Posted by: Sk | February 21, 2009

7 “L’enterrement de la France” on Roger Vivier’s inner decoration

observations on composition to be found in www.interieurs.fr (roger vivier) which I somewhere baptized ‘l’enterrement de la France’ because of the probably accidental situation of a gladiolus flower pot (used in seamen’s burials in  France) beside a picture composed in colours red/blue/white

Comments:Yesterday, after having put with great effort an end to the picture in the post before (Inés de la Fressange birthday dressing) I wrote a long comment with deep explanations about the meaning of it all, though mentioning that there were some details whose exact signification I couldn’t yet grasp. While trying to publish the whole, it simply disappeared in nothingness and a malicious white page appeared saying that ‘the url could not be retrieved’ or similar, and although usually in that cases the written content is kept by the program as ‘draft’ this time, there was nothing left.

Never mind. I’ve good memory. And I forgot the whole for a while, as my attention was actually trying to find out what the lacking points were meaning. Thus, in the evening I made the picture “L’enterrement de la France” which I had had in mind for some days, if not weeks, and where I thought I could find the clue to my question.Every picture is a world, full of metaphysical questions and eventually, even answers. This one was, of course, a somewhat ironical contemplation on a few subjects. The first was a bitter comment resulting on the careful study of the before mentioned video. Of course, I couldn’t help remarking that of those mentioned as having contributed to the inner decoration in question, the architects, whose picture was on top somewhere around, had … a name. While the woman who had put thousands and thousands of silver leaves in a boring room was just “une jeune fille” (a young girl). “Ah,” I thought, “there’s nothing but women in order to erase women’s presence in the actual transforming of the world.” Thus, I was sure, almost, that for Fressange, the important thing was the quite boring picture with the three flag’s colours (for which she certainly paid more than a hundred USD) forgetting that perhaps the only remarkable thing about the same was the fact that it could be combined with the so called ‘kitsch’ flowers in question. Consequently I put the colours of the flag in a somewhat different composition, in order to point at this quite desperating fact. Before going over to the analysis of the combination as such, two words on the ‘Enterrement de la France’: as the idea was that a national custom tranfers itself to the 8th arrondissement in Paris, suffering of all sorts of transformations in meaning while doing so, it seemed to fit quite well the question of how far it was possible to think the adaptation of some style, in this case, Roger Vivier, to a different context (revival).It’s true that I didn’t like Frissoni very much, after my deep studies of the video. Just because he says that he had wanted a small shop for himself as he was just selling shoes, as if the very fact of showing himself in such a modest perspective, would indirectly put shadows on Fressange, with her, you would conclude, somewhat megalomaniac shop in the 8th. “But,” I thought, “at least she’s given a job to more or less talented youth,” which as such, is already something that justifies a certain number of expenses.Consequently I couldn’t avoid making some bitter remarks on his supposed ‘imitation’ or ‘continuation in spirit’ of the Roger Vivier style. In fact, I concluded quickly, a style has some principle, which, if not grasped, does not allow this kind of extremely difficult work, where our own character has to be pushed back in order to submit to another one whose superiority has to appear clearly to our mind, as otherwise the task impossible.Thus, I started a Roger Vivier revival all alone by myself, just for the pleasure. What is Roger Vivier? I thought, that the underlying principle that will determine all his later work, are those funny shoes with a metallic square on them, which, as far as I remember, are nothing but inspired of similar of the French Court of the XVIIIth century. In a certain way, Roger Vivier does transfer some brightness (from a certain point of view) of French history into a detail that though does allow to maintain and keep what he understands as the essence of this brightness all through his life: precious and semiprecious stones are attached to leather in order to give back a pleasure in luxury wanting perhaps to say much more than what accesorily we may understand of such. In fact, Roger Vivier seems to believe in the traditional French organization of wealth around the recognition of a ‘genius’ who, through what he does and likes, determines the table of values inside of society itself. Thus, his almost extravagant shoes, for my personal taste, do maintain an almost sarcastical opposition to a more German touched belief that gathers all around the statement “everything the same for all” in heavy masses of people defending with force their own interests. In Germany the genius does simply not exist, or only when he’s dead. In France, he used to order reality.To make thus a revival from this spirit means in a certain way to continue the same line of thought, adapting the design to our contemporary world. My almost ironical attempt to solve the question, makes me wander around history: the final shoe design is inspired from some medieval Spanish model, which though is given a very special touch: the ‘barrette’ is nothing but an elizabethian (renaissance) earring belonging to the Queen of England. The too evident and dangerous opposition to other ways of thinking gets lost in the ‘trompe l’oeil’ of those times, while precisely the possibility arises of making of a it a most general feature: the ‘rare’ because too precious, becomes the possibility of an indefinite variey of choice, where the ’same’ disappears in a more contemporary request for a personal choice.Continuation of analysis:  

“L’enterrement de la France”’s subjective interpretation becomes a dress

I remember one day in my life as having marked it perhaps forever, and which would determine whole sorts of decisions and positionings with its almost bitter taste. Although having been taught carefully by my mother to stay away from courts as much as possible, I couldn’t avoid filing a claim once in my life, after some kind of brute arrived one day at home shouting around and distroying almost everything with … an axe (in Greece). Because, I thought, it could become examplary. The court solved the question with a (for me) horrifying “den iparxei dolos” (there was no intention) and the cynism of the answer would mark forever my frozen rejection of courts and so called judges. I remember though that that day I went for a walk around the fields, feeling some kind of horrible and heavy sadness on my chest, and although I didn’t cry, because I wasn’t used to, I suppose that my extremely distantiated ‘I’ was just hiding away the desire of doing so. “Thus,” I concluded, “there is justice none.”Perhaps it is while having a look at other things, you’re struck by things that, most unconsciously, are talking about events which you know in depth, although you’ve almost forgotten them. Precisely because they’re repressed, precisely because you don’t want to give importance to them, because you don’t know what to do if you did, the impression left by events and happenings becomes slowly colours and lines, forms and volumes, gestures and even … decoration or fashion. Thus, of course, I never blamed Fressange for such an obvious statement, as the one resulting of the association in meaning of two objects with symbolic meaning one beside the other

Precisely. If it had been on purpose, it would have left the mark of the deliberate, of provocation, of insult. It hasn’t. It’s just like that, perhaps, an accident, a coincidence, an aleatory association excused with the balance of colours and forms. The mind’s attention is though awaken by something, which explains that the ‘bizarre’ obliges to researches, as if you’d like to know what it all is about, exactly. Thus, I made whole sorts of investigations through internet, myself. Another wouldn’t: the unconscious is ordering through the view in understandings that are inherent to memories of the past.Of course I didn’t think it’ll all result in a revolution. In fact, I thought, the elegance is there: it’s just a statement, a wanting to say without insistance, perhaps the obligation of saying it somehow in order not to die of sadness.This understanding (perhaps just a subjective interpretation born of own experiences) defines for me a character, a character that can be transformed into a way of dressing, which I was working at for many, many weeks.In fact, as said in the explanations that got lost yesterday, going through all her ‘fashionable’ appearances, I don’t see really a dressing that may actually fit Fressange. If forms and colours do convey ways of thinking, she seems all through her career to ‘wear’ other people’s thoughts, making them eventually ‘bearable’ through gestures and movements, without though ever finding anyone who may transform her own being into a proper appearance. The only one which seems to fit her, to my understanding, is the one where she’s wearing a t-shirt with a Lagerfeld signed statement on Moschino. 

But it seems to fit her only as opposition, some kind of very ironical positioning in the wanting of self determination against all imposition. It’s yet not saying a self as itself, but just as blight arising from a definite ‘no’ to a determined surrounding.What it were, herself, you finish by asking yourself, and, perhaps even, a self which is not wearing a certain number of features which tend to hide her away from, you may say, even herself. The Fressange character is in fact very little affirmative. It is even stubborn in the maintainance of a self, but always in a giving in to an environment inside of which she finds, when she does, a little place to say herself, and if she doesn’t, she simply leaves. Fressange does not create environments, does not further universal ideas, nor does she impose beliefs. As such you may perhaps say, that the environments she has been in, have never known how to translate her proper self into more general concepts and she has never known to claim for such a context, as if conditioned in a certain way by her own character to be satisfied with whatever there is.This aspect is ’suspended’ in the attempt to transform deeper meanings into ‘fashion’. Or the virtual context is created where it were possible to think that the environement is absolutely fitting to a certain character. Thus, Fressange becomes absolutely affirmative in the following metaphysical frame:after having concluded that ‘fashion’ does express, if esthetically fitting, deeper structures of thought and social beliefs, I explain the changes introduced by Coco Chanel as the social need deriving from a change in social roles, where women are obliged to appear in tougher lines than those deriving of almost to the house restricted social roles. Fashion lines do thus approach more ‘male’ lines, without this meaning that there is imitation or copy of the male, but just the undelining of stronger, harder female characteristics, such as determination and endurance. This Chanel philosophy is heavily misunderstood by later designers, such as Yves Saint Laurent and Lagerfeld, who mean ‘women have to look like men’, pushing them towards an environment where they become bad copies of the male.It being obvious that Fressange does not defend a priori male characteristics (she is too little affirmative for that) I tranfer her to a context where the hardest female lines are expressed through almost martial fashion, something like a uniform, where the usual straps and condecorations do almost wickedly become silver straps, hiding away what is usually celebrated as female characteristics: intuition and immediate psychic perception, seduction and weakness. Logical: these characteristics don’t put in danger the aggressive male world.To say: a uniform expresses an order. You have to do all these things at that time exactly and submit to orders exactly that way, inside of an integration where the ’same’ to others finds differences only in hierarchies. If you make a uniform for a woman, you’ll hear: that’s it, a man again. But what, is there no order in  a woman’s life, no discipline, no time table, no submittance to orders, no hierarchies? There is, but it is different. The child will cry at 2 in the morning, but perhaps at three, and eventually at five. The order is more aleatory, subjected to intutive perception, as you can’t put the clock to wake you up at 3, systematically: see, that day the child woke up at four. Consequently the image expressing that kind of order, having similarity in this that there is order and discipline with some usual male activity, is another type of order and expresses itself logically differently.To drive the last consequences of this thought to its limits: I’d like to see an army where men are said there is no time table left. Where you are said you have to be ready at three, 6 or 8, depending on the officer’s inspiration, for two whole years, at least. I’m sure you’ve more than 60% of soldiers driven mad by such an experiment. Thus happens with women pushed to absolutely submit to male patterns of understanding.This is though exactly the same whenever you have extremely aggressive social contexts in which the way you are dressed in is conveying a behaviour that is not at all fitting. I may wear a light summer dress on holidays, as if it were saying precisely that: I’ve no worries, no quarrels, no time tables. You won’t put that on, the same, the day you have to quarrel with bosses over your salary, for example. Or you play very well a subtle double game: where inducing them and not anymore yourself, to a fake easiness, you just slaughter them through heavy arguments.Consequently you may say that a whole arrangement in appearance is constantly conveying ideas, thoughts, even politics, if you want to go so far as to bring Chinese silk for your next collection the very day (let us say) China has broken diplomatic relationships with France.Fressange’s birthday dressing is supposed to say all this … in forms. It’s for a birthday (saying a principle), it combines always natural matters (she’d say it’s healthier) which are very expensive with common coton in jeans she’d never wear (’she was able to wear a Chanel dress while taking the Parisian subway to her work’, a German interviewer says) and introduces raw precious stones (uncut emerald) along with classical popular archaic motives (triangles are ‘cañari’, preincasian) inside of the most sophisticated environments (silk broidery) as if being able to handle the ‘translation’, the meaning of oldest traditions into civilized contexts.The interesting thing though is not that: it is the attempt of translating the unconscious movements that make ‘l’enterrement de la France’ possible into fashion lines. Black and green is a combination that is associated (I remarked) to the lowest lines of the unconscious including psychopathetic lines (silver is the metal of death, I concluded, for reasons I couldn’t establish, in the possibility of facing oneself to an end without having the self shiver, whenever well combined, while gold is the matter of justice and faith in the possibility of avoiding death through more subtle means as law and education in custom). Thus green is combined with black and silver as allusion to these psychic dispositions that finish by finding the ways of saying themselves through gestures coming out of the unconscious (spondylus is a shell that may be found only in the deepest depths of the ocean around the coasts of ecuadorian Esmeraldas). These dispositions do though not translate themselves into anything but gestures ordering the social field of appearance: decoration, fashion, moments and instants fixing in short lapses of time the exact adequation in identity of a situation to its environement. This is why the orange colour of the spondylus appears again in the shoes, which usually symbolize the ‘how we walk on earth, inisde of the world of appearance, of custom, of social behaviour’. (Don’t say, Madame de la Fressange, but studies on the meaning of symbolism in dressing of the Old Testament may be of help even for … current fashion. See that that way, the beautiful blue woolen t-shirt may be understood as megalomaniac feature: it’s the same colour than the one of the High Priest of the Jews).

It should not, though: the transfer of inner qualities (wool) to a protected by aggressive red realm, allows the association to the holy. And what, you’d need the French flag, somehow, and the pearl is white, perhaps as tear.

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