Friday, April 07, 2006


Still in mourning for the loss of my bag I've spent most of this week searching for a replacement - I know, it's a hard life. But of course now that I actually want something specific, can I find it anywhere? I know this whole attachment to material things deal is supposed to be some kind of lesson. I'm sure if I leafed through one of my half read buddhist books it would tell me this is a great chance on my path to enlightenment or something. But come on, this is a lesson I've had many times before.

Oh yes, there was the time when I spent an entire evening having a conversation about art nouveau (we're pretty highbrow around here you know) and I was going on about how happy I was to have my grandmother's pewter art nouveau vase for about a million different reasons. That evening I went home, looked at the vase on the windowsill, and went to bed. During the night there was a wasp in my room so I picked up the closest thing to hand to shoo it out of the window and yep, dropped the vase out of the 2nd storey window. It just about survived, being pewter, and the dent was repaired. So I got the lesson then, like, DING! I've got it!

Then there was the time I snapped the heel of my beautiful burgundy T - bar shoes that I loved and treasured because I'd been wearing them when I met my (at the time) boyfriend. They had a really unusual 4 inch assymetric heel which was of course, irreplaceable.

So it seems that being a fairly careful sort of person, the kind that doesn't lose or break things generally it is my karma to lose the things I really love. Maybe it's a lesson about not being sentimental. Or maybe there are no lessons. Since the bag trauma on Monday, I have spilt mayonnaise on one of my pale grey boots, left my credit card in a shop (luckily it was returned), forgotten to pay an important bill, and been completely absent minded about who I'm supposed to meet/call and when. Senility setting in already? I do rely an awful lot on my lists, I have notebooks full of them, wishlists, things to do, random thoughts, reminders. Which leads me oh so smoothly into telling you about the Anna Piaggi 'Fashion-ology' exhibition I went to this week.

It's been on at the V&A for ages and finishes on the 23rd of April so I thought I'd better drag myself over to South Ken to have a look.

You have to admire Anna Piaggi. Anyone who can live in a staid, conservative city like Milan and dress as bonkers, crazy, fabulously eccentric as she does, must have some real inner creative resources to draw upon.

The part of the exhibition I liked the most, and the first thing you see on entering is the Anna lists. Anna list 1 is a kind of inventory which lists for example: 265 shoes (not that many really) 29 fans, 932 hats, 2865 dresses, 45 lipsticks, 6347 magazines and so on.

The exhibition also has contributions from those Anna has worked with such as Manolo Blahnik with his 'Adjectivisation of A.P' - communicator, writer, muse, poet, living legend, friend, institution, collaborator, genius. Jefferson Hack tells us 'thirteen things I thought you should know about Anna'.
I had always thought of Anna Piaggi as dressing in costume, rather than clothes, if you know what I mean.

But looking at the sketches of her through the years by Karl Lagerfeld, and outfits on display that she had worn I began to see that although the effect might be overwhelming, she always looks absolutely herself. You could look at a picture in a magazine and instantly say 'that's her' even if all you saw was the top of a hat and a rouged cheek, or a front row shot where they'd caught a glimpse of bloomered and legwarmered limb with a Manolo on the foot. If you really look closely at her clothing she has some incredibly beautiful pieces which is often overlooked when labelling her as 'eccentric'.

There was much in the exhibit about Anna being a fashion scientist, tirelessly documenting and dissecting. But what she has really created, as well as her 'doppie pagine' in Vogue Italia and all her other work through the years is that she herself is her art.

A.P says "When I dress with the perfect law of contrast, I'm in a trance".


Bombay Beauty said...

My condolences on your loss. There is an attachment we develop to the things we own that is hard to explain. We ourselves scarcely realize it, except when we lose one of them. And then the pain is sharp and real, and lasts at least half as long as the pain of a breakup. After all, men and women can be replaced, but not a unique vintage piece.

Herein lies one of my thoughts for you. Just like a breakup, you'll feel pain and part of the pain will be because you will never have that very thing/person again. And indeed, it will never feel the same again... But like people, though we don't forget the past, we learn to find new loves. So not to seem too callous -- go out and flirt with bags...

The second is a silver-lining type thought. When I get really blue, it's because I've lost or destroyed something myself and can't blame anyone else. I once lost a (cheap, unoriginal) wristwatch because I put it in my pocket. It felt terrible, and no one to blame but me. But your silver lining is that you have someone to blame: those evil-doers at the cleaners. Channel your angry feelings toward them and it might help you to heal (do I sound a bit like Darth Vader or the Evil Emperor in Star Wars?) -- or of course it could just make you bitter.

And my final thought, perhaps this is exactly the occasion to take up one of those web collections we discussed over tea?

Stay strong sister.


lc_clare said...

Just read the last couple of your posts and well it reads like a book, one book in particular (this probably sounds really weird) anyways have you ever read Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, well you really remind me of the woman in it, quite creepy (sorry don't mean to creep you out). Anyways just wanted to say my deepest sympathy for the loss of your bag it is a very serious thing and don't let anyone tell you its not. Hope you find a really fab replacement, Elspeth x

Lola is Beauty said...

No I haven't read it, but I'm definitely a shopaholic!