The Artsy Fart Trots Out Again

Blogging is a strange world at times. It isn't as if I haven't scribbled ideas for posts into the Drafts section of my dashboard, but more often than not, the draft never gets posted. And the thing that really made my fingers start itching to reach for the keyboard again today, was, of all things, a brochure for a UK law firm that wants to hire people from my campus- and the trigger wasn't anything in the brochure itself (lime green cover, lots of photographs of people who were surprisingly normal-looking- I knew I'd been reading too many fashion magazines), other than the information that their London offices contain paintings by David Hockney and Bridget Riley- both (especially the former) subjects of my adolescent art crushes. For about half an hour, I seriously considered applying to the place before realising that it'd look absolutely absurd if I get through their tests and then walk into an interview and tell the panel I want to work in their office because of what they use as wall decoration. Plus, my grades are crap.
Thanks to random art books lying around my parents' house (back when I lived in it as an actual occupant, rather than using it as a holiday pitstop) I know that David Hockney was part of the British Pop Art movement, but even though it does have more to it than Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, the people whose works Mr Hockney reminded me of most are René Magritte, Picasso and Paul Gauguin. I know it's an odd combination to be thinking of, I'm not even that big a fan of the latter (Gauguin), maybe I have a thing for huge, slightly flat-looking expanses of colour or just walked around assuming that Monsieur Magritte was having a bit of a giggle (faceless men in bowler hats! I ask you....incidentally, he also seems to be a bit of a law school favourite, possibly because we seem to have a collective image as snotty anonymous corporate lawyers who'd fit right into the suit, only minus the bowler hats. Though I honestly wouldn't mind a green apple or two to hide my face behind). And if I were to be honest, Andy Warhol is cool, but he isn't one of my artistic loves- sometimes it just feels a bit gimmicky, what he does, and even if Dali was equally show-offy in his lifetime his paintings are easier for me to connect to, if not always to get. I'm really useless at this art commentary stuff, so forgive me for sounding like I've spent too many sleepless nights inhaling chemicals
Pearblossom Highway, 1986
Skaters/Venice, 1981
A Bigger Splash, 1967- which bears at least a slight resemblance to
The Human Condition
And finally, my personal favourite Magritte- The Son of Man
Hockney image #2 from here, the rest from the My Pictures folder on my laptop- to be credited when I remember just where I got them from.


Edna, Yes. Me, No.

Sorry about the long absence from the blogverse, but the last week or so was full up to here with real life, which terminated this afternoon with yours truly in unravelling hair and shoelaces, staring rather dispiritedly at the toes of my trainers. I can't say the event that led to the aforementioned state wasn't a happy one, but its result is mildly depressing. For me, anyway. Bah...On the upside, I just remembered something I keep forgetting when faced with a computer screen, and it's odd that I took this long (eight months!)to recall it, because it isn't often that fashion gets to, not collide exactly, more like bump into, my other great love- bibliophilia.
For all the bitching that I've done about American Vogue in recent years, it's quite interesting to read about it from the point of view of the woman behind it. More so when the woman in question, Edna Woolman Chase, ran the operation for nearly four decades (1914-1954), and began working at the magazine before Condé Nast even acquired it. She doesn't go into a huge deal of detail about the clothes themselves, but I did find her insight on the whole models-versus-celebrities debate (they had those even in 1954, it seems) interesting, considering where the magazine in question is at now. And it isn't great literature but if I were born in the century before last it certainly is what I'd call a charming read: the general feel of it in places is a whole lot like sitting ramrod straight on a chintz sofa, wearing a hat with a veil and red lipstick, but the bits on how the war affected the French design firms did have me shivery in places, and it's hard not to when you hear of employees being drafted into the army- or alternatively, if they were Jewish, fleeing the country. Added to which, several of the firms closed down altogether- at the time of publication, Chanel had just about gotten back into business and Madame Woolman Chase was wondering if it'd work (a question I can smile at half a century later, given that this was before the launch of the 2.55 after all). And as far as a real-life tale goes I don't think they can get much more interesting than this, given that it was more or less narrating the way fashion evolved between the time she started working and her retirement (I found the parts about the 1920s and New Look aka Corolle, particularly engaging). Nicest of all (to an impecunious student, at least), the book turned up in a local secondhand bookstore, and it wasn't me but my roomie who bought it, minus a dust jacket but still pretty.
PS. I forgot to stick in the title...it was Always In Vogue, and she co-wrote it with her daughter (a couple of marriages and divorces also happen in the middle...quite scandalous for the early 20th-century, I'd have thought). And apologies for the overuse of parentheses.


A Study In Piv

Sasha Pivovarova, as seen on the cover of Vogue UK, September 2007
Sasha Pivovarova, as seen on the cover of Numéro, September 2007

It really doesn't need words, does it? Talk about contrasts..

Purple On The Follicles, Viole(n)t On The Brain.

Every so often (which isn't really all that often), I get the urge to do something completely daft, which for the most part won't get done because I'm just a chicken that way. Past cravings have included pink fishnet stockings (unfulfilled thanks to unavailability in my immediate vicinity), bizarre umbrellas (it's been pissing rain here for the better part of last week, though thankfully the last few days were clear), and writing posts in Ye Old Englishe (after the E on my keyboard went berserk one day- bloody job it was, going back and removing all the extra e's). And right now, it's purple hair.
I'm not quite sure just why now is the moment that I want to match my hair to my nail varnish - I've never dyed so much as a strand before. The stuff is black and tangled and shaggy* and of a completely indeterminate length and texture that requires me to twist it up and off my face if I don't want to spend my old age coughing up hairballs, and right now it is annoying me no end with its schizophrenic ways- nondescrepit one day, mad the next. And purple, I can say with some degree of confidence, really suits me- only I'm terrified of just what will happen to the texture of it once the dye goes in, and the last place I asked about it said they don't do colours other than shades of blonde, red and brown (and no offence to people whose hair is any one of those colours, I've always been fascinated by red hair thanks to The Little Mermaid and Shirley Manson but I'd rather slit my wrists than allow so much as a split end to turn any one of those colours- I have no desire to look like some bimbo Bollywood actress). Although I wouldn't mind if the red was a blazing crimson, but it's still purple I want, and a nice vivid shade of violet, no less. It will go nicely with my panda eyes. And I have a sneaky feeling that I should do it before I get out of college, because no real world job that I am likely to get will ever tolerate an employee with hair the colour of blackberry jam. Just as soon as I get the courage to actually do it....along with cutting the stuff to bob length or shorter because long purple hair would just look strange on me.
*picture Hermione Granger's hair as of the first Harry Potter film. It's a lot like that, only black. And it's mad entirely on its own- no teasing required!
PS. The girl in the picture is NOT me! The picture is purely illustrative..


More Randomness

This isn't really a fashion post (the last few haven't been either), but as far as I can tell, my nationality hasn't ever really been something I pay much attention to on this space, except for the occasional rant about the ineptitudes of Indian 'fashion gurus'. With the odd exception. But my wardrobe is completely devoid of traditional clothing, or even 'Indian-looking' clothes of most kinds (basically, kurtas a.k.a. those long loose tunics with slits up the sides). If I had to figure out just why I don't own/wear them, it would probably boil down to the fact that
a) They're long tops, mid-thigh on an average, and mostly made of extremely wrinkle-prone cotton. Why on earth would I want to spend the five minutes that are all that constitute my getting-ready-without- being-late-to- class time in the morning ironing a massive expanse of fabric that needs jeans worn underneath it? I'd understand taking the trouble for a dress, but dresses over jeans (which is how most college-age people here wear their kurtas - over jeans) aren't really my thing since the fact of having all that cloth flapping around my legs isn't all that happy a prospect. As for saris, they're lovely but too inconvenient to be worn on a daily basis - try winding six yards of cloth around yourself in pleats and moving around in it, you'll see what I mean.
The whole notion that ethnic clothes (Indian ones, that is) make girls look 'pretty'. I don't mind pretty, but hearing someone (female) make that observation and looking around my classroom on a day when most of the girls happened to be dressed that way- I couldn't help thinking about just how alike it made them all look- pretty all right, but entirely too demure for me ever to want to look that way. I could feel the change in my own appearance when I wore one, and it's almost like having a different personality forced over your head- not a personality I'm very comfortable with, either- it feels like the outfit's wearing me instead of the other way round.
c) It's probably all wrong in my head, but the number of times I have worn anything even vaguely ethnic-looking in my life can be counted on the fingers of two hands. I grew up between school uniforms (which consisted of shirts and pleated skirts) and street clothes inevitably consisted of t-shirts with jeans or skirts after I was too old to wear frocks- and in a lot of ways, my cupboard today isn't all that different from what it was five or even ten years ago, so is it really strange that after I was out of school I just kept on wearing the things I was used to?
I'm not quite sure what's bringing this on, but the fact remains that on my next-to-microscopic college campus (my college has a grand total of four hundred students) as well as in the community I come from in which minding your own business is a concept that doesn't exist, our sartorial choices are not things that escape comment. It isn't as if enough of us don't wear different things, but what I fail to understand is why someone else must see my choices as an aberration or an affront to his culture/concept of culture. Or even, seeing them that way (I can't change people's minds for them, can I?) what on earth gives them the right to say so?

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.