Mental Health Awareness Week

david chalmers by Nick Mourtzakis

David Chalmers by Nick Mourtzakis, 2011, commissioned for the Inner Worlds exhibition.

At the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s important to have some thoughts about issues surrounding mental illness. It’s a matter that is quite close to my heart, having had loved ones affected by it, I can say it is not an easy journey for anyone and definitely not a journey that can be successfully traversed on one’s own.

I’m fascinated with psychology. To be acquainted with the inner workings of one’s mind, I feel, the possibilities are endless. Which draws me to another one of my favourite subjects- art. And one of the most memorable exhibitions I’ve ever been to at our National Portrait Gallery is “Inner Worlds: Portraits & Psychology” which is essentially the melding of two of my favourite things! There were works by Albert Tucker and Sidney Nolan, who were the biggest drawcards of the exhibition. But the works that I loved the most were a series of sketches done by psychiatric patients in the 1950s. There were elements that made these works stand out- an undeniable intensity in these seemingly understated charcoal drawings. There was also something very honest and genuine about these drawings even before I realised the story behind them. I found it interesting that the works of these untrained artists stood out among the works of high profile artists that surrounded it. I enjoyed the exhibition so much that I ended up buying the book on it. To my incredible disappointment, the book did not have any photos of these drawings by these psychiatric patients. As it’s considered part of medical records, the gallery did not have permission to publish them and even the names of the mental health patients are kept confidential in the exhibition.

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The possessed by Albert Tucker, 1942

The book, however, had an interesting article on this series of 9 works, and credits Dr Eric Cunningham Dax in bring ‘Art Therapy’ into Australia in 1955. In an era where psychiatric patients were treated as sub-humans and treatments such electro-convulsive therapy were acceptable, this progression in treating psychiatric patients is admirably a forward-thinking and more humane approach. Art therapy allowed the patients to freely express themselves creatively in an art studio. Their works consequently helped the patients and the therapists in forming part of the treatment of their mental illnesses. Dr Dax believed in supporting the removal of the discrimination and stigmatisation surrounding mental illnesses. His legacy today, is the Cunningham Dax Collection, celebrating the initiative that he started more than 50 years ago.

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Collection

Today, issues about stigmatisation and discrimination around mental illnesses are still being discussed. There have been substantial initiatives to change this such as the Mental Health Awareness Week and R U Ok? Day, which all attempts to help mental illness sufferers feel less isolated and create a platform for help and support. But the fact that we are still discussing stigmatisation, draws attention to the fact that a cultural shift in society is still yet to happen. Having a change in perception of mental illnesses in society will mean more individuals will feel more liberty in coming forward with their mental health issues and seek help for it.

Check out https://1010.org.au.

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To New Year Resolute or Not to Resolute….

20140909_190432_Richtone(HDR)Oh Paris… how I miss you…

There goes my NY resolution of writing regularly in my blog. I can’t be completely mad at myself though. Life has been crazy and sometimes you just need to go along with the ride. My blog has suffered from it though.

A reminder of how time is no one’s friend is when I finally got my act together and printed out my photos from my Europe trip last year. It’s been exactly a year ago. Eep. I almost felt like weeping going through the photos. Europe left such an impression on me, I feel almost heartbroken that I’m not there right now. And there’s still so many more places to see and experience…

Anyway, back to the present. Thinking of how neglected my blog has been and how much time has gone by, have forced me to reflect on the progression of my New Year resolutions.

  • Blog 😦
  • Job 🙂
  • Ukulele rockstar 😦
  • Melbourne 😦
  • Sophisticated multi-linguist 😦 😦 😦
  • Role model of health :/
  • Finish books I started :/

Whoever said that NY Resolutions were stupid could be correct. I can’t even remember ever achieving all my resolutions in one year. I guess 2.5 out of 7 is not too bad. I think I just rather have resolutions than having none as it gives me a sense of some direction. I listened to a motivational speaker recently (not one of those cheesy slogan slinging ones, but a rather cool hip Melbournian, groomed beard and all, so it makes it ok!). He suggested that instead of having a list of resolutions that you probably won’t achieve, have one word that will define your year (for example, his was ‘Pirate’ for the uncharted waters that he will venture into throughout the year). So I will begin to compile a list of possible words for the impending new year.

P.S. As a way to hold myself a bit more accountable, I’m confessing to the books I’ve started but never managed to finish due to a multitude of reasons:

  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens (I really thought that being the same author as one of my favourite books of all time and this being lauded as his masterpiece I would love it. It’s been a year and I’ve only managed to get to halfway. On another note, it is a monster of a book to get through)
  • The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (ok, fascinating book, brilliant writer. But I’m a sissy and totally unprepared how disturbing the plot was getting. I vow, I will get through this… someday)
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu (This got into my library not by my own volition. Some kind schmuck I use to work with thought it was totally PC to give me this book, considering Sun Tzu and I hail from the same country. I’m sure this person had only kind thoughts when it was given. I got past the first page, went “Nope”, and closed it forevermore)

I feel like there should be more….I’ll have to do another inventory of my library. My goal is to one day own one of those stately libraries with ladders, fireplace and all. It will have a big leather armchair where I can park myself with a cigar and smoking gown, puffing thoughtfully for hours over a huge leather bound book. That should go on a future list of New Year Resolutions… or the title to that year will be “Bookworm”.

Floppers….

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I’ve seen some horrible movies in my time. Top of the floppers list for me would have to be Cloud Atlas. I went in not knowing what the movie was about and I came out none the wiser. It was the first movie I ever fell asleep in. Anyway, movie floppers were definitely not on my mind when I decided to go watch Saint Laurent. It’s become a nice ritual for me to at least catch one movie from the French Film Festival that occurs annually. This year I was hoping to replicate the awesome fashion moment I had last year with Madam C so Saint Laurent, a movie biopic on the legendary French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, seemed like an appropriate choice.

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I cannot put into PC terms how disappointed I was. I feel it worthy to talk about for the main reason that I felt the Saint Laurent movie did not come close to discussing the contribution that Yves Saint Laurent made to fashion. I want to at least justify my disdain for it. I’ve seen a good number of French movies to know they have a tendency to lean towards the artistic side. Rather than being narrative, they tend to be atmospheric. When done well, the movie can be lovely and memorable. Therefore, I’m not exactly sure what Saint Laurent was trying to achieve here. If it was trying to be artistic for artistic sake, than I’m sorry to say they ended up with a film that was shallow and meaningless. And if being atmospheric means giving the audience the impression of being in a drug infused, homoerotic haze for 2 hours than I would’ve rather have done without it. We all knew that Yves Saint Laurent was a gay man who struggled with drugs and alcohol- why do a film just about that? It did not go into any depth in explaining Yves Saint Laurent as a designer or what fuelled his creativity, no character exploration of his muses (or anyone for that matter). I’m sure there are plenty of people that went to see that film with the same expectation of being inspired by the achievements of Saint Laurent and came out disappointed (and also traumatised by the prolonged scenes of men in orgy or Saint Laurent tripping out). The credit that I will give to the creators of this film is that from an aesthetic point of view, it is styled very well. The costume designer did a great job recreating all the Yves Saint Laurent outfits and the film did convincingly represent the hedonistic world that the designer was living in. But for all the points mentioned before, it was not the most memorable impression I was left with.

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What I was really hoping to see in the movie was the inspiration behind Yves Saint Laurent when he designed the tuxedo for women, which was a social liberation move for women of that time, his relationships with his muses and their personalities, who were said to have such a huge contribution to him as a designer, or to see his influence at the height of his success. It also would’ve been great to see his stint at Dior before he launched his own label and the impact it had on him. But maybe I’m just too much of an optimist for my own good. Depravity seems to be the new black at the moment?

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The real ‘Yves Saint Laurent’

I feel sorry for the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent which seems to be completely stripped of all its dignity and sold out to the highest bidder. Not only was a bad movie made about the deceased designer, but his company and name is now in the hands of a large fashion conglomerate and another fashion designer that was probably completely unknown to Yves Saint Laurent in his lifetime. Then again, maybe I’m just angry. On a more upbeat note, at least they made an incredibly handsome French actor play Yves. Also interestingly enough, Saint Laurent was submitted by France to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film. Sadly, they did not win nor even nominated.

Sidenote: If I sound less than my usual sassy self and more grammatically correct, that would be because I allowed my sister to edit this. The most helpful advice she gave was to insert more photos of said handsome French actor. I think she killed my joy for writing blogs or anything for that matter. Thanks Gloria :p

A Visionary

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So my New Year Resolution to post on my blog regularly is not going as planned. It’s been quite a while and my writing hand is probably getting a bit rusty. I’ve actually been working on this post for quite some time, since probably last November. If I’m being honest there’s probably a dozen topics that I’ve started, glazed over and scrapped because it doesn’t ‘feel right’ or my perfectionism kicks in and I feel compelled to edit it a thousand times before I release it like a newborn baby into the world. This post falls somewhere in between. I guess there are some artists that I put in such high esteem, I find it difficult create a blog that is worthy of them. There is also a bit of pressure as there’s been such a long time leading up to this post, I’ve told several people what I was planning to write about and they’ve responded with some anticipation. Anyhow, I will do my best…. is it true that a blogger is only as good as his/ her last post? (I hope not!)

There are a few fellow creatives that whenever I mention the name Tim Walker, there’s a sparkle in their eye. It’s safe to say there are numerous people who have a soft spot for his work. For those who are wondering who Tim Walker is, in a nutshell, he is photographer extraordinaire, a visionary, and a Vogue favourite. His work is most prominent in the fashion industry for the simple fact his creations of pure fantasy go hand in hand together.

 timwalker rollsroyce

I find it difficult to break down Walker’s work because there are so many complex components to it. Every shoot is meticulously planned out, detail oriented, almost a sensory overload at times. It’s quite mind boggling on a lot of levels with Walker’s works, this includes the themes, the subjects, the production of it all. He constantly, has a production team, working for him, trying to bring his crazy visions to life such as creating a life-size ufo, dyeing cats in rainbow colours, and convincing Vogue to purchase a vintage Rolls Royce for a shoot because it would be cheaper than hiring it…..?!!!! How all these disparate pieces of the puzzle come together and become an amazing end product is pure magic.

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I think it’s also easy to get nostalgic about Walker’s photos as he heralds an era of photographers gone by, like Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. There is a real 1950s flair in his style, this can be seen most strongly in his published book ‘Pictures’. What really sets Walker apart is his postmodern eye and no-limits thinking and a great production team to back him up. Walker does not use digital enhancements in his photos and all props are legitimately made from scratch thanks to the ingenuity of his team. Reportedly, the giant leather glove that was featured in a shoot with Coco Rocha took literally, blood, sweat and tears as the team spent all night stitching it by hand.

 timwalker glove

Walker also reminisce a lot in his work by bringing classic children stories to life and his props often involve vintage toys, albeit it being used in an offhand way (see doll story). Perhaps all this reminiscing is due to the loss of innocent carefree childhoods spent frolicking in the countryside. He confessed, the reason why a lot of his shoot’s locations are in the English countryside because to the urbanised Londoner, the countryside has become exotic, almost mythical.

 timwalker doll

In short, Walker does his work so convincingly, that it’s hard to not look at one of his photos and want to sink into his world. He invests so passionately into his stories that one cannot help but want to believe that beautiful fairies do exist, that 1950s airplanes can crash into our living rooms, and cakes really do grow on trees. It is also interesting to watch the evolution of his work. His more recent book, Story Teller, sees Walker exploring darker and more sinister themes.

 timwalker fairy

It was really hard editing and choosing which of his works to include in this post as they are all so amazing. If you have time, highly recommend you to do a quick google of Walker’s photos.

 

Tim Walker Books: The Granny Alphabet, Story Teller, The Lost Explorer, Pictures, Stern Portfolio

A love letter to Wes Anderson

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Dear Mr Anderson,

First and foremost, I would like to express my admiration and fondness of your work and needless to say, your infinite talent. Most recently I have thoroughly enjoyed your latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. But I also need to include on my list of loves- Fantastic Mr Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited. I regret to say, The Moon Kingdom, is yet to be viewed but I assure you it is the next one on my urgent list of to be watched.

It is truly unique in how you weave your stories (and your magic) in a film and bring your eclectic vision to life. Every setting is a visual feast and every character equally enchanting, even the not so pleasant ones. Even throughout the crises of the hero or heroine, one is still easily delighted by the drama and the whimsy. The wit and humour of all characters never fail to tickle my funny bone. My favourites- Monsieur Gustave from the Grand Budapest Hotel (can I just say your casting choices are always flawless), The Fantastic Fox Family and Margot Tenebaum. You remind us that life is about taking the bad with the good and loving it all the same because it is just a beautiful moment.

the royal tenenbaums     mr fantastic fox     grand budapest hotel

Thank you for making my summer all the more wonderful with your lovely movies. I hope there’ll be plenty more to come.

Forever yours,

Seeking Garance xoxo

 

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The Braver Voices

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Daumier’s caricature of the French King

Recently I was walking through our National Art Gallery and came upon a small exhibition called ‘Impressions of Paris: Lautrec, Degas and Daumier’. I thought it was a strange coincidence as it was just when the tragic events were unfolding in Paris. I’ve seen plenty of works by Lautrec and Degas (some works even, I’m sure, live in the gallery’s reserve and has had multiple appearances in different exhibitions in the past). Honore Daumier, however, I have not been much aware of til, well, the existence of this exhibition. Daumier, I found was a predecessor to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and represented the spirit of free speech in Paris even more than a 100 years ago.

 daumier

Honore Daumier was considered a ‘Michelangelo of caricature’ of his time. He too, created satires and caricatures for publications in the 1890s that were critical of the status quo. Daumier lived in a Paris that was still coping with the aftermath of the French Revolution and the uprising of the Industrial Revolution. He was often sympathetic of the poor and was merciless in his portrayals of the elites of society. Daumier was also a gifted painter but fellow contemporaries, like Corot and Delacroix and others, were mainly interested in his caricatures which were considered much more daring and are still known today, as one of the best representation of 19th century Parisian life. Daumier was certainly ahead of his times and was credited as an inspiration even to artists after him, such as Lautrec and Degas (as shown in the exhibition). Daumier definitely brought to mind the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo and what they both did for their respective generations were not that different. Daumier did not suffer as brutal an outcome as his successors but he certainly suffered for his provocative social commentaries (he was once jailed for a less than favourable depiction of the French King and died penniless and in debt).

NicholasCabinet Daumier

It seems that every generation there is a voice braver than others and there appear to be consequences or penalties for such freedom. Even today with our so called democratic societies, it is sad that democracy is only an idealistic concept for some rather than a reality or belief. For democracy to exist there needs to be more than one voice. It’s healthy to have an ongoing dialogue about ‘Freedom of Speech’ and what it means. It is tragic that those who seek to suppress this use it as an excuse for senseless violence. Seeing the response of the French people to such atrocities in their country has been inspiring. Even in the face of such adversities, they have shown they will not be defined by it but rather, will rise above it in solidarity.

Peace and love to Paris.

Muses and musings

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Apollo and the 9 Muses, Gustave Moreau 1856

After a couple of weeks’ absence from the blogosphere, I have to admit I am still struggling with writer’s block. It could have something to do with the difficulty of coming back to earth from an awesome holiday and as a result this has lead to being inspired by nothing, absolutely nothing. I can’t say I live in the most exciting city in Australia but to its credit it does have a flourishing arts and culture scene, and I always feel that my curiosities and interests have provided ample fodder for my-art-slash-design-slash-me blog. I mean, how did artists do it, especially in an age before the internet? After all, Picasso was said to have produced around 50,000 works in his lifetime, so surely, it would not be that hard to accumulate a few words for my humble blog. The only solution it would seem is escapism- pretend I am Carrie Bradshaw, writing for a living in my ultra-trendy New York loft, whilst simultaneously drinking cosmos with my equally trendy friends. Haha, no only joking, although, the thought is entertaining. I think of all the artists, designers, photographers who have encouraged me to dream. The list is quite extensive and this could possibly spawn an interesting blog series…

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Thracian Girl Carrying the Head of Opheus on His lyre, Gustave Moreau 1865

I remember walking through the Musee d’Orsay and seeing countless paintings that depicted scenes from Greek mythology (Neoclassical art, I think). I’m pretty sure I saw at least four different paintings on the story of Orpheus by separate artists, though I’m sure there were more. The story of Orpheus was that he was a famous musician in ancient Greek times. Apparently, he was so gifted he was able to move even the gods with his music. In an effort to bring his dead wife, Eurydice, back from the underworld, he was granted by Hades to go down to get her. The only condition was that he would not look back at her til they had both reached the upper world again. Orpheus in his anxiety, could not help but glance back and she was lost to him forever. He ultimately died a gruesome death at the hands of a group of frenzied women who tore him to pieces. This story, although I don’t fully understand its appeal, has clearly stirred the imagination of many artists. Gustave Moreau was a French Symbolist painter who was one of the many artists who painted the death of Orpheus in 1865, and I’m trying to guess the motivations of his inspiration. Did he wish that he lived in Ancient Greece? Did he find the moral of the story of Orpheus (whatever it was) worth depicting? Why was such a gruesome scene painted as a scene of romance even of beauty? I’m clearly in a mood for being pensive.

 

Waterhouse Orpheus

  Nymphs finding the Head of Orpheus, John William Waterhouse 1900

 Another popular literary muse in the art realm would be Ophelia from Hamlet. I haven’t read the entirety of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (although this would be enough impetus to) but I’ve read enough of it to understand the role of Ophelia in it. Ophelia is a virginal figure that represents all that is good and pure yet in Hamlet’s disturbed mind she is the devil. In summary, she is ultimately driven to madness by the death of her father at the hands of Hamlet, and accidentally drowns in a river. Her death is captured in the famous painting by John Everett Millais and also, by many of his contempories.

 

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Ophelia, John Everett Millais 1851

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Ophelia, John William Waterhouse 1894

 

I am currently alternating between reading Bleak House by Charles Dickens and Grace Coddington’s memoirs. Hopefully, this literary inspiration will mean the end of my writer’s block and result in more interesting (readable) blog posts! 😀

Learning Through Picasso

One of the highly anticipated things to do on my Europe trip was to go gallery touring. And gallery tour I did! Altogether, I visited 8 galleries in total between London, Paris and Madrid. The two highlights for me though, had to be the Musee d’Orsay in Paris and Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.

In one of my previous blogs, I expressed excitment in visiting the famous Musee d’Orsay. It definitely did not disappoint. It has arguably, one of the largest collections of Impressionist Art in the world. Which should be no surprise, considering the Impressionist movement was born in Paris. Not only that, the building itself is almost as stunning as the artworks it houses within.

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The most pleasant art discovery on this trip though, was Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. Madrid was probably one of the few cities where I truly wished I had more time for. One could easily spend the whole day there as there was (if my failing memory serves me well) 5 humongous levels to explore. We only had one hour. As any savvy tourist that comes to Madrid, would know that Museo Reina Sofia houses Picasso’s magnum opus, Guernica. That was certainly a priority as I don’t think I would’ve forgiven myself if I had missed it. Sure enough, there was a small crowd that’s gathered around the painting when I find my way there. Everyone appeared to be held in silent awe as they stood in front of it. There was no disappointment here either, instead all expectations are surpassed as with any masterpiece, no experience is comparable than seeing it in person. The intensity and sobriety to Guernica is quite overwhelming and is able to move like no other works of Picasso can. Not to mention the historical significance it holds to the Spanish people as it is a reminder of the massacre of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. I generally don’t consider myself a lover of Surrealist Art but one cannot help but be impressed by the extensive collection of works by Joan Miro, Salvador Dali and of course, Pablo Picasso and other great Surrealist artists. There is something quite powerful when one walks into a room full of Dali or Picasso. Not only that, but the curatorship is brilliant and original with the entire collection of modern and post-modern art divided into mini exhibitions with thought-provoking titles such as ‘IS THE WAR OVER? ART IN A DIVIDED WORLD’.

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 ‘A study for Premonition of Civil War’, Salvador Dali

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‘The Prayer’, Dario Villalba

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‘Indestructible Object’, Man Ray

The contrasts of the two museums definitely did strike me. They were both able to represent the history and culture of their countries in multi-faceted powerful ways. It definitely makes all the tourists who choose to pose next to the paintings for photos like we were in a cheap amusement park almost tolerable. 🙂

Learning Through Gaudi

Within the span of three weeks I’ve been in 6 different countries, 11 different cities, 10 flights, 3 train rides, 5 car trips

 

Not a bad accomplishment, considering it was all done within a short timeframe. And the amount of things I was able to see and experience- that was even more impressive. At the end of it all I felt a strange mixture of exhaustion and exhilaration. I count it as my first trip to Europe, after all there is not much that one can remember when one is only 4 years old. And I loved every minute of it, even the time when I was lost in the London Tube, lugging my huge suitcase around and exhausted from a 12 hour flight. I won’t harp on every single detail of the trip only I believe that everyone should at least once in their lifetime make their way to Spain. It is an amazing country with amazing people, amazing history and amazing food. And the sangria which seems to flow in this beautiful country… well that would need a post of its own.

 

What really struck me on my orientation trip to Europe was the architecture. And that’s what I really want to harp on in this post. Everywhere I went I was just blown away by the history and the details of the buildings and each were all so idiosyncratic to the region they belonged to. I guess it’s something we lack in Australia and therefore was a real source of fascination to me. The buildings of a city are such an important conveyor of its story, especially to a foreigner like me. I felt this was particularly true in Spain. Perhaps it was because I spent most of my time in Europe there and had the most opportunity to observe more cities but almost every city we visited the buildings and landscape were different and unique.

 

When we were in Granada, we visited the Alhambra, which is perhaps the most famous landmark in the south of Spain. The Alhambra is a palace and fortress that was first built by the Moorish in the 9th Century. It was continually renovated and expanded by different rulers and was fully completed to its current size in the 1300s. The palace is a perfect monument to Moorish occupation and Islamic architecture. Some of the buildings also displays the influence of the Catholic Monarchs who took over Spain and the palace, in 1492. Every nook and cranny you looked in this historical site, there was some intricate detail to take in- the complexity of design of the mosaic tiles, the opulent hand carved domes, the almost endless rows of columns that surrounded the palace quarters and the cascading fountains. No one inhabits the Alhambra anymore but one can still envision the lavish lifestyle that the rulers of old would’ve had in this splendid palace.

 View of Granada from the AlhambraGranada

                          The Interior of Alhambra                           Alhambra1

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On the other side of the same country, there was Barcelona. I was pleasantly surprised at how the city was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau. Many of the buildings were sculpted with floral or nature inspired motifs and all the lines were soft and organic. Most of this is the legacy of the Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. The crowning glory of his work is the cathedral, Sagrada Familia, which he started building in the 1890s. Unfortunately, Gaudi passed away in the 1920s, leaving the cathedral unfinished and to this day it is still under construction. However, it is utterly undeniable that it is still an architectural gem and Gaudi’s vision is clearly conveyed throughout. Gaudi’s vision was completely original and thoroughly modern for his time and I’m not sure if there is anything in the world that could be comparable to it. It is hard to describe the Sagrada Familia, only that it should be seen in person as no photo could ever depict its full grandeur.

 

The Nativity Facade was the only section that was completed in Gaudi

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The Passion Facade that can be viewed from the exit

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The cavernous interior

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I truly loved what I experienced in Europe and of course it was more than just the architecture that was great about it. I was lucky to be able to share it with people that I loved and even though there were moments where we were ready to strangle one another, it definitely helped make this European trip all the more magical.

Fashionable Inspirations

I’ve always had an interest in fashion, even when I hardly understood it. But my first fashion revelation was when I was lucky enough to take an elective in fashion theory at university. It was the week where we were studying the Japanese designer movement in the 80s. We talked about Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Kenzo who were doing all these amazing and crazy things that caused more than fashionable ripples. It was a cultural movement. Their creations were wonderful and unthinkable at the same time as most of them appeared to be hardly wearable or practical. It completely defied social conventions of their time. But it was in that moment that I understood that fashion was more than just a piece of cloth. It was about ideas. It was about dreams. Even if they were crazy and fantastical, in fashion, it made one feel it was attainable.

 rei kawakubo bumps A Rei Kawakubo design in the 80s

There are a few designers that I believe are still doing amazing and progressive things, like Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto (all English designers, strangely enough). I believe that there are still exciting things happening in fashion albeit it being slightly more subdued, especially when a talented collective decides to get together and make creative magic happen. That’s how I felt when I saw Mademoiselle C, a film that was shown earlier at this year’s Canberra French Film Festival. It is a documentary following stylist slash fashion muse slash French fashion editor extraordinaire, Carine Roitfeld, on her journey on creating her new fashion book, CR. If it was a PR ploy to generate excitement for her book, oh boy, I’m sure it worked. We came out of that movie completely assured that our minds were fully blown and in considerable awe of Roitfeld, being convinced that she was a fashion genius. There was a moment in the film, where I’m sure fashionistas around the world would’ve gasped in unison from amazement when they saw it. Roitfeld was shooting on location in a cemetery. The models slowly walk towards the camera, almost in a catatonic zombie-like state. The model walking front and centre is naked except for a purple veil that enveloped her entire body and billowed around her like seductive vapour. Perhaps the moment bordered on performance art. But it was a memorable fashion moment as it inspired, it surprised and it challenged. That’s what I think great fashion is all about.
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‘That moment’ in Mademoiselle C