A WEEK WITHOUT SHOPPING, or….IS FASHION ART?

by admin on July 13, 2011

african mask

esme has been congratulating herself for having survived over a week without making a single (fashion) purchase.  not even a sock!  for most people this would not be something to boast about, but you see how things have gotten around here…..the best thing is, esme spent a non-buying week and yet managed to tap a wealthy vein of ideas for her blog!  this is not to say that she didn’t SHOP;  she just didn’t buy.  and, she sublimated her shopping instinct into attending to culture in the form of bach festival rehearsals.

then she got to thinking.  does this mean that shopping is not a cultural experience?   who is to say that an in-depth browse through sylvie is less artistically fulfilling than a concert?  when esme was in new haven, lo these many years ago, she took the most fantastic course on african art. it was taught by robert f. thompson, who has gone on to write several books and is currently the master of one of yale’s colleges.  dr. thompson reminds esme a lot of the new bach festival conductor—one of those charismatic folks who positively dance upon the stage and can make the most esoteric subject/piece come to life!

what esme recalls most about the course was the idea that certain visual/aural themes run throughout african art and culture.  for instance, he related the repeating designs of african kente cloth to the rhythms of music and dance.  thus, fabric = art = culture!  voila!  clothing = art!  shopping = culture!   well, esme may be stretching this just a teensy tinesy bit, but….you get the idea.

african-inspired fashion

here’s the thing.  just as a musical phrase “speaks” to us, so does a beautiful outfit (or a beautiful person).  esme found herself staring after a woman in a gorgeous outfit (simple tan pants, light brown suede jacket, tan sandals, brown straw hat) who was walking along the sidewalk the other day.  but wait, she wanted to say, as she tried to take in what made the outfit compelling.  the experience was like trying to recall a forgotten musical phrase;  a grasping for something just out of reach.  after all, “what can be explained…..is not…..poetry”!

oh my!  you see what happens when i don’t shop??

esme

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