Fashion/ Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Couture Culture

On rainy afternoons, when raindrops trickle into the rivers that run along the windowpane, and we fear we will never see the sun again, I turn to fashion. Tearing open my wardrobe with the lunacy of a surrealist painter, I place pieces together: a blue-and-white button-down shirt, a satin forest-green maxi skirt, brown boots, and bug-eyed tortoiseshell sunglasses. After some time composing and re-composing such looks, I flick through my Vogue collection, acting as both the editor and the intern in my mind, critiquing the editorials that sprawl the pages, and learning everything from them.  

I repeat this routine often. The truth is it’s not just on rainy afternoons that I find fashion calling my name: it’s on sunny mornings and quiet evenings, too. Upon waking, I think about that day’s theme (life is a costume party – everyone knows that). Over martinis (which do fit, somewhat uncomfortably, into a student budget), my friends and I intellectualise about what makes an item cool, classy, or chic, long into the night. I work unpaid as a stylist for my flatmates. When all else fails, when boredom hits or inspiration strikes, I turn to fashion.  

Fashion is design, architecture, composition, movement, and expression all at once

 Some would say this is a vapid existence, like plastic grass in a botanical garden – superficial, meaningless, lazy. To say that fashion occupies any corner of one’s mind is to admit that one’s skull is far bigger than one’s brain, and in the empty space, fashion has crept in and set up camp.  

Of course, individuals who harbour such beliefs fail to realise that in doing so, they are holding up a neon sign that says that they are close-minded, unartistic, and, quite frankly, boring.  

Fashion is design, architecture, composition, movement, and expression all at once. Blair Waldorf said as much. Artistically speaking, it is extraordinary, and its extraordinariness arguably lies in its ordinary potential – it is the only art form we interact with daily.  

 Knowing your Rembrandts from your Renoirs might be the type of intellectual pursuit that those nose-in-the-air individuals admire. But, unless you are Rembrandt or Renoir, which is, of course, not the case, then passively engaging with their artwork in faraway art galleries can seem a little uninspiring. The same goes for music. While most of us depend on our Spotify subscriptions to get through the day, fewer write our own music. The scarcity of talent in creating these art forms might be where they generate their value, but inaccessibility is where the fun is removed.    

 That all changes with fashion. We each possess private collections, open new exhibitions (try-on hauls for friends), and loan pieces to the collections of others (lending your flatmate a going-out top). We are freed from the shackles of admiring the art of others and invited to experiment and engage with art ourselves. While those invitations might not extend to front-row tickets to Fashion Week, our daily interaction with the medium is enough to place fashion on a well-deserved artistic pedestal.  

It is with this in mind that I introduce my Boar Lifestyle column. While style is personal to us all: an expression of our character, a tapestry of who we are that documents our intimate fancies about who we would like to be, extending into the unknown of who we will be, style can be studied. Not so much learnt, but intimately understood.  

 In profiling everyone from supermodels to actresses, rockstars and designers, I shall unravel the tapestries of those so-called ‘style icons,’ taking you on a process to understand how they reached the heights of fashion deification, unlocking the rich artistry that is threaded through the fashion world. Whether you know your archival Mugler from your ready-to-wear Harris Reed or not, take my hand, and let’s begin.  



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