Friday, October 16, 2009
Standing taller than her, looking down her forehead while holding her close, her face becomes a landscape. I can see the lovely shape of her eyebrows, and the delicate rise of her upper eyelids, the fanned elongation of her eyelashes, the peak of her nose, and the flowering of her lips that fades to the valley of her neck just past the curve of her chin. In love with Tako more than ever, I hold her close and keep staring. She looks up, and I melt.
The interstitial space between the fabric and the woman is the essence of drape. In cutting a dress, you construct this space and nothing more. The rest is decoration.
Faint, faint, if any
Said Vreeland to her assistant.
Watching a woman walk is to evaluate the placement of potential drape. How much swing, and where are the points off which to hang the cavalcade? When she stops walking, how will it settle? When she stands, with one hip slightly higher than the other, the interstitial space should feel expressly manifest as a static form as well as ripe with the potential for the polymorphism of movement.
As King Lear said, "Ripeness is all."
Speeding at night towards an unmoving deer that has been stunned by your headlights, you can sense this ripeness for movement. The deer will jump, but which way?
Ballast in a boat provides stability but can decrease your speed. There is a perfect weight for optimal speed and maneuverability. Ballast in taste is a lightweight affair, but it needs to be there. How much baggage do you bring with you to ensure your judgement is meaningful, and how much baggage is just too much extra weight, slowing you down and causing you to make long wide turns? With no ballast at all, you just skip across the top, but can easily flip and sink.
Why does anyone care about clothes? There is no larger meaning to apparel, but there are limitless smaller ones.
Back on the street, watching a figure walk towards you, calculating the length of her stride and the off-set tilting of her hips, so that a traveling ellipse could be created in space that wobbles to the side as it tracks the peaks of her hips, pivoting on a disembodied sacrum that moves forward with each step, and slides slightly to each side when it pivots, so that it sea-saws like the profile view of a canoe travelling over rolling waves of river water; you can sense a virtual representation of this particular woman's style ballast. She carries it in her hips. She dips it side to side while moving it forward. Tracing the path of this virtual flow would yield a graceful wake of movement, like when you drag a gentle finger zig-zagging through the icing on a cake.
I cut clothes in my mind. Is this unreasonable? I doubt I'll stop thinking about drape, about the interstitial space, or about the tracking of someone's style ballast.
Watching someone sitting there, I often imagine the slight adjustments I might make to their shirt or trousers. Often it is a small change, such as raising the shoulder break, or more usually a shoulder strap, by just one or two centimeters. Sometimes it is a larger change, but for that I have to imagine something of his or her frame, such as the line of the clavicles, so that my hopes for an alteration are based on something essential about that particular body. But mostly, alterations are just after-thoughts, easy things to do in your mind when you glance over in someone's direction but don't wish to have a conversation. A harder thing is to design from scratch. Everything else is wordplay.
Calling out after her as she walks down the hall, not because you have anything more to say, but only for the reason that if you call with just the right tone in your voice, she will half-turn back towards you while continuing to walk forward, and this elongated twist, this sloping S-curve that not only rocks forward and back, but also right to left, is the essence of all sculpture - she is moving in space, but connected back to you. She coming and going, locked in, yet leaving, a part of the current moment, and moving toward something else. The transition of the figure is the teleos of drape.
Where were we when we first realized that we were on the edge of no longer being very young, and then that edge extended, and kept broadening, and then started to slip away in an asymptotic gloaming? Youth is everlasting only as a constant glimmering fade.
Near the surface of the water, the trout flashes its silver body and shakes free the hook. In the boat, we reel in the line, and re-bait the hook.
Is there any more compelling argument for the existence of poetics than the natural body of a woman? What is more beautiful? What is more elegant or more hypnotic? Watching the woman you love look over at you and smile is to draw an invisible chord between the ends of the arc that starts in her mind and ends somewhere deep within your chest - at a location that is near your perceived center of gravity, somewhere between your gut and your heart.
How high should the armhole ride on a woman's blouse? If it is too high, it can bind and cause difficult pulling across the front panels. If it is too low, the entire torso lacks any will to exist. The answer seems to be to place the armhole as high as you can without looking like you are trying too hard to get it there. The armhole should feel unforced, but also superior - just a little higher than normal - and just a little bit better placed - but not in a way that calls attention to itself. The woman will simply look better and no one knows why. Her arms are just a little more elegantly connected than expected, due to the subtle placement of the armhole.
When is it best to show your neck and when is it best to hide it? The elongated neck of a woman is the twisting tree trunk of beauty. It rises from her bosom and extends to her eyes before being carried by her hair to the atmosphere. If her hair is down, the neck curves around in the shadows, if her hair is up, it is both brave and vulnerable. An exposed neck should be worn fearlessly - delicately, elegantly, but fearlessly.