Fiction

The Stain or La Dame qui s’est Trompée d’Époque

The Stain or La Dame qui s’est Trompée d’Époque

On the Disfiguring Marks of History

It’s February 18 1960. Jean Cocteau has just released his film The Testament Of Orpheus. Mme Francine Weisweiller is in it, just a small part, but important nevertheless. Mme is not an actress but the aging poet’s best friend and she plays ‘la dame qui s’est trompée d’époque’ or, in translation, and I fear less smoothly, the woman who found herself in the wrong decade. Janine Janet, the creator of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s surreal window displays, is the costume designer, but Mme wears a trailing white dress by Balenciaga himself, which she paid for. Instructed by Cocteau to take his inspiration from Claude Monet and Sarah Bernhardt, Balenciaga produces exactly what suits Mme best and into the bargain doesn’t sully his reputation. Cocteau describes Mme’s appearance as a ‘live phantom of flesh and bone’.

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The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)

The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)

Excerpt from Chapter 15: Underwear Power

Buying is much more American than thinking and I’m as American as they come. In Europe and the Orient people like to trade – buy and sell, sell and buy – they’re basically merchants. Americans are not so interested in selling – in fact, they’d rather throw out than sell. What they really like to do is buy – people, money, countries.

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Pocket Notes

Pocket Notes

Most pockets were originally created to hold a specific item; a timepiece, a shot bird. To use the pocket on many garments forces an unbecoming bulge onto an otherwise flat silhouette, yet pockets were created to hold, to be filled. Historically, fashion has often demanded a sleeker figure, forcing our pockets into a sometime-disuse. Yet, if we have a pocket – and we always have a pocket – chances are we will be compelled to fill it.

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Tender Buttons

Tender Buttons

Excerpt from Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons, from 1914

What is the current that makes machinery, that makes it crackle, what is the current that presents a long line and a necessary waist. What is this current.
What is the wind, what is it.
Where is the serene length, it is there and a dark place is not a dark place, only a white and red are black, only a yellow and green are blue, a pink is scarlet, a bow is every color. A line distinguishes it. A line just distinguishes it.

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Pyjama Shirt

Pyjama Shirt

I started going round to his for dinner at the end of autumn, when the leaves were on the point of falling, when the runners started wearing fleecy swathes of cotton bonded to their ears and hands. He avoided corn, and gluten, also dairy – foods that he decided made him ‘fatally apocalyptic.’ He strained his own nut milk using a mesh pouch which he had bought online, and stored batches of red quinoa and adzuki beans in his fridge.

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The New Dress

The New Dress

Excerpt from Virginia Woolf's 1927 short story

But she dared not look in the glass. She could not face the whole horror – the pale yellow, idiotically old-fashioned silk dress with its long skirt and its high sleeves and its waist and all the things that looked so charming in the fashion book, but not on her, not among all these ordinary people. She felt like a dressmaker’s dummy standing there, for young people to stick pins into.

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Layers

Layers

Some days she flicks through the clothes hangers but finds nothing to wear. She doesn’t find it because she does not know what she is looking for. She picks out a silky shirt and dark trousers. The garments feel all wrong. Clothes that don’t quite match, trousers that don’t quite fit. Short of time, she leaves to meet the day, meet him. He says she’s beautiful. His words are ill fitting too.

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Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story

Bending over she found one of the braids of Marjorie’s hair, followed it up with her hand to the point nearest the head, and then holding it a little slack so that the sleeper would feel no pull, she reached down with the shears and severed it. With the pigtail in her hand she held her breath. Marjorie had muttered something in her sleep. Bernice deftly amputated the other braid, paused for an instant, and then flitted swiftly and silently back to her own room.

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Gold Collar

Gold Collar

Veronica Martin’s ‘Gold Collar’ is about things. The things on our bodies and in our spaces and the intimate distance they have in our lives. Accompanied by Alicia Meseguer’s fragments of found images, another reality – corporeal, spacial, tenebrous – is put forward.

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