Standing in front of Vivienne Westwood’s ginger pubic hair yesterday at ICA’s Juergen Teller Woo! show, I had a conversation I’ve had more than any other: Fashion can be so great; Why does everyone think we’re dumb; How can we develop an intellectual discourse on fashion that doesn’t compromise its pleasure principle; Where have all the cowboys gone?
This is a conversation I’ve had both in writing and IRL, though these days it’s mostly IRL because I’d rather try to practice what I preach, to write about fashion the way I want to read about fashion. The IRL conversations, though, reassure me that I’m not alone. And so I keep working.
Right now, I’m working on three small essays, some further along than others, for Bullett Fashion: one is on the accelerated pace of the fashion calendar (we’re racing towards certain death); one is on the personal psychology of consumerism (I quit, Buddhist style, buying anything related to my appearance for nearly 3 months; thought it would be hard; turned out to be really, really easy); and the last is on the ethics of fashion (a how-to guide for smart consumers who love beautiful things but don’t want to decimate the earth or others by their consumption). These are simmering, as they should. I’m trying to not let the pace of fashion dictate that they absolutely get done for ‘x’ season’s launch, or whatever other deadline.
As these pieces develop, and as I try to read everything and anything not related to fashion, may I recommend, for you smart fashion readers (Hi! Thanks for reading!), another column: from AnOther Magazine, Donatien Grau’s An Intellectual Fashion. I’ve recommended this before but I’m doing it again because it deserves repeating. Donatien Grau interviews people directly within the fashion world and some just stylish folks. He has a few standard questions and some specific to the subject. All are intended to incite an intellectual (!) discussion of fashion. I’ve been less crazy about his subjects of late so I’d say start back in the archives. His talks with Marina Abramović, Hussein Chalayan, Valerie Steele, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Glenn O’Brien, and Iké Udé are especially fruitful.