Sunday’s are for preparing for the week ahead. We’re getting ready for another week of the grind. Some people paint their nails and clean their rooms. But I’m planning on reinventing myself for the summer. Nothing dramatic. Probably a lot of black. A colour that’s lost some of it’s authority. Is all black passé?
This years Met Gala is all about Catholicism, so it seems fitting to revisit a few fashion moments. Lest we forget the divine law, that black is forever chic and timeless.
So let me tell you about this complete lie that black is over.
1. The Bra
When I think about wearing black, I think about the iconic moments that nourished me in my youth. I think about the black bra in the coming of age film The Graduate. A lacy black bra. This milf wears it to seduce a young Dustin Hoffman. An ambition I never understood. But the point is Ann Bancroft is the original milf. She was a beauty with an edge, and that edge was her sharp tongue. There is nothing like beautiful woman that fills the screen all bedroom eyes and a deep chesty cackle.
In 1981 Rei Kawakubo presented her first collection in Paris. It was titled lace and she sent out models in jumpers with holes. Lace by definition is a fabric with decorative holes, this is achieved in a number of ways but for Rei it was a broken knitting machine that achieved the look. It evokes the surrealist tradition of automatic art, ink blots and bizarre combinations; while poking holes in the victorian associations we have with the fabric. It wasn’t about the colour black, but that’s what the colour does well. What we remember is Rei’s clever play on words not the colour, not the clothes even. Black is the colour of ideas, it is the colour of language.
3. Brides and Widows
Yohji Yamamoto’s spring 1999 collection is one of the greatest fashion moments. It was the simplicity of the collection that stayed with me. Weddings, tradition, androgyny, the black and the white. He said he wanted to appeal to youth and I guess one tradition that seems to stay with us is a white wedding dress and a black suit. Our most romantic memories are monochrome.
4. Amal Clooney In Court Dress
If it wasn’t for Amal Clooney I’d be an aspiring reality television star, she’s really glamourised being a professional. In a world of Kylie Jenners, be an Amal Clooney. She had some important things to say and she said it with candour, but the only thing as crisp as her erudition was her black court dress. Here black was the colour of dignity, purpose and power.
5. Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking suit
He invented the smoking suit and it came with an iconic image by the pervert photographer Helmut Newton. Two women stand in a street, one smokes in a tuxedo the other leans in a veil. It was without doubt one of the sexiest images in fashion history (people are still referencing this image). The only way to give the nude power is through contrast a lesson we learned well from Édouard Manet.
I do not own any images.