I think I think too much about clothes — mine, yours, his, hers, theirs, whoever’s. Because really? I think an awful lot about them. Like, an AWRFUL lot. Thing is, when the world is being beautiful, I don’t want to be a blight on it and when the world is being unbeautiful, I don’t want to add to the ick, so I end up thinking a lot about my clothes. And in my thinking, I also think this: I think style is an act of generosity. I think fashion is just merchandising. I think one is qualitatively superior to the other, by a lot, and in my mind it’s clear that the superior one is style.
Fashion’s just a financial transaction. It’s going and buying what you see other people wearing and wearing it in much the same way as they’re wearing it, which is probably in much the way shop windows and magazines dictate it be worn. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, I do plenty of it myself, but it’s … boring. A ton of the “street style” stuff you see in alternative newspapers or in magazines or on blogs is misnamed, in my view. Because the overwhelming majority of what is being worn in those photographs is just chain-store gear being worn in pretty much the way the chain-store tells you to wear it — it’s street fashion, not street style. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve got NOTHING against chain stores; I shop at plenty myself. But I really like it when I can wear my clothes so they express something about me, something beyond, “Hey, I shop at H&M.” Because, actually, the thing about style is that it isn’t necessarily about your clothing’s provenance. One-off pieces are fab; I love them, very much. But style is a tributary of the great river imagination and if you swim in that river, you know how to take a piece of clothing and wear it in a way that imbues it with the youness of you. Which is why I think style is generosity. Whenever you’re willing to put yourself out there a bit — to stand out in a crowd — you’re saying something above and beyond “I went to the mall today” about yourself. Style is personal. Fashion? Not so much.
All of that being said, I’ll cop to the fact that I’m pretty yummed-up by extremists, when it comes to clothing. Great sartorial oddity makes me very happy, I guess because it’s so personal and really kind of brave, not unlike art-making. In both cases you express something about yourself, expose something about yourself, and so make yourself vulnerable. It’s moving and shiver-making and exhilarating —and sometimes scary — to engage that way — for sure when you’re the person offering that piece of yourself up but maybe even when you’re the person on the receiving end, because it can be disquieting to be confronted with oddity. Ultimately, I very much like the kind of risk-taking, the kind of unguardedness, the kind of generosity, that people who sing a song of themselves offer up to the rest of us. I very much like to look upon people who have a point-of-view and and who look like they have a point-of-view.
Louise Lecavalier performing with Carole Laure in Laure’s video for the song “Danse Avant de Tomber”: