I recently watched Bill Cunningham New York and found his childlike-giddiness toward his art and documenting, even after decades of the same work, to be deeply inspiring. The simplicity and clarity with which he approaches his craft allows him to continue to plow forward with this ever-keen, spot-on observations of the the fashion world, and how that plays out daily on the "real" streets. Yet he also brings a deeply cerebral, humane approach to a field that is so often seen as frivolous and esoteric. I paused it to write down these poignant words: "The wider world...perceives fashion as sometimes a frivolity that should be done away with in the face of social upheavals and problems that are enormous; the point is, in fact, that fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don't think you could do away with it. It would be like to do away with civilization." —Bill Cunningham in Bill Cunningham New York
I spent my Sunday afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum and meandered my way (albeit squeezing my way through any slight gap that would open up between people) through the Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibit. It offers interesting juxtapositions of their works, overlayed by their conversations about their approach to their work, their processes and influences, and their debate over whether fashion design is art. While their designs are unattainable for the common-folk, I did especially like this quote by Prada:
"What I love about fashion is its accessibility and its democracy. Everyone wears it, and everyone relates to it." —Prada
I love the idea that fashion touches everyone. Rich or poor, everyone wakes up to put clothes on each day and those choices are made within a certain cultural, demographic, geographic context and they say something, whether they're meant to or not. They are a reflection of every cultural context around you. Even if one is "rebelling" with their clothes it is still communicating something, and rebelling against a certain time/culture/norm—and that still places it in a certain time and place! What a powerful cultural medium.