Lady with a Dog, Amsterdam 1986

Lady with a Dog '86

Excerpt from ‘Nabelichting’, Chapter 21, Stage Fright

”Fashion is culture.”, I said.

I intended to say that fashion is a social-cultural phenomenon in which, according to often unspoken codes and agreements, conscious or not, people show their inner self to the world and can therefore be considered as part of their identity. That fashion not only refers to style of dress and hair and make-up but also includes music, language, art, cuisine, architecture and even thought, popular in a culture at any given time. Zeitgeist. Omnipresent, constantly changing.

I intended to say that whole groups of people wear the same type of clothes, use the same slang and eat the same kind of food to express their individuality, deceived by the illusion they’re different from the rest. That there is no actual proof but that it is very likely that the first human beings already felt the urge to express and distinguish themselves by accessories and decoration; by sticking bones through their noses, wear animal skins with or without its tail or hats with or without feathers. And that for all later cultures the significance of fashion, to distinguish yourself from others, is commonly known

I intended to say that it is not possible to escape from fashion because you’re confronted by it as soon as you pick up a newspaper, go out in public or switch on your TV. That even an aversion to fashion means a reaction, an involuntary engagement. And that it is shallow to consider fashion as shallow.

But it all went differently.


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