Bilkish Vahed

Tête-à-Tête

Page 2 of 5

You & Me

A TRIO OF MINIATURES

I

it took me a long time

to see, to finally see

that you never really liked me

not all of me, not me

 

only a part of me

some part  that enticed you

you wanted a part of me

but there i stood grotesque

oozing all of me

 

you chipped away

chiseled, hacked and sculpted

tweaked and reshaped

i became your sticky version of me

 

flickers of awareness

darted in my dreams

skipped and slipped and tripped

disappeared unseen

 

it took me a long time

a long time to see

 

II

When my eyes were averted, you slunk around me

Spinning a tender lattice of awareness

Wilfully piercing my consciousness, forcing me to awaken

When my eyes were averted, you wanted me.

 

Irresistibly I turned and looked back at you

Smiled, said something, let my eyes laugh into yours

You drew back surprised, disoriented, your radiant face darkened

When I looked back at you, you closed up on me.

 

Stunned, confused, awash in shame, I collapsed in a heap, grew small

What had I done, I called out to the night, what had I done?

 

Effulgent comprehension arrived slowly and in its wake,

Indignation, purple anger, rage bubbled and frothed until

Raucous laughter burst forth, my blood ran warm and

I grew large, enormous, and full.

 

III

I miss the letters you used to write me,

Chock-full of aliveness and vitality,

Brimming, luscious and uncensored,

Tales of your day to day in raw openness let slip,

Unheeded into the soft container of our affection.

 

Abruptly a sliver of discomfort has slipped between us,

You write me posts, comments, tweets, texts,

You write to me and to all of them at once,

The silent ones who watch and listen are now a cryptic presence,

Between us, in the midst of us.

 

The murkiness of otherness has altered your voice, changed you,

But I know the colossal beauty and brilliance of your unfettered self,

I want you back, I want you back again,

Unconstrained by the cameras and the din.

I miss you. I miss hearing from you.

The Appeal of Denim

CONFIDENCE & EASE – ALL ROLLED UP IN BLUE JEANS

“I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity — all I hope for in my clothes.”
Yves Saint-Laurent

Gisele Bündchen walking for Colcci

Calvin Klein, Fall 2018

Jennifer Lawrence wearing Calvin Klein, ‘Vanity Fair’ March 2018

Black Suit Elegance

YVES SAINT LAURENT LE SMOKING

In August 1966, Yves Saint Laurent introduced a classic black evening suit – the tuxedo for women – marking a revolutionary moment in fashion history. Despite the changes that feminism of the 60’s had wrought for women, wearing pants in public was still frowned upon, but this was to change, and did.

Helmut-Newton-YSL-le-Smoking

The original Yves Saint-Laurent Le Smoking Tuxedo for women, photographed (above and below) by Helmut Newton for French Vogue, Rue Aubriot, Paris, 1975

The real appeal and iconic status of le smoking lies in the attitude and stance that a women wearing it seems to exude – confidence and a sense of her own power. Fifty years later, the tuxedo suit for women is still found in the collections of Saint Laurent Paris  as well as other designers – a testament to its embodiment of perennial chic.

“For a woman, le smoking is an indispensable garment with which she finds herself continually in fashion, because it is about style, not fashion. Fashions come and go, but style is forever.”

— Yves Saint Laurent

What is a Beautiful Woman?

THE GAZE OF PETER LINDBERGH

When the celebrated German photographer Peter Lindbergh  was asked by Vogue(Paris) what his definition of a beautiful woman is, he responded:

“I admire a strong sense of individuality, confidence and sensitivity.”
Peter Lindbergh

Interesting that a man who has photographed fashion models and celebrities for over three decades, talks not about surfaces – body shape or facial features – but about those other qualities that lurk under the skin: individuality, confidence and sensitivity.

Peter Lindbergh

“Looking at women has not simply to do with literal beauty, but more to do with presence, personality, their influence and power. I think that’s just such an exciting concept.”
therealpeterlindbergh with Helen Mirren

But then Lindbergh is not just any fashion photographer. His work is informed by a strong point of view, a philosophy you may say. His quest has been to ferret the “real” woman, to find some essence that then infuses his photographs.

Lindbergh’s long standing tirade against the retouching of images, and the false emptiness of photo-shopped perfection, has made him lean into a kind of nudeness. Hence his subjects are photographed in black and white, wearing little to no make-up.

“Black and white, you see under the skin, no?”   Harpers Bazaar

In the 1993 documentary Poet des Glamours Lindbergh’s warmth and charm are palpable, no doubt accounting for the the effusive affection that models universally express for him.

At the heart of the work is not fashion, but story-telling. The influence of German cinema on his photography, coupled with his aesthetic choices, imbue the images with depth; turn models into characters; depict individuality, confidence and sensitivity.

Karen Alexander photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, Oct 2016Caroline Eggert photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, May 1997Mariacarla Boscono photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue ItaliaTao Okamoto photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, October 2016

top to bottom:
Karen Alexander by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, October 2016
Caroline Eggert by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, May 1997
Mariacarla Boscono by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia
Tao Okamoto by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, October 2016

Svelte in a Dress

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG & THE WRAP DRESS

The wrap dress works for all body shapes, slinkily swathing in soft luscious fabric, then dramatically nipping in at the waist, around the breasts – loosely or more closely shaping and contouring the body in a svelte silhouette.

Diane von Furstenberg did not foresee the success of her wrap dress:

“I never dreamt that the simple dress I launched in 1974, a dress that was easy, sexy, elegant, and affordable all at the same time, would catapult me into fashion history.”
— Diane von Furstenberg, The Woman I Wanted To Be

Diane von Furstenberg wearing her wrap dress

Diane von Furstenberg wearing her wrap dress

The story of the dress begins in 1968, when twenty-two year old Diane went to Italy to shadow tycoon Angelo Ferretti. At his factory, she observed “knitted silk and high-quality mercerized cotton jersey fabric” being manufactured, learnt about which designs make good prints, and how to create a repeat pattern – in short, “everything about jersey” was grasped from Ferretti.

Whilst on a trip to New York, Diane noticed a gap – on the one end “high-fashion hippie clothes,” on the other “stale, double-knit dresses.” Returning to Feretti, excited and full of new thoughts, “an idea began to percolate” in her mind. She would make some dresses with the colourful, printed jersey fabric – dresses both sexy and easy to wear that might fill this gap.

At a fashion show in 1974 the wrap dress made its debut. There were snags along the way but Diane pushed ahead step by step, made lucky associations with talented associates and sales of the dresses rose dramatically establishing the wrap as the “it” dress and Diane as celebrity.

“Back then, my main goal was to be free and independent. I was constantly on the go. I loved being that woman high on her heels walking in and out of places like a tornado, taking planes as if they were buses, feeling pragmatic, engaged, and sexy. I loved the idea of being a young tycooness… I loved having a man’s life in a woman’s body.”
— Diane von Furstenberg, The Woman I Wanted To Be

DVF Fall 2013 campaign - Model Daria Werbowy styled by Carine Roitfeld and photographed by Sebastian Faena.

The Fall 2013 campaign “was evocative and gritty. Night in New York. A beautiful woman walking alone, confident, knowing where she is going, glancing behind her.“

“As a designer, Diane has always been more interested in the feelings inspired by clothes than in the technicalities of cut and fit. She knows that the true subject of fashion is romance—women in alluring outfits and the emotions they evoke. Sex was a big part of Diane’s life, and the force of her style came from the heat of sex flowing through it.”

Gioia Diliberto,   Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped.

The story line then becomes curvy. A nose dive in the dress business in 1978 when the market was said to be saturated and Women’s Wear Daily pronounced the “end of a trend.” The dresses disappeared from production till the nineties when a surge of nostalgia for fashion of the seventies was felt. Approaching fifty, Diane was again doing well in business but felt a strong desire to revitalise her “signature brand.” On 9 September 1997 the jersey dresses were launched at Saks and took their place in the wardrobes of women and in the fashion cultural landscape.

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