Friday, 24 September 2010

Philosophical Fridays with the Vintage Vulture

Hello vintage fans. Amongst all the frantic typing, flyer-dispensing and flour in hair going down at Judy HQ, I thought that i'd take a moment to digress from bigging-up this weekend's fairs [their going to be excellent, duh!] to tell you a little tale about a squid, a whale and Calvin Klein [Jude and Sam over at Vintage HQ, I assure you that i haven't lost the plot and I am not in need of a speedy sectioning for hallucinating about sea-creatures in designer gear whilst running around my lounge in a scuba mask - my story is relevant. To a degree.]

Having the rather bourgeois privelege of a projector in my house, me and three others settled down on Wednesday to watch Wes Anderson-produced and Baumbach-created 'The Squid and The Whale' ['there's two out of the three,' i hear you murmuring, 'but where on EARTH does Calvin Klein fit in?' Be patient dear reader and follow me further down the rabbit hole for all will be revealed...] A fan of all things maritime, [I own many a stripy vest and once got so over-excited in Barcelona Aquarium that a grazed knee in a kids submarine lead to blood all over the floor and the mother of all carpet burns] I was intrigued as to what 'The Squid and the Whale' would bring; was i to expect the lip-biting scenes and Bowie-acapella of 'The Life Aquatic' or was this to be more all-out war with horrific graphics a la 'Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus' [a stickler for fact, upon seeing this film i turned to my FiloFax to confirm that no shark, no matter what size, could rocket from the sea and bite a plane into pieces. Not even Jaws on steroids could defy gravity to this degree.] I digress, but as the film unfolded serenaded by Lou Reed and Bert Jansch, I soon learnt that it was none of the above.

Brooklyn based and set in the eighties, the film depicted a view through threaded fingers of one seemingly average family's closet and the skeletons within. Not veering to extremes [rest assured, there were no ACTUAL skeletons in the closet] the feuding foursome depicted all the typical Freudian pitfalls families face - disappointment, boredom, an inability to communicate, the difficulties of divorce and the fall from grace of those we idolise. Although dark in places, the films mantra was sunnier than expected, culminating in being able to see ourselves for who we are in all of our flawed brilliance, of taking the skeleton by the hand and asking it to dance. Bizaarely enough, as the credits rolled on to 'Street Hassle' by Lou Reed, i got to thinking about fashion [just like a shark, i too tend to move in circles and so it wouldn't be long before i alighted at the fash-stop - the film's setting in 1986 New York and Jeff Daniel's mighty beard alone were enough to get the couture-cogs a-turnin']

Like many other vintage fans, I have a certain flair for the eccentric and the occasionally horrific - Disney paraphenalia that doesn't fit properly, double denim [although that was de rigeur for a time] shirts in ridiculous prints. Heck, i even bought a hawaiian shirt over Summer without even a HINT of irony. As a vintage fan, there comes a certain frisson of excitement in knowing that you are going against the grain when wearing certain outfits, on the perpheries of what the glossies and some fashion fans find acceptable. It adds a fire underfoot, a spring in your step [even if it does mean avoiding certain reflective surfaces to see what a state you're in] Dismissing a trend or ignoring the highstreet goes hand in hand with a relief that writer and all-round Academic Jeff Daniels higlights in the film - of not having to "read all the worst books by the best writers." 1 - 0 to the vintage fans.

That said, all-round wise guy and intellectual Jeff Daniels, it turns out, hasn't actually read any of the books he is so opinionated about. Perhaps it was this sentiment that lead me to thinking of fashion; in an industry that is so incredibly fickle yet prides itself so much on having a hierarchy of thumbs up and faux pas, why do we have so much faith? Don't get me wrong, dear readers, i'm not telling you to disband from your various scenes and subcultures. I, too, without my hairbrush and brogues would be wherefore-art-though-romeo-ing from my tower. For many of us, to belong is to be and that's what makes fashion as lucrative as it is today. My point is, read what you want, wear what you want. For example, i have a dark green snoopy jumper [sure to be a guest-star in upcoming posts so keep the eyes peeled] depicting the little critter saying 'I'm having a very bad hair day.' The reason i bought this, dear readers, is not because it was deliciously indie [well, maybe a tad but such is the follie of youth] nor because it was 'ironic' [although neater now, my hair has been compared to a birds nest, a pinecone, and a drawing by a small child with eyes closed.] I bought it because i liked it and thought, why not?

Perhaps this post was prompted by going out into the field and meeting all the freshers [lovely people by the by. I was way more obnoxious!] In these next few weeks as friendships are formed, loans are depleted and scenes are set, just remember, buy what you want. And, in the eventuality that you find yourself decked out in batwings, eyeliner, PVC and an ungodly amount of glitter and you look back on it in a year's time as a serious and seasoned sophomore, remember to crack a smile. Fashion is funny and at least you gave it a go! To bring in my tedious link of the week, creative director for Calvin Klein, Francisco Costa explained his minimal womenswear collection at NY Fashion Week as "a canvas for the women that wear them and not the other way round." Although not the most complex or the most flattering, the pieces succeded in their mission to let their wearer radiate [some sandals even had translucent heels, making the women literally elevate like they were walking on air.]

For all those intrigued by this article, come on down to the Fairs this week in Sheffield, Notts and Leeds as you never know when inspiration may strike. For the rest of you, i've included a link to the Lou Reed ditty from the film as a soundtrack to the weekend....

Right, it's Friday. Let's go lose these brain cells. Cultural vintage vulture out. xvx

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