and read and read, until a sneaking wetness told me I understood.
I stopped being an avid visitor/reader of the website The New Inquiry, ever since I read this article about them/their club on The New York Times (personal reasons — don’t ask). However, a writer — whom I am guiltily obsessed with — wrote an essay for them recently (my favourite excerpt, above), so of course, I read it. And even though the subject of the essay is something that I am not particularly interested in, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s the way this writer uses her words, I think, and the rhythm in her sentences that kept me reading. Her ideas, too (for this essay, as well as in general), are really interesting.
Sleep before 3 AM. Drink more water and tea (and milk?), and less coffee/sugary drinks. Always be on time. Buy only the essentials (except for magazines, books, publications). Document (take pictures, write). Unplug from technology when not needed. Intern, volunteer. Do more. Quiet time: 5 minutes everyday. Be interested in people. Read my course readings on time. Start essays one week before they are due. Avoid using the word “hate.” Type all my words and sentences properly. Read slowly: understand every word/phrase/sentence. Don’t dismiss (writer’s) thoughts. Create something. Anything. And actually show it to people.
“Gentle” may not be the most fashionable adjective in the intense, often harsh fashion world. Dries Van Noten, though is an exception: he, and his clothes, are most definitely gentle. Cacophony is not his thing. The subtle blend of romanticism, exoticism and eccentricity that exudes from any piece of clothing with his label on it; the cozy atmosphere of his eclectic shops, conceived not as temples but as houses or bazaars; the dreamy air of his shows, which are forays into a parallel dimension of pure, multi sensory joy: all of this comes from someone who expresses himself in whispers rather than shouts. “There is so much of myself as a person in the things I create, it’s almost scary,” he says with a laugh. “Sometimes I feel like I am baring it all in front of the audience.” The serene flow of his speech is accented by a piercing Belgian “r”. When he talks, he looks straight into my eyes. This is the first time I have met the famously reserved Van Noten in person, and it is the man, not the designer, who I hope to get to know.
I like designers that have a vision/a concept that runs through their collections. This just means that they’re not the type who puts out collections simply because: “It’s another season, and we have to make money!” Or they’re not the type of designers who create a collection and calls it their “own” when it was obviously ripped off from someone else’s vision/it’s a season trend (e.g. Remember when Phoebe Philo went all minimalist for Celine, and every single trendy fashion designer followed suit? Yeah, right?).
This is why I am a big fan of Olivier Theyskens. He has had conceptually-sound, cohesive, and well-thought out collections since the start. The vibe of his collection, the proportions of his clothes, even *that* camera angle of his runway looks is becoming quintessential Theyskens’ Theory. Despite the consistent look in his collections though, the clothes are not repetitive — unlike Christophe Decarnin’s Balmaincollections where that same glam-rock silhouette of the blazer (with the sharp shoulders), tight pants, a top + boots was repeatedly used. Yes, it was a hit during the first season, but he kept on doing it and doing it and doing it and doing it…It’s like watching a movie that just loops and loops, and you’re like, “When will this END?!?!” Thank goodness he got replaced. He had an initial vision, but I think he got stuck in a rut, and failed to move on.
Olivier Theysken’s for Theyskens’ Theory has just started. I just hope Olivier doesn’t get stuck in a rut. From what I see though, I’m pretty sure he won’t.