Minimalist architect Mies van der Rohe famously coined the maxim, ‘Less is more’, and subscribed to a pared down, geometric aesthetic that was all about the harmony and balance found in angles and lines. My personal favourite, however, is Robert Venturi’s response to this expression:
‘Less is a bore’ (i.e: ‘Less is more is a bore’).
Being someone that is personally drawn to things that others might call ‘OTT’, I must say that I really am bored by the idea of ‘Less’.
Less clothes, less fun, less volume, less leg, less lip. Nee, dankie.
I am briefly and periodically drawn back to ‘Less’ when I see beautiful old images of Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel, but very soon start yearning for outlandish, bouffant things, that rile against practicality and functionality. I can’t bear to throw things away, and still wear things that I found in vintage stores when I was 15. I hoard vintage winter coats, although its seldom cold enough in South Africa to get through them in the colder months. I am routinely seduced by party dresses and vintage frocks fit for galas, and will invent occasions to wear them to if forced.
Or else I’ll just wear them inappropriately. Olivia was entirely dismayed when I wore a 50’s taffeta party skirt with an ancient Rolling Stones T shirt to Sidewalk Cafe for dinner the other night. But I must point out that said skirt completely earned its keep when we decided to walk down the road to Carlyle’s and it flared spontaneously up around my thighs in a Marilynesque display of tempestuousness. Yes!
Other representatives of this frivolous philosophy are Kelis, SJP, and of course, Lady Gaga. Although I can’t see myself in a frock o’ fillet or a pair of pork pantaloons, I do have a certain respect for Gaga’s anti-establishment fashion choices, and her often satirical, tongue-in-cheek approach to fashion.
Designers that live and love it larger than life include Betsey Johnson, Alexander McQueen, Galliano and Christian Louboutin, among others.
When I was poring over fashion tomes at the library recently, I also fell in love with the high drama and unconventional silhouettes in some of Dior’s early work, too.