One of the joys of being on semester break is that I get to read and hold magazines and books in my hands. I can take in information at a more leisurely pace than my usual fast skim of the digital platforms that come into my inbox and from the apps on my phone that curate information for me. I can sit with a single photo and appreciate the talent that went into creating it. I can feel the sharpness of an intake of breath because I am moved by what I see. I now see the studio where it was taken and the many people in the room from photographer to stylist to the production assistants, talent, make-up and styling that make it all happen. I have become privy to the complexity behind the production of a single photo. I can hear the music that plays in the background.
This morning I am obsessed with a pair of photos of Miuccia Prada’s feet clad in her fabulous giant pearl adorned furry mules. The photos, taken by Jurgen Teller and featured in System Magazine, are beyond beautiful in a million different ways. Her toes are simple and unvarnished. The nails closely cut and the tendons in her ankles are in stark relief. Everything about the two photos makes me feel real. They make me feel like working.
In the midst of Miuccia Prada’s designs I can always find a powerful truth and a delicious fantasy. Her secret is that she can say important things about women and their lives without being overtly political or so provocative that some turn away. Yet about many things she remains fiercely unapologetic.
In this new year after angry post truth 2016, we need fashion that can engage us with emotion and give perspectives that are not spoken overtly yet are still revealed. We need fashion that is more personal and more human. I believe that clothing can give us the tactile reassurance we need to create reparative mindsets and cultures. So this year I embark on a study of designers who have reliably demonstrated this capacity and keep my eye open for those emerging designers who understand the enormous power clothing has to disrupt, to stimulate desire and to make the world more beautiful.
Can you think of a designer who makes you feel real?