Wednesday, May 9, 2012

So what do I really think of Gaultier? -- Day 122

Walk: R/T Yoga Tree Hayes 
Distance: 4 Miles and Yoga Class

So, after all those days of posting about JP Gaultier, you probably think I love his clothes.  Not so.  I'm impressed with his torrent of genius, the quality of his workers' craftsmanship and fabrications are superb, and the people who created the actual exhibition were outstanding.  But, like the clothes?, no, actually Gaultier's fashions disturb me.

For one thing they are not wearable, and this seems a terrible waste of eyes, fingers, backs (and all that the term 'man hours' constitutes) as well as materials.  A large percentage of what was on display at the exhibition apparently was never worn - and is basically unwearable - and has stayed in storage since its creation.  There is something weird to me about this - like a manic child with rich parents who can just demand and command from minions grand and original toys.

Then there is the breaking down of centuries - or milleniums - of human and natural history.  By this I mean Scottish tartans in sequins, or punks with shell codpieces standing in front of an Indian deity - as if tartans, which are emblematic of so much Scottish history, are now just sparkly garments, and beautiful shells, which once were important currency to many ancient civilizations, and Hindu gods are now just accoutrements to skinhead outfits.

Yes, this is where we are now.  Media, commercial monetary ascendency and other ingredients in the stew of modern times has allowed us to break down virtually all barriers - national, sexual and spiritual included.  And yes, JP Gaultier has every right to run with this new freedom.  And certainly he does it with more respect than Ralph Lauren who just picks up on something like the Plains Indian and turns that entire culture into tee shirts or tea towels.

But the fact that the barriers are down doesn't mean that we are all living comfortably with their absence.  Or even that we quite comprehend its implications.  Something seems wrong at a visceral level with just saying "Yippee none of that matters any more!" about the way our planet and the people on it have evolved over time.  The ocean is for mariners in cute clothes, the fish are mermaids in sequins, the mail worn over centuries of fighting looks great as corsets and camouflage clothes look terrific in sequins.  Movies can shape shift easily but people with souls are much more tender - or at least I am.

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