I was supposed to read Hjalmar Söderberg, to prepare for a touring lecture on Tuesday, by Christer Henriksson (Swedish actor, most known internationally for being one version of Kurt Wallander in Ystad, and an authority on Söderberg), after which I thought I´d write a very learned
Anyway, yesterday morning I was reading Svendsen´s essay (which is available in English) on Fashion & the Body, and was presented with some thoughts that were new to me. What he is saying is that in late modernity, the creation of an identity of one´s own, is largely a project concerning the body. The body is becoming more central to our understanding of who we are. Some practices, like diet and asceticism, that used to have a spiritual purpose, is now primarily used to shape the body. It´s all about achieving a certain aesthetic ideal. The body has changed places with the consciousness - being a tabula rasa, an empty board, on which anything can be inscribed.
He also points out that the naked body has been depicted through history as if it was clothed. Fashion is actually shaping our idea of what our bodies look like - or are supposed to look like. Of course, the ideal is never entirely founded in reality, and so is out of reach for everybody. Perhaps this is obvious, but you know, I had never made the connection just like that before.
And this was the best: a free desktop-theme with Sisto drawings. I immediately got it for myself and the pictures are all from that. My laptop is now smiling as I open it. I really love her drawings. And I don´t think I will ever fall out of love with fashion. It is, after all, an artform that most of us have to dabble in, consciously or not. And in communication with the expression of the body is the personality, one´s preferences, beliefs, perhaps one´s soul (if you believe in it). An outfit is like a short story of who you are and where you are going - or it can be.
I always thought that people who know who they are, what they believe in, and try to live accordingly, can´t help being stylish. Living deliberately will show through in every choice a person makes. And that, to me, is what style is, and that is what I aspire to. (And, to show you what I mean, I present one of the most stylish people I know of. Phil Harding is just... so like I want to be when I grow up.)