Day of Beauty

On Friday I treated myself to a day of beauty.

The lovely Last Year Girl helped me out with tickets to a couple of exhibitions at the V and A, the sun was shining, and so off I went.

I went to see the Yohji Yamamoto retrospective and the newly opened exhibition about the Aesthetic movement of the 19th century, aptly called, the Cult of Beauty.

Two hours spent looking at and admiring beautiful designs, paintings, furniture, clothing and portraits, followed by a lollop in Hyde Park to admire the amazing cherry blossom.

Two things struck me. The first was how much influence the Japanese aesthetic has had on the western world. The Aesthetes were influenced by Japanese craftmanship, and we continue to be intrigued by it. As far as I can tell, the response in raising funds for the Japan appeal in London, more than for any other natural disaster, has been overwhelmingly cool and creative. Club nights, manga exhibitions, odd Japanese game nights, film showings, concert performances. And poor Christchurch, New Zealand has barely been mentioned except as a guilty tag on. I think it’s because Japanese culture continues to inspire the western mind.

The other thing I noticed was how influenced I am in my style choices by both the Aesthetic movement and Yohji Yamamoto’s designs. Yamamoto is known for his excessive use of fabric, for draping and swathing, for dressing men as women and women as men.

Looking at trousers like these…

I realised I was wearing dropped crotch harem pants, as part of the 80s revival. Thank you Mr Yamamoto.

And back at home, the peacock feathers I have in my bedroom, linked directly back to the Aesthetic movement, who used it as a repeated motif to symbolise resurrection. Thank you Messrs Whistler, Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Moore.

Looks like maybe my day of beauty could actually be just a small part of trying to create a life of beauty.

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