The man’s clothes were new – all of them, cheap and new. His gray cap was so new that the visor was still stiff and the button still on, not shapeless and bulged as it would be when it had served for a while all the various purposes of a cap – carrying sack, towel, handkerchief. His suit was of cheap gray hardcloth and so new that there were creases in the trousers.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In writing of experience or beauty, a cloth emerges as if made
from a twin existence. It’s July
4: air is full of mistaken stars & the wiggly half-zeroes stripes
make when folded into fabric meant
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why didn’t I keep it? It was used to me and I was used to it. It molded all the folds of my body without inhibiting it; I was picturesque and handsome. The other one is stiff, and starchy, makes me look stodgy. There was no need to which its kindness didn’t loan itself, for indigence is almost always officious. If a book was covered in dust, one of its panels was there to wipe it off. If thickened ink refused to flow in my quill, it presented its flank. Traced in long black lines, one could see the services it had rendered me. These long lines announce the litterateur, the writer, the man who works. I now have the air of a rich good for nothing. No one knows who I am.