We live in many different worlds. For example, there is the world we are using right now, “the online world,” and there is also the world we like talking about on this blog, “the fashion world.” There is the art world, the culinary world, the sporting world, the uber luxury world, the music world, and as many other worlds out there that interest you. And beyond the classifications of these ‘interest’ worlds, the factors of space and time extend to different countries and epochs. And within these place-changing and time-traveling worlds there lies a pyramid of who lives where, a sort of Where’s Waldo? of who’s who (or my personal favorite: Where’s Karl?), starting at a large base of the merely interested and pinnacled by the life-devotees who dedicate themselves to the maintenance and rejuvination of these worlds. The inhabitants of these so-called worlds each share the common desire of wanting to be taken seriously.
In many ways, the art world is very similar to the fashion world. I would say that fashion is a kind of art and so fits into the art world too but in the traditional definition of painting, sculpture, and drawing, the art world resides in a different (but nearby) galaxy. Grayson Perry is a prominent artist of our time, a pyramid-topping member of 35 years in the art world, a self-described transvestite, potter, and author of, “Playing to the Gallery,” a book that I have been reading the past couple of days in Amsterdam, which focuses on entering and “getting” the art world.
Perry’s art looks like this:
His book illustrations detailing the nature of the art world look like this:
As Perry brings up in his book, people like to shop. People like to shop for clothes and people like to shop for art. Some part of each of us walks around in museums picking out which priceless work of art we would like to buy (in the imaginary “Wouldn’t that be great above the bed?” sense, of course). If you frequent galleries, you develop ways to amuse yourself by testing your art judgment to pick your favorite. Did you choose the masterpiece? Or did you find something else no one but the curators of the museum have yet discovered?
In Amsterdam, it is almost as if I shopped directly from the galleries of Rembrandt and Vermeer themselves. From Rembrandt’s paintings, boasting “best of all-time” accolades, stare elderly 16th century men, each wearing a different variation of a honeycomb ruff around his neck. And I stare back in my ruff, a Junya Wantanabe (Japanese designer) Comme des Garçons take on the centuries-old Dutch favorite. Me in Amsterdam, a young fashion blogger, in one of the most historic cities, walking through the 16th century galleries of the Rijksmuseum and Rembrandt House, and seeing the powerful traders of the old world Dutch nobility in similar dress to me in my Comme des Garçons, begins to outline and color in how these worlds work. They stretch from century to century, reinvented in both, play off of each other, and redefine for a new and young audience, on the streets of the most liberal city in the world. Junya Watanabe is a designer who fascinates me and surprises me season to season. He is a designer who, although he represents one of the most sought after, cool, and high-end houses of our time, captures the elusive allure of “in-the-know.” My jacket is seen by its stitched detailing, vibrant color, beautiful fabric, and glorious ruff as “cool” by anyone who sees it and as an artist’s work in the eyes of the fashion world. And as I spend the rest of my week kicking off the New Year in Amsterdam, my world is expanding too.
My Look: Junya Wantanabe Comme des Garçons jacket, Zara culottes, Ralph Lauren socks, and TopShop zipper shoes