Love, Actually

Hair?

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Fixed.

Nails?  Done.  Midterm for Costume History?

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Printed.

This time tomorrow?  Dr Chan will be here !!!  Translation:  I get to retreat and be Mrs Chan for the weekend!  Mrs Chan?

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I’ve not seen her in a while.

***

In Spain, my Sweetest Friend sends me love from the Balenciaga Museum.

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Thinking of you, miss you and love you.

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My heart skips a beat.

***

In Bueno Aires, Spice says he’s at a cool bookstore.

Any cool books?  I ask hopefully.

Take your pick!

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And my heart skips another beat.

***

Before dinner, my daughter calls out.

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Spotted!  Near my flat!

My heart skips a beat, another beat, and one more beat.  It’s love.

***

Early this morning, I attended my first fashion/garment/historical figure symposium.

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Then I went to look at the exhibition on the Countess Greffulhe.  It’s a pity no photography is permitted because I really enjoyed the sensitivity displayed in the curation and presentation of her dresses.  Finally, someone understood the importance of staging and theatre for clothes.

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And especially so, as the Countess once she found her feet in a love-less marriage, costumed herself in deliberate couture.  Her dresses must have been like armor- fortifying her, fueling fantasy, inspiring fiction.

My favorite was a Lanvin dress- black with a hem of appliqué-like flowers, exquisitely understated.

***

Speaking of dresses.

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I who so dislike shopping am beginning to look at clothing and cloth with new eyes.  Maybe it’s my habit of life-imitating-art.  All the garments we have been studying and the history of cloth is messing with my head.  I’m beginning to identify with cloth because cloth is fragile and strong and eventually disintegrates with time.  I’m a sucker for the fleeting.

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(Yes, I know how to chain stitch now!  Thank you, Youtube!)

***

Dr Chan has done this New York journey to see me, twice before.  The first time, he didn’t know whom he was to meet.  He only knew, the sound of my voice, long-distance, over an international line.  The second time he came, he came with a purpose.  I am going to get to know you better because I want you to come back to Singapore with me, do you understand?

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Oh 24 years old, in Central Park, listening between the lines, because he is a man of few words.  Yes, I understand.

And I am understanding now, listening to loved ones across the world- our stories are the cloth we collectively weave and gather, weave and gather, binding us all.

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Walking home today, love feels like a shield, shrouding me from afar.  I get it now.  This is what it means to always be, well-dressed.

  •  Proust’s Muse, September 23 2016- January 7 2017, The Museum at FIT, 7th Avenue at 27th Street, NYC
  • Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa, Aldamar Parkea, 6, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
  • El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Ave Santa Fe 1860, Buenos Aires

 

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