The reasons for starting a blog aren’t very lofty. Let’s face it. This isn’t the “Great American Novel.”
When I started my blog, I wrote down a few ideas that I wanted to mine to be about. Besides strictly “fashion.” The ideas I wrote down were: discovery, learning, trying things out, process, contradictions, complexity, and (obvi), daydreaming.
I have a strong grasp of production and the technical side of the industry but the one thing that brought me to fashion was daydreaming. It allowed me to think freely, abstractly, and naturally. And for me and a friend, that was the two of us in her basement at 3 am, dressed as male talk show hosts from the seventies, belting out the soundtrack from A Chorus Line (while recording every last minute of it for posterity). Not quite the same level as haute couture design, but I like to think it starts in the same place. Speaking of dressed up men from the seventies, I give you John Galliano:
These are just a few ways he used to “take a bow” at the end of his legendary runway shows. They were as anticipated almost as much as the show itself. Ever the prolific, genius-dreamer!
These exits are no more. Why? Hmmm… I don’t really want to go in to detail about it. I’ll leave the real examination to Cathryn Horyn. Let’s just say, for the sake of my blog that, aside from the pressure, subsequent addiction, and clandestine handheld recording devices, he “lost his daydreams.” Ooooh. That’s good. From now on, whenever I see a fashion “don’t” or get a parking ticket or bite into a mushy apple, I’m going to use that. “I just lost my daydreams.”
And there’s nothing like commerce, shareholders, and reality to suck the daydream right out of you and set you up for world of fashion trouble.
Yves St. Laurent: “God, when I first started I could work day and night, without stopping for food or rest. It was pure excitement. Now there is this incredible anguish and emptiness before every collection. Something new, something new, always something new. I work because I have to–not to make money but for the people who depend on me. If I don’t create the next collection and the collection after that, they will end up in the street.”
Do I need to even mention McQueen?
Galliano was producing up to 32 collections a year between House of Galliano and Dior. “As long as I could produce, it was fine.”
Ack! HOW ON EARTH DID HE DO THAT? Well, we know how he did it but still, HOW ON EARTH DID HE DO THAT?! And while we’re on the topic, what is the heck is in The Kaiser‘s water?
Galliano said in the Charlie Rose interview, “I couldn’t say ‘no’.”
That’s why I admire Isabel Toledo so much. We can learn a lot from her restraint/boundaries. She’s a designer’s designer who, for over twenty years has been able to create clothes that people want to wear. People like Michelle Obama on Inauguration Day in 2009. She’s maintained not only an artistic vision, but one that requires an understanding of technical design. Despite being a top designer, she’s an outspoken opponent of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act, feeling that her designs are no more important than any other designer’s out there. In fact, she’s designed a shoe line for Payless. She’s also quite the showman herself, often landing on Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed list with her husband and collaborator, the artist, Ruben Toledo. Did I talk about the FIT show and corresponding book about her or one she recently wrote?
Perhaps the smartest and most measured choice she’s made is to only show collections when she can. This, of course, is hard when Bernard Arnault is breathing down your neck but it’s testament to knowing herself and what you’re capable of and what makes you happy. You don’t need to be a rock star to make clothes.
In the July Vanity Fair article about Galliano, Anna Wintour said, “We need the dreamers. We need those designers who create a magic moment, a world that changes the way you look at clothes.” Cherish your daydreaming because this is when you play. Develop techniques to cultivate your dreams so that you can do it effortlessly. I know of a blog that can help.