16 March 2013

I recently watched the video of Garage Magazine titled Take My Picture.

This too-short documentary is juxtaposing (or maybe colliding?) perspectives about street 'so-called' style of people who defend it (some bloggers, who in every appearance are the prey of wild photographers; designers who, of course, like to see their creations are worn by real people) and others (some other bloggers too) who think the newbies just disturb their work and stand on their way, and think it's tiring and boring to see many people flooding a show, crazily dressed up, yet not even to attend the show and to be photographed instead. Just to pose and 'peacocking'.

Tim Blanks, a fashion journalist, who really can relate a designer's collection to 18th century painting or something like that, whose his memory of art history is remarkable he can connect a dress with an ancient plate, shares his thoughts about this phenomenon; the street style photography is getting peaking, and it's growing bigger and bigger.

I don't know where it all began. Like a circle, it's difficult to identify who's coming first, either people who take pictures, people who dress up to get pictures taken, or both. So I try to break it down a bit. When people like Bill Cunningham started taking pictures of people on the street, not so many people are following him. In this super savvy society, where you can tell your mom who lives thousand miles away what exactly your neighbor's wearing in a mere second, with Scott Schuman and Tommy Ton and Yvan Rodic (based on my experience in this area. Maybe there is someone earlier I don't know), people are starting to recognize that they can be easily recognized (shame on fame!). People start following where they go, where they take wonderful pictures of people. People start to get dressed (so high up) to catch their attention.

Fashion bloggers, whom most of them  I consider as the most fame-craving and insecure people (they feel something big missing if they don't post what they just bought or ordered to intake), attach brands of clothes they're wearing. Young designers who don't have sky high budget to promote their collection start to endorse and support street styler to wear them, and necessitate them to get photographed and mention the brand. It is some sort of marketing strategy which isn't new. Big brands do it to with Hollywood on red carpet. The difference is, these people are asked to wear it on the street, and these are real people. Which is likely more sensible for Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. I agree, that eventually, fashion is on the street, like Coco said. Otherwise it wouldn't be fashion.

So, what is so all wrong about these pop-up photographers/street stylers? There's demand-supply law here. It's good for brand-new photographers to take photos of people wearing curtains or something, because it is the phase they have to go through before they become the next Bill Cunningham. I mean, Bill is great because he's been doing it for many many decades (I wonder how Bill's first photo looks like). And now, the guru and newbies are side-to-side taking pictures of the same object. Isn't that wonderful? Different level, and definitely different result. I once asked Bill before Balmain show, what it makes a good photograph. He just smiled and he said, "It's you. You people who dress like that" and pointing his finger at (me?) people who through their outfit say look-at-me-I'm-a-good-object.

And if there are some people say that street stylers are loosing their originality, I say go home and stay in bed. I mean, fashion offers dream, fantasy, and sometimes delusion. Do you think that fashion magazine offers originality? What is it original? Even Plum Skyes once said not to believe what's inside Vogue, beacuse none of them is real. It is planned, touched, brushed, covered, exposed, retouched, so on and so forth. If, what people look for from the street is originality and no-script style, so that it's different with magazine, well, these people are reading those glossy pages. Of course they are affected. They get better dressed. And now, with uncertain weather like this, people can't just count on spring/summer and fall/winter thingy. Maybe they change outfit five times a day (one outfit for one fashion show for me is bizarre, but if they can afford it, why not?) or not changing at all the whole day. Me particularly, I don't like to be photographed. I allow people to take picture of me, but not if they ask me to be in certain spot or pose in a certain way.And I change outfit after I take shower two times a day.

from tumblr calllitwhatyoulike

The problem is, sometimes everything seems a mistake in fashion. I read a worst-dressed list few years ago in a little magazine in Indonesia, and it featured Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé, saying that Cate is attending a world teacher day instead of award night. I mean, are you serious?
One other, when people look at Comme des Garçons bright-colored bold silhouette cape, they say it's horrible. Little did they know it represents something beyond identity and idealism. 

The thing is, like Suzy Menkes mentioned in The Circus, when fashion is for everyone, it is not likely fashion anymore. Fashion is everywhere, but it doesn't mean something can be easily called fashion. We all see that many people are trying too hard to get dressed (or maybe not hard enough to remember that there are such words as vulgar and tawdry). And as fashion a part of art (which I still strongly agree, even though buying skull scarves and not armadillo shoes is not included), fashion is supposed to make people happy, or at least, one step above in understanding universe. When you pair a huge giant fur head piece with parachute jacket and Bieber boots, then it hurts many people eyes. And more than 4 colours in one body is only appropriate for someone in a painting, or in a carnival. So I think when people step out of the door to embrace a cordon of photographers, there's such burden than representing yourself. How could people be so proud and happy when they got photographed, whereas their looks ended up at buzzfeed as the hated-folks?

Being in public is bigger than what most people think, and it mostly doesn't mean better. It can make you famous. It also can make you drowned by humiliation. And with so many people with easy access to judge someone else, it's better for everyone in public to watch what they're doing. Because they're watched too. By the others.

So, you don't wanna be judge?

Signorefandi, live in cave!