PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS UNFORTUNATELY (BUT MOST DEFINITELY) NOT BEING A FASHION DESIGNER PAST FIFTY.
At the eve of #Artissima’s press conference at Turin airport, I proposed to Melina, who dresses Sarah, and with whom I was then friends to do an exclusive text for every piece in Melina’s upcoming #winter #fashion #collection. She loved the idea and I started writing the first text.
You can read the text below.
My interest in a fashion designer was to prove that when the director of Artissima drastically changes her way to dress, then such an effect, if written about and documented is more of an artwork than the so-called ‘art’ that the director of an art fair would conjure up from participating commercial galleries, or even curators on respective payrolls; for the artworks shown and offered for sale are already dead, whereas a woman drastically changed in her choice of wardrobe is Living Art.
It was therefore to my disillusionment that I came to realize of late that a lowly fashion designer would cower when faced with the media machine of a commercial art fair, and go back to filling her space as a mere fashion designer, and do so in extreme self imposed silence.
We can and should all be doing art. Most of us however would just want to disappear in the crowd. Most, except someone like me who does not accept that the art world keeps on turning fun lovingly as inequality and injustice keep piling up around the world.
I will keep at it, one text at a time, till I make a difference, or die trying. That is all I can hope to achieve:
This first text I’ve written therefore, for Melina —which she loved, by the way, without being able to believe she could ever do art — would therefore sadly end up also being the last I would do her. Sad, and true:
As she made the turn to go in Via Lagrange, just as the dress filled up again with the cool morning breeze, Melina could not help but feel apprehension build up inside her with every step that took her closer to Hotel Vittoria, and Sarah who was waiting for her in room 507.
Melina knew she would not have the courage to go to Sarah’s room. She had it all planned out: she would leave the dress with the concierge and get the hell out of there as fast as she could, and never look back; not on this day.
Although deep down she knew she was a true and good fashion designer, she also knew that in the cutthroat business, there was no place for someone ‘good enough’ and only the very best would live long enough to make a name for themselves. In point of fact, the very day prior to this one, as she helped Sarah unpack all her wardrobe in her hotel room, Sarah nonchalantly unzipped a Lanvin bag and drew a dress about which she wanted Melina’s opinion. But as Sarah drew the dress out and laid it on the bed, it felt to Melina as a slap across the face; a gauntlet thrown at her feet, one that she felt she’d never ever have the courage to pick up. The pink and beige volant dress was the most beautiful thing she ever saw in that newly reinvented life of hers.
Melina stomached the blow and went to her seamstress to check up on the progress of the dress that Sarah was meant to wear the next day for the opening of the soon to be launched Artissima. It was November 2013, and Melina had met Sarah a few months prior thanks to the brilliant of a friend who thought it would be great that Melina made made to measure designer dresses for many the women working in the art world. Sarah was the first one on the list. They had already become friends, but this changed nothing about the fact that the dress Sarah had to wear at the opening should be a head turner beyond any shadow of self loathing self doubt.
That afternoon with the seamstress turned into knight, with a midnight dinner as Melina could only go home with a perfect dress.
As she arrived at the concierge desk, her heart was definitely beating a little too fast for her usual composure. Still she made sure the dress was on its way to Sarah’s room, and the elevators closed on the bell boy and her newborn, she walked out of the hotel, and tried put as much distance as she could between her and the place, with the insane hope that she might quickly be out of reach, in some magical way.
Predictably enough, cellphones towers of Telecom Italia relayed Sarah’s call with heartless precision right to her purse. As her cellphone rang Melina half-expected the worse. Nothing of the sort followed; Sarah loved the dress and needed her helped to put it on.
As the opening night unfolded, Melina felt she may have overshot her initial design to make head turns, as the dress got more compliments than their wearer, but Melina knew as well that her coming in the morning to Sarah’s hotel room would go on to become a cherished tradition for them both, year after year for every opening of Artissima.
The ‘Sarah One’ was born.»
An orphan text for a dress was therefore born some days ago, sadly though as I witnessed the fashion designer slowly turning into ether, right in front of my very eyes, as she was pressed for a little more than just making dresses.
Sad but true, indeed.