October 28, 2012
SUNDAY FROM MY DESK
On this rainy Sunday afternoon in Milano all is gray and I start to think about color. With all these circles on my desk I start to consider the meaning of color, and the meaning of circles. It is said that deep meditation increases your brain function but sometimes the meanings of things are too far and profound to reach in words. In Chinese symbols, the circle represents the shape of heaven and a square represents the shape of earth. If this is true, then the universal meaning of the circle also represents the infinite creative energy. Here, circles in squares, finding heaven on earth this rainy Sunday.
A great evening in Paris. Gathered around a dinner table to watch on Tv at Arte the new documentary, “FASHION!”. A three part series directed by Olivier Nicklaus with the famous fashion journalist Madamoiselle Agnes, it has some wonderful archive images in the three episodes called “Golden Eighties”, “Anti-fashion” and “Go Global”. For the lucky people like myself, the images had even greater meaning as I recalled the beginnings in the 1970’s of ready-to-wear and its evolution through the glorious eighties to where we are today.
Claude Montana created one of the strongest silhouettes of the 1980’s with padded shoulders and a certain heroic architecture built into his clothes that presented the most dramatic fashion shows. In 1990 and 1991 he won the French
“dé d’or” for his couture collections for Lanvin. His clothes were amazingly perfect in both their tailoring and forms.
Wallis Franken was a Cancer, one day away from my own birthday and for years we would travel together in the 1970’s with Alfa Castaldi always taking pictures of her amazing androgynous body. I only had to look to know she was meant to be famous. She was from America, with her flapper style haircut and warm smile, and used to entertain all of her friends with a great singing voice. She became a Parisianne and the muse, ally and wife of Claude Montana. She died too young. I cherished her friendship and will always cherish her memory. Here in a portrait by Steven Meisel.
Thierry Mugler was called the prophet of futurism. Since the founding of his Maison in 1974, I have followed every single show. The most spectacular, at the height of his recognition was the 10 year Anniversary in 1984. His passions were wide – he loved dance and theatre and designing for adventurous and provocative women but still with a sense of the feminine. He would say he adored women who can go to extremes, heroines and goddesses. He made short films, videos, and designs now costumes for the theatre and opera. His enthusiasms were boundless. Here, an emblematic Mugler outfit with fuseau pants from 1979, taken by Michel Picard for L’Officiel.
Mugler loved to glorify women. For his 10 years Anniversary at the Zenith in Paris he made a show that he himself described as of “no boundaries”, with liturgical, divine and mystic atmosphere that still remain unforgettable images for all who attended his Winter 1984 collection, 6.000 people! He called the show “the super paying show”. He did everything himself, stage sets, music, choreography, and goddesses. It was a resounding success. It was the 80’s.
The biggest science museum in Europe is in the Parc de la Villette in Paris. Called the City of Science and Industry, this week I ran to see there the exhibition of Leonardo’s machines. While I have seen the drawings and some of the models of his machines many times, it is always astonishing to realize how forward thinking he was. His visions of airplanes, parachutes, helicopters and submarines over 300 years before anyone else began to consider such things as even possible makes me think on how genius sees the world. I am surprised that he did not also think of the computer, except that the computer only thinks vertically, and he clearly did not! Here a picture of a parachute that Leonardo designed in 1485 , it was manufactured in the 1950’s in Italy from the drawings of his notebooks.
The beautiful Maxxi Museum in Rome designed by Zaha Hadid is hosting through the winter an installation by William Kentridge called “Vertical Thinking”. It rotates around the installation “The Refusal of Time” and the central narrative focuses here on the memory machine of Leonardo with five projection screens, shadow puppets and soundscapes. The work is about our universal reflection on time, which is always a dilemma between cosmic and terrestrial time.
Einstein profoundly changed how we think about space and time. But thinking of how to think is always interesting. If you practice vertical thinking, a step by step approach, the problem might be solved but the solution is dull and lacking interest. But it is safe. Horizontal thinking – day dreams or solutions from your dreams can be interesting but hard to apply. In the end, I prefer lateral thinking. Like jumping sideways, or suddenly turning in a different direction, it seems the most creative way to a solution and even if not immediately obvious, for me it is the most logical. Lateral thinking for me means I find the journey to the solution far more interesting than the destination.
Dr. Edward de Bono has written over 80 books on how we can teach ourselves to think better, differently and more creatively, the most popular being Six Thinking Hats. While many of his ideas from the 1970’s were considered radical, research shows his papers on brain activity and teaching how to think are correct. Here an early book, Think Tank. He is the father of lateral thinking, definitely.